It’s that time of year again – the holidays. And as much fun as this time of year brings, it can also come with a lot of stress and expenses. Especially for those shopping for the best Apple gifts.
Well, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’re going to be looking at the best gifts you can grab for the Apple fan in your life. We’ve organized these gifts into two groups: The best gifts and the best stocking stuffers.
The gifts are presents that are meant to be big surprises, and we’ve labeled them based on who we think each gift would be best suited for.
The stocking stuffers are smaller gifts that are great for those on a budget, as a pairing for a bigger gift, and so on.
Buying the best Apple gifts: Don’t forget about compatibility and shipping!
Before we get too deep into this post, I do want to point out something VERY IMPORTANT! Not all of the Apple products mentioned in this post are going to work with other Apple products. I will be doing my best to mention this when it comes up, but please, make sure you know what products your loved ones already have and check that they work with the new products you’re going to be buying.
As an example, we’ve included MagSafe accessories in the Stocking Stuffers section. However, MagSafe accessories only work with the iPhone 12 or later. If your loved one has an iPhone 11, then MagSafe accessories won’t work with their device!
What if you purchase the wrong product?
If you do run into a situation where you’ve purchased a product that doesn’t work with your loved one’s device, don’t worry! You can most likely return it to Apple at no charge. And Apple has a 14-day, no questions asked return policy. So if it’s been less than two weeks, you can exchange it at an Apple Store with ease.
Lastly, most Apple devices will arrive very soon after they’re ordered, within just a few days. However, some devices (usually a Mac or MacBook) can take weeks or even months to arrive. That’s because these products are customized when you check out, so they have to be manufactured and shipped from overseas.
For reference, I ordered my current iMac in September of 2021 and received it that November. This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t purchase these as gifts, just know that the person might receive them after the holidays.
The best Apple gifts for 2022
With those disclaimers out of the way, it’s time to dive into what we believe are the best Apple gifts for the 2022 holiday season. As you’ll notice, each gift has been labeled with the person who we most think the gift is right for, though you can obviously use your own judgement when selecting a gift for your loved ones!
For the Apple fan who has everything: An Apple gift card
First up on our list of the best Apple gifts is a classic. An Apple gift card is a great gift for those who already have all of the Apple products they could want. These gift cards can be used to buy accessories from Apple’s website or in-person stores, so you know that the person you’re buying the card for is able to get exactly what they want.
Gift cards can also be used to pay for Apple apps and services. So if someone has been wanting a particular app, game, or subscription on their Apple device, they can use a gift card to grab it. It can be used to pay for Apple Fitness, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and so on.
This can save them a bit of money if they’re already paying for these subscriptions, or it can enable them to try a subscription they haven’t yet tried.
Overall, this is a great budget-friendly gift for loved ones you aren’t quite sure what to get.
For kids: The 9th Generation iPad
Next on our list of the best Apple gifts is the 9th Generation iPad. This is the basic iPad that came out last year, with none of the bells and whistles that you’ll find on the iPad Air or iPad Pro. It’s just your typical tablet.
The reason we’re recommending last year’s iPad over this year’s iPad is that the 9th Generation iPad is essentially just as powerful as the current iPad. However, it’s $120 cheaper. So you can grab it at a fraction of the price.
Plus, because it uses the classic iPad design, there are a ton of durable cases for kids that already exist. So you can use that extra $120 to grab a great case for this iPad. That’ll enable this gift to last a long time for your kids, regardless of how clumsy they are.
For artists: The 10th Generation iPad
If you have an older kid, and especially one who is an artist, then the 10th Generation iPad is the way to go. It’s a bit pricier than the 9th Generation iPad, at $449. However, it has a wonderful new design and comes in bright, lovely colors.
That’s one of the reasons I recommend this device for artists. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of artists as loved ones, and all of them love using the iPad with an Apple Pencil to draw. The colorful nature and beautiful design will no doubt inspire the artist in your life to create something special.
