Apple will keep repairing your vintage iMacs in a new pilot program

Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display review profile angle
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

If you have a dinosaur of an Apple computer gathering dust in your basement or attic, it’s time to dust it off. While you may have thought that you would never be able to use your vintage Macs again, Apple may be convincing you to think again with its new pilot program. This offering will allow Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to keep repairing both 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in mid-2011. Because of the rate at which Apple devices age out, these seven-year-old machines will soon be considered “vintage” starting in March, but happily, that no longer means that they’re ineligible for service.

According to MacRumors, the new pilot program will only be made available in the United States between March 1 and August 31, and will be subject to parts availability from Apple. After all, the hardware found in an iMac from 2011 is quite different from the parts found in modern iterations of the computer. News of the new pilot circulated in an internal memo, which was reviewed by MacRumors, and further notes that once the pilot program runs its course, repairs will only be available in California and Turkey (where these repairs are actually required by law).

Generally speaking, you can have Apple repair or replace parts in your Mac up to five years after manufacturing ceases for a particular model. That means that computers made in mid-2011 are approaching this date — the last education-only configuration saw its last production cycle in March 2013. Thanks to this program, however, owners will effectively have a grace period of six months to continue getting their iMacs fixed.

Normally, Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers can offer assistance when it comes to an iMac’s display and hinge, logic board, graphics card, hard drive or SSD, power supply, and various other components. It’s unclear as of yet as to exactly what will be covered under this pilot program, however — in particular, as MacRumors points out, we’re not yet sure as to whether RAM and storage upgrades will be offered.

If the program proves popular, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the offering could be expanded to other older products. But we’ll have to wait and see how customers react and what Apple decides to do.