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.

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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 ($100 at Target) (or $159 off higher-end models) when you buy select Macs or iPads ($214 at Amazon) 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 ($330 at Amazon) (spend $90, or 64% off). 

Right now, you can get free AirPods when you buy a MacBook Air (13-inch) ($400 at Amazon), MacBook Pro ($1,800 at Best Buy) (13-inch or 16-inch), iMac ($980 at Amazon) (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 ($118 at Amazon).

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 ($513 at Amazon), 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. 

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