I will say that if your loved one is an artist and doesn’t already have an Apple Pencil, then you may want to go ahead and grab it for them. They’re a bit pricey, at $100, but completely worth it. You’ll want to grab the 1st Generation Apple Pencil.
Despite the adapter annoyance, this is still a great device to grab for older kids, artists, and art students. Every artist in my life who has grabbed one of these devices has ended up obsessed with it, so don’t hesitate if this is on your list!
For students: The iPad Air or iPad Pro
If you’re looking for the best Apple gifts for students, then I highly recommend the iPad Air or the iPad Pro. The current versions of these devices are overwhelmingly powerful, so they’ll last your loved one a long time.
And best of all, these devices now work with a keyboard, mouse, and trackpad. So they can use their iPad like it’s a laptop. And it has the benefit of being more fun and accessible than a laptop.
I’ve toyed with the idea of replacing my laptop with an iPad for a long time, and in all honesty, I probably will next year. They’re super fun, lightweight, versatile, and powerful. And they can be paired with a number of accessories that make them that much better.
If you’re not sure whether you should grab the iPad Air or the iPad Pro, here’s my two cents. The iPad Air has an M1 chip while the iPad Pro has an M2 chip, so the Pro will perform better, but both are going to be excellent. For reference, these are the same chips that Apple puts in its Pro desktop computers. They’re very powerful.
The Pro comes in a slightly larger size, which is its main advantage over the iPad Air. The iPad Air is a few hundred dollars less, though, which is its main advantage.
You can find a more thorough breakdown on these devices here.
For students who need a little more: The MacBook Air
Of course, the iPad Pro and Air are just replacements for the real deal. And in all honesty, if you’re grabbing the iPad Pro, you’re probably going to be paying close to what a laptop costs anyway.
That’s why, for students who need that extra power, the next suggestion on our list of the best Apple gifts is the MacBook Air. This is a classic Apple product, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, long-lasting, reliable, and relatively affordable.
For a long time, this was one of Apple’s weakest laptops, so much so that it wasn’t really worth considering. But a few years ago, Apple gave this device a revamp, and it’s continued to get updates ever since.
Today, you can rest assured that this is an excellent machine. It has the M-Series chip, so it’s nearly as powerful as the MacBook Pro, which is its more expensive sibling.
To be clear, this is a pretty big gift. You’ll spend between $1,000 and $1,500 on this machine. But it’s totally worth it, as it’ll last for several years. A perfect graduation gift for someone starting college.
I will say that you should probably upgrade the storage to at least 512GB and preferably to 1TB. Otherwise, there’s a good chance the user is going to run out of storage in a year or two.
On the other hand, I don’t necessarily recommend upgrading the memory for this machine. The M-Series chips are powerful enough that you can get by with 8GB of memory.
For music lovers: The AirPods Max
One of the Apple products I’ve been most pleased with in recent years has been the AirPods Max. You can read my full review here, but for those who don’t feel like reading, know that I still use these every single day. And I’m constantly fighting with my partner who loves to “borrow” them.
Seriously, these things are great, and they’re one of the best Apple gifts for those who love music. The quality is amazing, they pair perfectly with all of your Apple devices, they’re comfortable, more durable than I expected, and the noise-cancelling feature is like magic.
The one complaint I have with this device is the price. It’s not that the $549 price tag is unreasonable. In fact, it’s pretty standard for high-end headphones. It’s more so that it’s just steep in general.
For that reason, I do recommend grabbing a pair of these headphones secondhand. I grabbed mine on eBay for $100 off the normal price and don’t regret it at all.
Additionally, I will say that you should only buy this for someone you trust to take care of them. The headband is made of a mesh material, and while mine hasn’t been torn, someone who is more careless could definitely tear it by accident. The headband is not replaceable, so it would more or less ruin these headphones were that to happen.
You can help your gift recipient protect their AirPods Max by grabbing them a case to go with them.
