University Mac Purchases

Is a Mac for me?

Mac systems are perceived as stylish, versatile and easy to use. However, they are not the best choice of a work computer for everyone. Support for Macs at the University is likely to continue with the ethos remaining one of enabling users to help themselves as much as possible. Consequently, our suggestion is that you should already be a proficient Mac user and, additionally, your computer-based work should fall into at least 1 of the 3 categories below:

  • You need to use software that is not available for Windows PCs.
  • Your workflow has in the past, and continues to, revolve around the use of a Mac.
  • You need to take advantage of the command line facilities or development tools that are only available on macOS.

Note: We do not support "Bootcamp"-installed Windows on University Macs. Mac laptops are unsuitable for running a secure installation of Windows due to their inability to utilise Microsoft's Bitlocker encryption technology, and IT Services do not currently possess the infrastructure to maintain a secure, managed virtual Windows installation on desktop computers. Therefore, please consider carefully whether a Mac computer is for you - if you are used to using a piece of software that will only run on Windows, you will need a different computer.Remote Desktop software will enable you to connect to the Staff Remote Desktop to run a standard range of software that is not available for Mac.

Who pays for the Mac?

IT Services will normally supply one general purpose computer per contracted member of staff and postgraduate researcher. If a Mac is to be your main device, IT Services will process the purchase and contribute an amount equivalent to our entry-level standard Windows device including VAT.

Please also see the IT Services Hardware Purchasing Advice Page.

Which type of Mac is suitable for me?

For ease of support and purchase turn-around time, IT Services have identified 4 example models based on staff purchase history. These models feature enhanced pricing when compared to Apple and other suppliers' Educational discounts. You may review and submit a purchase request for one of these models via our Mac Purchasing Form.

If you are unsure which model is most appropriate or would like to purchase other models/accessories, please contact your Faculty IT Support Team via the IT Service Desk.

Device considerations

As of June 2016, Apple no longer manufacture the Thunderbolt Display. If an external display is required, IT Services advise a model from our recommended Dell range.

In late 2016, Apple introduced a new range of MacBook Pros. These devices can be ordered by IT Services. However, the following should be taken into account when determining which device is most suitable for your work:

  • Relative cost to specification is not competitive with our recommended Mac models​, or with our recommended Dell desktops and laptops.
  • The late 2016 MacBook Pros continue Apple's usage of non-removable RAM and storage. These devices therefore cannot be upgraded at a later date. When combined with the previous point, it is worth noting that these machines cannot be guaranteed as future proofed against increasing computational demands.
  • External connectivity available on all iterations of the current MacBook and MacBook Pro is limited to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 only. To connect external devices to these Macs, such as USB drives, SD cards, a phone or a projector, you will need to purchase a suitable USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 adapters or desktop dock. If this applies to you, please see the next section section for further information.

Recommended Docks

  • For Mac laptops that feature Thunderbolt 3 connectivity (MacBook Pro, late 2016 onwards), we currently recommend the StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock, Dual 4K. This includes; Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) docking cable that charges the laptop, 2 x TB3 sockets, USB-C, 2 x USB 3.0, DisplayPort, Ethernet and Audio In & Out sockets.
  • For Mac laptops that feature Thunderbolt 2 connectivity (pre-late 2016 MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs) we currently recommend the StarTech Thunderbolt 2 Docking Station. However, please note the following:
    • Though this supports dual displays, only one can be 4K.
    • The maximum resolution of the second display is 2K.
    • All TB2 docks require that laptops be connected to their original PSU or equivalent to be used (MagSafe or MagSafe2) as the standard doesn't support laptop charging.

  • Warranty

    UoB Macs are provided with a 5 year warranty as standard. This is included at no extra cost on all purchases.

    This standard warranty provides:

    • 1 year manufacturer warranty. This includes international Apple Store support for one year from the purchase date.
    • 4 years additional "collect and return" supplier warranty.

    Users who expect to spend extended periods abroad should consider purchasing an AppleCare Protection Plan. This comes at an additional cost, but benefits from a price reduction for Higher Education. The cost differs depending on the model of Mac being ordered. Each purchasing form contains the relevant pricing information.

    This upgraded warranty provides:

    • 3 years manufacturer warranty. This includes international Apple Store support for three years from the purchase date.
    • 2 years additional "collect and return" supplier warranty.