There's an obvious reason why you'd buy an Apple product from Amazon rather than directly from Apple: price. Whether you're in the market for a new iPhone or iPad, AirPods or Apple Watch, MacBook or iMac — you can almost always find a better deal on Amazon. But is it legit? Short answer: yes.
Here's what you need to know.
Are the Apple products on Amazon real?
Yes, if you're looking at the official Apple store on Amazon. Amazon is an officially authorized Apple reseller. So are a number of its competitors including Adorama, B&H, Walmart, Target and Best Buy.
Amazon struck a deal with Apple in late 2018 to be become an Apple Authorized Reseller, meaning it gets the devices directly from Apple and Apple has given it the green light to sell them. Effectively, it's almost just exactly the same as buying Apple devices directly from Apple. Almost.
But! Amazon also plays host to many, many smaller third-party sellers, many of whom have a history of trying to pass off counterfeits as legitimate Apple products. This was a problem with AirPods a few years back.
Amazon has since made efforts to crack down on this behavior from sellers so there are fewer than ever. And so long as you are buying from the official Apple store on Amazon, you are getting a real Apple product.
Why are Apple products so cheap on Amazon?
The answer is pretty simple. Amazon buys Apple products in bulk, in advance and at a whole sale price (i.e. not the MSRP), which allows them to sell the devices at a discount and still make a little bit of a profit. The fact that Apple rarely ever offers discounts on its devices is a subtle nod to its resellers, to give them the advantage of selling them at a discount. This is how all Apple Authorized Resellers operate.
Do Apple products from Amazon have a warranty?
If you purchase an Apple product from Amazon, you get the exact same warranty as if you'd purchased it from Apple itself. All its products have a one-year warranty and if there's some defect in the product within that time, you can return it to Apple (even if you purchased from Amazon). To see the warranty status of your purchase, all you need is to find the serial number of the product and enter it on Apple's support page — here.
Amazon also sells the exact same AppleCare that Apple sells for people who want to extend the warranty of their purchase.
Is the return policy the same?
No. It's not a given that Apple and Amazon will have the same return policy for your Apple product. If you purchase the product directly from Apple, you have a 14-day window to return it from the date you received it. If you purchase the product from Amazon, the return policy is typically within 30 days of the purchase. It can vary, however, so should double check the return policy when you make the purchase.
Are there downsides to buying Apple devices on Amazon?
The one main caveat of looking at Apple devices on Amazon is that you may not get the full picture of what's available, especially during right after new releases have dropped. Not all new Apple products are immediately available on Amazon.
If you look at the Apple store on Amazon at the time of this writing, for example, you could be forgiven for not realizing that the iPhone 13 has been announced, because Amazon currently only shows the iPhone 12 for sale. Likewise, the Apple Amazon store doesn't currently have any mention of the Apple Watch Series 7, which is not available for pre-order but which goes on sale later this fall.
Are there advantages from buying from Apple?
Even though you're not likely to get the best price if you purchase a product from Apple rather than Amazon, there are still several valid reasons to opt for Apple.
• Colors and configurations: Apple has a larger inventory than Amazon, of course, so if you can't find the exact configuration and color of a product on Amazon, Apple is more likely to have it.
• Special promotions: With every new purchase of an Apple product (whether you buy from Amazon or Apple), you get a free three-month trial of Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and Apple Music. However, sometimes Apple runs special promotions that that extend those initial free trials. And Apple only ships them with products purchased directly from its website or its store.
• Free engraving: There are a number of Apple products that you can add a custom engraving (with text, numbers or emjois) at no extra charge. However, you have to purchase from Apple to get an engraving, as Amazon can't do it. You can add a custom engraving to iPhones (all models), iPads (all models), all AirPods (all models), AirTags and an Apple Pencil (second-generation).
• The employee or student discount: If you have an employee discount through your company, it's likely that you can get a better deal if you purchase directly though Apple. Same is true if you're a student, parent (of a college student) or somebody working in education and you quality for a discount through Apple's Education Store (here). Amazon will occasionally match the same promotions, but they won't through in the pair of free AirPods or discounted AppleCare that you get with a purchase through Apple.