For those who love gadgets: The AirPods or AirPods Pro
Next up on our list of the best Apple gifts are the AirPods and AirPods Pro. If you’re a regular reader of AppleToolBox, then you know that I have been vocal about my disdain for the standard AirPods. For the price, they’re pretty lackluster. The audio is just passable, they only last around two years, and I was just overall unimpressed when I had a pair.
That said, the standard AirPods are immensely popular. So, if you have someone in your life who doesn’t have them and they love neat little gadgets, they’ll get a real kick out of AirPods. They work like magic, and while not the best for listening to music, they’re very fun.
Also, you’ll notice when buying AirPods that you can either get the 2nd Generation or 3rd Generation. The 3rd Generation is a redesign of the 2nd Generation, so they look a little newer and function a little better. But they’re also a little pricier. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong grabbing one or the other, so consider your budget and whether or not you think the recipient will care if they’re getting the newest version available.
For someone who you want to grab a gift that’s a bit more premium, there are the AirPods Pro. These are a much better set of headphones, with excellent audio, great noise-cancelling, and sweat resistance that makes them ideal for working out.
They are pricey, and though I’ve never owned a pair, my understanding is that they’re worth the high price tag. So, I would consider these a more “adult” pair of AirPods, great for someone who likes listening to music while they workout.
For adults: Apple TV
This is probably the “safest” gift you can get your loved ones, especially if they’re an adult. For those that don’t know, the Apple TV is a little black box that plugs into your TV. Once connected, you can use it to browse apps like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, and so on.
If you know someone doesn’t own an Apple TV, then you can’t really go wrong by gifting them one. Especially if they already own other Apple products. They can send videos from their iPhone or Mac to their TV and vice versa, which is a pretty handy feature. And if they listen to Apple Music, they can find all of their playlists on their Apple TV.
I’ve had an Apple TV for about a year now, and while it’s a bit obsolete at this point (I use my PS4 for everything on my TV now) I loved it while I used it. They’re not too expensive, either, and in my opinion they’re the best smart TV products around.
If you aren’t sure if you should grab the 4K version or the HD version, I’d just grab the HD version. Most people don’t have a 4K TV anyway, so that version will be redundant. I would only recommend that version if you know the person has a 4K TV and really values picture quality. For the average user, though, the HD version should be fine.
Apple is only offering the 4K version on its website right now, but you can find the latest HD version secondhand on sites like eBay.
For athletes: The Apple Watch Series 8 or SE
Nearing the end of our list of the best Apple gifts is the Apple Watch. I’ve had an Apple Watch for about two years now and am very happy with it for a variety of reasons. It’s helped me be more active, track my workouts, and stay in touch with my heart health.
So if you have an athlete in your life and you know they don’t yet have an Apple Watch, I would definitely consider grabbing them one. They Apple Watch SE is packed with great features at a great price, while the Series 8 is a bit pricier with even more to offer.
You may also notice on Apple’s website that there is an Apple Watch Ultra. Personally, I don’t think the average user needs one of these. And given that it’s nearly $800, it’s probably overkill for most gift giving. But if the person is a swimmer, hiker, diver, etc., and you have the extra cash, then maybe going for the Ultra is a solid idea.
Either way, you can’t go wrong. Apple doesn’t make a bad Apple Watch, so grab one if you think the person you’re shopping for will make use of it!
For homeowners: The HomePod mini is one of the best Apple gifts
You may have forgotten that Apple even makes a HomePod mini, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best Apple gifts. For those that aren’t familiar with it, the HomePod mini is a small, colorful smart speaker.
The user can place it anywhere in their home, call out “Hey Siri”, and send text messages, play music, search the web, make purchases, update their shopping list, and much more.
It can also be used as a hub for smart home devices, so if someone has a smart lightbulb, for example, they can turn it on and off with their HomePod mini.
