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Get Mountain Lion For Less – Use Discounted iTunes Gift Cards [OS X Tips]

Get Mountain Lion For Less – Use Discounted iTunes Gift Cards [OS X Tips]

The release of OS X Mountain Lion is still months away, but it’s never too early to save some money.

OS X Mountain Lion is going to be the first major OS X update sold and distributed exclusively through the App Store. This means that if you want to upgrade you must purchase and download it from the App Store. For savvy buyers out there, this might be a good opportunity to get a discount on your upgrade by taking advantage of special deals on iTunes Gift Cards.

There are two different types of Apple gift cards out there: the Apple Gift Card and iTunes Gift Card. You can use Apple Gift Cards for any merchandise purchase made at Apple Stores or the online Apple Store, but you cannot use it to purchase digital items sold in the iTunes Store (this includes the App Store and iBookstore) and, therefore, you will likely not be able to use it towards your Mountain Lion upgrade. If you’re shopping to save money on your Mountain Lion upgrade, skip the Apple Gift Card and go for the iTunes Gift Card.

iTunes Gift Cards may be used to purchase anything sold through the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore. You may have seen the App Store and iBookstore variations of the iTunes Gift Card, but, practically speaking, there is no difference between the three – Apple treats them all the same and they all may be used to purchase the same things. When asked why Apple sells three different iTunes Gift Cards an Apple representative gave one reason: marketing. So next time you find yourself standing at a Best Buy kiosk, don’t be confused by the different iTunes Gift Card nomenclature. The takeaway here is that you will be able to use any iTunes Store gift card towards your Mountain Lion upgrade.

We still have a few months before the Mountain Lion upgrade goes live. If you expect that you’re going to want to buy the upgrade, then start shopping now and keep an eye out for deals on iTunes Gift Cards. Barring any changes to Apple’s iTunes Gift Card Terms and Conditions, using a discounted iTunes Gift Card may save you 15% — 20%+ on your Mountain Lion upgrade. These types of deals are frequent and recurring, but there may not be one available when the Mountain Lion upgrade is released so find a good deal and buy it in advance. Don’t worry about buying iTunes Gift Cards in advance because they do not expire.

We took advantage of a recent Best Buy sale, which offered iTunes Gift Cards at a 20% markdown. In addition to Cult of Mac, there are many other reputable sites out there such as Woot, which post notices about iTunes Gift Card deals from time-to-time. Keep an eye out for good deals and stay tuned.

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  • Samuel Shallenberger

    You can even do this with the iPad or any other Apple product as long as you buy it in-store on the Apple Store app.

  • ronenm

    I managed to get gift cards when Best Buy went on their 20% off sale. It’s free money basically.
    Thanks Cult Of Mac.

  • SupaMac

    Or just download it through BitTorrent or warez-bb or some other site. The AppStore is definitely not the only way to get it.

  • after3c

    I wish they’d consolidate their gift card programs, but at the same time, I kind of see why they do it this way.

  • Dennis Bates

    This whole concept is a little nutty (from a retailer’s standpoint) but it’s a great deal for the consumer.  I tend to “stock up” when a 15% or 20% offer pops up.  I find that dealmac.com is a great source for info about bargains such as this and I check it daily just in case.  Now if only a discount on Apple Gift Cards would appear prior to the new iPad announcement!  

  • crateish

    Ixnay on the ardscay. I only buy for iTunes during these 20% off sales, and I want the party to continue.

    Honestly, I buy more because of these sales.

  • Gregintosh

    I used to use my spare change to buy things on iTunes. I’d put my coins into one place and then every few months go to a Coinstar machine and change them out to an iTunes gift card. There’s no charge with Coinstar to pick the iTunes gift certificate option.

    But lately, since black friday actually, I’ve been doing the discount thing. All of my iTunes credit is now 20% off (its kind of like getting a 20% discount ALL the time on ALL apps and music).

    And if you stack it on top of an actual iTunes 20% off sale then you’re getting around 40% off.

    I especially like the bundle packs where you get 4 $25 gift cards for $80. That way if you have multiple iTunes users in the family you can allocate them as needed.

    Great tip!!!

    And for those talking about Torrents and stuff, that’s just wrong! A lot of these small developers, who put out some good software, need the financial support to keep going. Plus, getting it from the app store is more convenient, faster, and you always get the latest version.

    When you reformat your mac or buy a new mac, all you got to do is go into the App store purchased section and re-download ALL your apps with just a couple of clicks instead of having to worry about making back ups, re-downloading from some bootleg sites which may or may not have seeders anymore, and having crippled versions that cannot get updates.

    Personally, I like the fact that since iCloud, iTunes Match, and the App Store are around I don’t have to worry about backing anything up ever, except maybe my photos. Photostream is okay for synching purposes but ultimately you still want to back up your archive. If Apple could crack that nut, along with letting you store 3rd party documents in iCloud, I would never worry about data back ups again! Soon….. Soon!!!

  • martinberoiz

    I tried to use iTunes gift card to buy and iPad but it didn’t work. I needed Apple gift cards.

  • Jonathan McDonald

    I think Mountain Lion will be free.  I don’t think they are going to charge for OS’s any more.

  • wonword

    Wow, you tried to buy hardware from iTunes?

  • zadigre

    haha are you serious?!?

  • martinberoiz

    No, I tried to use an iTunes card when I bought my iPad online in the Apple web site.

  • Christian Park

    I wish that Apple would still give us the option to buy the physical form of there OS. Personally I love the feeling when going into an Apple Store or a Best Buy store and being there on the first day the new OS comes out and being able to physically buy it there. Idk, maybe it’s just me and I’m old fashioned. I’m one who doesn’t care for the optical drive in Apple’s lineup. I think its dead but I love the option of buying a usb optical drive for OS, games, etc. 

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  • Matthew J Stevens

    You can go to Sam’s Club and buy discount iTunes cards everyday. To get the bigger discount you need to by the 4-park cards. Just today I bought $15 4-pack ($60) for $56.88. The best discount is if you buy the $25 4-pack ($100) for $92.88 but they were out this time. Sure, its not a 20% discount but this discount is ALWAYS available and still better than nothing.

  • MATTY RICH

    yeah thats considered BUYING HARDWARE! smh…

  • martinberoiz

    Yes, but it’s not considered buying FROM ITUNES, I bought it FROM APPLE WEB SITE. Don’t people have the minimum reading comprehension skills?

About the author

Jonathan ZschauJonathan was introduced to Apple at the age of five when his family bought its first computer, an Apple IIGS, in 1986. He has owned and used Macs almost exclusively ever since. He is an attorney from Boston, Massachusetts where he focuses on litigation technology. As a contributor he writes about consumer protection issues related to Apple products. He is also the author of Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn't Want You to Know.

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