Apple offers free personalization and engraving on AirPods, iPads, iTouch touches and the new AirTags — AppleMagazine #497 cover story — and though it’s considered a fun marketing gimmick and great for kids, there are some pros and cons to having a device engraved. Below, we’ve put together some of the biggest to help you make the right decision…
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to having your Apple products personalized is that you can make them your own. If you’ve got a catchphrase or a funny quote that always makes you smile, having it engraved on the back of your iPad will surely make your device feel more like your own and help you make the most of your Apple product.
PRO: Thieves won’t want it
Though most thieves don’t stop to check whether an Apple product is engraved before they scatch it out of your handbag or desk, having a personalized message on the back will make it harder for thieves to resell it – and easier for you to retrace your device. However, we always recommend iCloud storage and Find My. You could even add a number, saying If Lost, Return to 000-300-000, giving you comfort that if it was stolen, you’d probably get it back.
PRO: Helps identify your device
If you live in a house with other people, the chances are there’ll be a few iPads knocking around. Ensuring that everyone’s iPad and AirPods are engraved will make it easier to locate your own, and it less likely for you to head to work with your daughter’s Apple Pencil. Cases also do the job here, but if you’re into minimalism and have no case (or a clear one), an engraving is just the sign you need to know that you’ve picked up the right device.
PRO: Great for gift-giving
Finally, having a personalized message engraved onto the back of an Apple device makes for great gift-giving. You can wish your partner a very Happy Birthday and gift her a brand new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil at the same time; every time she looks on the back of her device, she’ll remember that you gave it to her on her special day.
CON: You won’t see it
Whether you’ve bought a new iPad or a new iPod Touch for your son, the chances are that you’ll want to put your new device in a case to protect it from bumps and scuffs. When you do, you’ll instantly render your engraving useless, as you’ll never see it again.
CON: Harder to resell or give away
Another downside to adding an engraving to your device is that it’ll make it harder to resell or give away further down the line. If you’re used to giving your old iPhone to your son once you upgrade, he probably won’t want to walk around with ‘NEIL DAVIS 2008’ on the back. Likewise, its resale value will drop with an engraving.
CON: Can slow down delivery times
Apple says that engraved products are still eligible for delivery within a couple of days, but we find from experience that they can take a little longer. If you’re looking to get your hands on a new device the day it comes out, then we recommend opting for the version without engraving. Simple, sophisticated, and totally Apple!
CON: Limited character count
Apple allows users to add up to 34 characters per line to iPads and up to 22 characters on a pair of AirPods Pro, or an emoji character instead. If you want to type out a particular message, you might find that there’s not enough room to do so, even by just a character or two, which is pretty frustrating. Your best bet is to stick to a card!