Like the Apple TV or gift card, this is a great gift for someone you’re having a hard time shopping for. It’s fun, will get a lot of use, isn’t too expensive, and goes well with everything. Just make sure that the person you’re purchasing it for has an iPhone, as that’ll be necessary to set this thing up.
Also, it comes in a handful of bright colors, so make sure to grab one that matches the recipient’s personality! I have a feeling that Apple is going to discontinue the HomePod mini soon, so definitely snag one before it’s gone for good.
For those who want to go all out: The 24″ iMac
Last but definitely not least on our list of the best Apple gifts is the 24″ iMac.
Let’s get it out of the way right now: Yes, this is a MASSIVE gift. This is something for a spouse, someone you really want to impress, a best friend, yourself, etc. This is likely going to cost around $2,000, so it’s definitely not a gift for everyone.
That said, if you are looking to go all out this holiday season, the 24″ iMac is an incredible gift. I’ve been using one almost since it was first released, I’m writing on it right now, and I plan on using it for years to come.
For starters, this is, at least in my opinion, the best looking computer Apple has every released. It’s seriously beautiful, and the color options are amazing. I have the yellow one, and it brightens up my entire office space. I love seeing it.
Beyond that, though, it’s also an excellent computer. It’s super powerful, backed by the M1 chip, runs very efficiently, and can handle things that no other Mac has been able to for a long time. I’ve used mine for gaming, for instance, and the only thing that held it back was a lack of Mac compatibility.
There’s not much more to say about it. This computer is awesome and will blow your loved ones away as a gift (assuming they want a Mac and not a Windows computer, that is).
Just make sure that if you grab one of these, you get plenty of storage. I recommend around 1TB. I also recommend grabbing 16GB of memory. Personally, I went with 8GB, and do notice that my system lags a bit when two users are logged in. I think 16GB would solve this problem, so go ahead and spend the extra cash on that if you have it.
The best Apple gifts for 2022: Stocking stuffers
Now that we’ve covered the best Apple gifts in general, it’s time to get into the best stocking stuffers that Apple has to offer. As mentioned, these are going to be smaller gifts that you can grab for your loved ones. They’re more affordable, less grand in scale, and are less likely to be owned by your loved ones.
First off, I think a great gift to grab your loved ones is a MagSafe accessory. This is a pretty new feature available on iPhone, and a lot of people aren’t even aware that they have it.
For those who don’t know, MagSafe is a wireless charging feature available on the iPhone 12 and later. So only a few iPhone models have this feature. It works just like normal wireless charging – you place your iPhone on top of a wireless charging pad without needing to plug anything in, and it starts charging.
What sets MagSafe apart, however, is that the charging pad magnetizes to the back of your iPhone. So you can just casually slap your iPhone on top of the charger, and it’ll align and stick itself to the back of your iPhone, charging it instantly.
Another thing that’s neat about this feature is that, while you can grab a standard MagSafe charging pad from Apple, you can also grab MagSafe cases, battery packs, wallets, and more. They all stick to the back of the iPhone, clicking into place in a satisfying and secure way.
And Apple isn’t the only company that makes MagSafe accessories. You can find some pretty neat ideas on Amazon and Google, so search around and find something that is both compatible with your loved one’s iPhone and capable of capturing their imagination. For example, I grabbed my father a MagSafe charging mount for his car, and it ended up being one of his favorite gadgets.
Again, though, you do need to make sure that the MagSafe accessory is compatible with the person’s iPhone, so I recommend asking what iPhone model they have before buying one of these accessories.
Charging stands are easily one of the best Apple gifts
A charging device that’s a bit simpler than MagSafe is a charging stand. If you haven’t seen these before, they’re just stands or mounts for your iPhone that either have a charging port or work via wireless charging. Most iPhones have wireless charging these days, so you can probably get away without needing to check which iPhone model the person has. So long as you’re sure that they don’t have a particularly old model of iPhone.
