CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert deal-hunting staff showcases the best price drops and discounts from reputable sellers daily. If you make a purchase using our links, CNET may earn a commission.

Apple's back to school deal: Get $159 toward AirPods when you buy a Mac or an iPad

Here's how to take advantage of the deal.

Dave Johnson
2 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

It's time to head back to school -- whether that means going off to campus or staying home because of social distancing. Regardless of whether your school is open for classroom learning this fall, Apple has the best offer for returning students that we've seen in a while: You can get a free set of AirPods (or $159 off higher-end models) when you buy select Macs or iPads from the Apple Store. 

What Apple is offering in the back to school deal

In previous years, Apple has offered exciting incentives, including Beats headphones. But this year, the deal is for something that's both fun and practical: AirPods. Specifically, you get a $159 credit when you buy eligible Mac computers or iPad tablets . That zeroes out the cost of the baseline AirPods, but you can also choose the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (spend $40 out of pocket, or 80% off) or the AirPods Pro (spend $90, or 64% off). 

Right now, you can get free AirPods when you buy a MacBook Air (13-inch) , MacBook Pro (13-inch or 16-inch), iMac (21.5-inch or 27-inch), or iMac Pro . You can also get free AirPods with an iPad Pro (11-inch or 12.9-inch) or iPad Air .

Read more: Best laptop for college students in 2020: Apple, Dell, Microsoft and more

How to take advantage of the AirPods deal

The fine print on the offer says that the deal is "available to current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as faculty, staff, and homeschool teachers of all grade levels." But, so far as we can tell, you only need to show your educational credentials if you go in-person to make the purchase in a physical store.  

So to get your free AirPods, go to Apple's Back to School pages and simply choose the MacBook , MacBook Pro, iMac, or iPad you want to buy and go through the checkout process. When you see the AirPods, you can choose to get the baseline model at no additional cost or to upgrade at the prices listed above. Note that these products already include the educational discount (usually about $100), and Apple offers educational discounts on AppleCare and accessories, too.

Alternatively, you can go directly to the product page for the product you want. Here's where to find each of the items included in the sale:

This article was published previously. 

Watch this: AirPods Pro after 3 months: Worth it?

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

Why pay full price for new headphones?
Track prices on all your favorite options and get notified when we find the best deal.
Add CNET Shopping
Shopping laptop image