Apple holds a Back to School promotion every year where it gives a free product - usually AirPods - away with purchases of qualifying Apple products.  

This is in addition to the year-long discounts Apple offers to students and education institutions on its Mac desktops and Mac laptops and iPads. We explain everything you need to know about using Apple's Education Store in this guide to shopping in the Apple Education Store.

What's in store for the Apple's Back To School sale this year? You can get free AirPods when you buy particular products with an education discount! Read on to find out more.

When is Apple's Back to School Sale 2021?

The Apple Back To School sale - referred to as the Higher Education Offer by Apple - usually runs from June to September in the US and Canada, and from July to October in the UK. In Australia and New Zealand the sale takes place between January and March.

Apple Back to School Sale US & Canada dates

  • June 17 thru September 27, 2021

Apple announced its Back to School sale for US & Canada back in June.

The promotion stated on 17 June 2021 and will run until 27 September 2021. Last year Apple launched the US sale on 15 June with an end date set for 29 September, although Apple ended up extending the end date to 12 October instead, moving it to just a day before Amazon's Prime Day, which took place over 13-14 October 2020.

With Prime Day - Amazon's big sale event - taking place from 21 to 22 June it might be no surprise that Apple has kicked off its Back to School Sale just before that event. Target and Walmart also have summer sales starting on 20 June.

However, it should be noted that unlike with these temporary sales Apple's education discounts are available all year round, this event is the only time that you can get a free pair of AirPods with your new Mac or iPad.

Visit the US Education Store and Canada Education Store for more information.

Apple Back to School Sale UK - dates

  • 15 July - 11 October 2021

On 15 July, the day before some UK schools broke up for the summer holidays,  Apple confirmed its Higher Education Offer (aka Back to School Sale) for the UK Education Store.

It is normal for Apple to announce the UK offer in July. Apple UK's Back to School Sale in 2020 started 9 July and lasted until 29 October. It also launched its 2019 sale on 9 July, though its 2018 sale started on 12 July.

Apple Back to School Sale Australia/New Zealand/South America

  • Estimated: January - March 2022

Apple's Back to School Sale for Australia, New Zealand, and, South Korea started 7 January and ended on 16 March, 2021.

Apple Brazil's Back to School Sale started 6 January and ended on 15 March, 2021.

What is Apple's Student deal for 2021?

  • Free AirPods

Apple's 2021 Back to School offer is identical to the deal from 2020.

Thanks to the deal university students, or those just about to start university or higher education, will receive a free pair of AirPods (normally worth £159/$159/AUD$249) with a new Mac or iPad.

Alternatively you can spend a little more to upgrade your entry-level AirPods to the AirPods with Wireless Charger or the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Max isn't included in the offer (see where to buy the Max at the best price).

Students can get:

  • A free set of AirPods worth £159/$159.
  • Or, an AirPods and Wireless charging case set worth £199/$199 if you pay the £40/$40 difference.
  • Or, the AirPods Pro worth £159/$159 if you pay an extra £90/$90.

Which iPads are included in Apple's Back to School deal?

Not every Apple product you can buy in the Education Store is included in the free AirPods deal.

This year Apple has included the iPad Pro and iPad Air in the Back To School offer. The iPad 8th generation and iPad mini are excluded from the offer.

Right now the Apple Education Store in the US lists all the iPads, so you can still get discounted Educational Pricing on the iPad and iPad mini if you qualify, you just won't be able to get the free pair of AirPods.

We imagine that Apple is excluding these iPads because they are the most popular with students - therefore incentivising purchases of the other more expensive tablets.

Thanks to Apple's education pricing you can get the quialifying iPads at the following prices:

  • iPad Pro US$899 (usually US$799) / CA$939 (usually CA$999)
  • iPad Air US$549 (usually US$599) / CA$719 (usually CA$779)

If you don't qualify for the education pricing we have a separate guide on where to get the best deals on the iPad.

Which Macs are included in Apple's Back to School deal?

If you qualify for Apple's Back to School deal you can buy any Mac. The iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, and all configure-to-order versions are included.

Thanks to Apple's education pricing you can get Macs at the following prices:

  • MacBook Air US$899 (usually US$999) / CA$1,169 (usually CA$1,299)
  • MacBook Pro US$1,199 (usually US$1,299 / CA$1,569 (usually CA$1,699)
  • iMac US$1,249 (usually US$1,299) / CA $1,539 (usually CA$1,599)
  • Mac mini US$649 (usually US$699) / CA $829 (usually CA$899)

Students can also get 20% off AppleCare+.

There are similar discounts in the UK, although students and educators will need to log in via UNiDAYS website to see the offers. Educational Store discounts are usually up to £280 for UK students.

If you don't qualify for an education discount have a look at these round ups of the best deals on a new Mac:

Who can get Apple's Back to School deal

If you are based in the US or Canada and are registered at a higher education facility (that's post-K12 education, universities and colleges) you will qualify for the free AirPods deal as well as Apple usual education discount. Employees of these institutions can also qualify. If you are a parent buying for your student offspring then you can also qualify.

Alternatively, if you are an employee of a public or private K-12 institution/school in the US or Canada you are also eligible. Apple's Education pricing isn't available to parents with kids at school, but a homeschool teacher in the US and Canada can qualify.

While Apple hasn't announced its Back to School Deal for the UK yet, you can still take advantage of its standard educational pricing on its Educational Pricing page (US here/UK here). When the deal is announced in the UK you will be able to add the free AirPods to your purchase.

How to get Apple's Back to School deal

In the US you'll be able to visit Apple's US Education Store, but logging on from your university network may make the process easier. 

In the UK you will need to verify your student or staff status with UNiDAYS, which is also how you would access its Back to School offers.

Go to the Apple Education Store for other regions using the links below:

When you make your purchase you will be able to request the AirPods that you want at checkout and pay the extra if you wish to upgrade to the wireless AirPods or the AirPods Pro.

It's worth checking out our student deals hub for more great back-to-school offers.