Charging stands come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pretty budget-friendly, around $20, made of plastic, and will last forever. Others are pricier, made from materials like wood and carbon fiber.
You can even find companies that have made entire ecosystems out of charging stands, like PITAKA, which uses a magnetic case to empower a bunch of really cool charging stands. And best of all, you can find charging stands for basically any Apple device out there. Phones, tablets, Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, etc.
An Apple Pencil
If you’re not in the mood to go exploring for accessories and just want something straightforward and simple, then the Apple Pencil might be the way to go. It’s not cheap, but it’s super powerful and will definitely excite whoever gets it.
This is an iPad accessory only, so you have to know that the person has an iPad before you grab one. Essentially, it allows someone to draw on their iPad, so it’s a great gift for artists and graphic designers.
The one catch with the Apple Pencil is that it comes in two versions, and they are not interchangeable. Each iPad works with one or the other, so you need to know exactly which iPad the person has. Then, you’ll want to check Apple’s website, or go to an Apple Store and ask an employee, and make sure you’re getting the right one.
As a general rule, if someone has an iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad mini, then you’ll want to grab them the Apple Pencil Second Generation. Otherwise, grab the Apple Pencil First Generation.
Even that’s not a hard and fast rule, though, as this might be different depending on how old/new their iPad Pro/Air/mini is. A regular iPad will always be paired with an Apple Pencil First Generation, though.
Again, if you’re confused, just contact Apple Support. They’re super friendly and easy to work with. Or, you could just grab an Apple gift card with $120 on it, and specify that the money is for an Apple Pencil. That way, the recipient can make sure they grab the right one.
Ok, I know. I promised that the Apple Pencil would be one of the simpler best Apple gifts, and then I threw a bunch of information at you. AirTags, however, are truly super simple. Here’s the link for a single AirTag, and here’s the link for a pack of four AirTags.
That’s pretty much it! For those who don’t know, the AirTag is a little Bluetooth device that pairs with another Apple device (the iPhone or iPad). You can then label this AirTag on your iPhone or iPad (e.g. “Backpack”) and throw it in your backpack.
If you ever lose your backpack, you can now open the Find My app on your iPhone and your AirTag will show you on a map where your backpack is. That’s all. You can buy an attachment for your keychain, stick one in your wallet, use it to keep track of your young children or pets, and more. Though I will mention that, officially, Apple does not recommend you use it to track children or pets.
AirTags are basically compatible with every iPhone and iPad, so you can grab these without needing to think too much into it. I have one and love it and wish someone would grab me a four pack. I need it!
Smart home accessories
The last stocking stuffer in this list of the best Apple gifts is smart home accessories. Though I will preface this by saying that, if you want, you can go big on smart home accessories, too. There are plenty of pricey options out there, but plenty of small, inexpensive ones as well.
I’ve already made a list of great smart home accessories for Apple users before (see here), so I’m not going to go into too much detail in this post.
I will, however, briefly cover what smart home devices are and offer up some general suggestions.
For those who don’t know, smart home accessories are devices for your house that connect to your iPhone or HomePod mini. Things like lightbulbs, timers, motion sensors, security cameras, locks for your doors, and more.
You can connect these devices to your iPhone and then control them from your phone. You can turn off all of the lights in your house from your iPhone, even when you aren’t home. Or you can open doors, answer your doorbell, control your coffeepot, and much more.
A great smart home stocking stuffer is a smart lightbulb, light strips, NFC tags, and security devices. Again, you can check out this post for more details on these devices.
Buy your loved ones the best Apple gifts early!
And that’s it! Those are the best Apple gifts for the 2022 holiday season. I tried to include everything I could think of, so hopefully, you were able to find a handful of ideas that’ll be great for your loved ones.
Again, don’t forget about compatibility! If you have any questions, you can always talk to Apple Support or go to your local Apple Store and get their insights. They’ll be able to give you the most accurate information on what products will work with your loved one’s devices.
For more insights, news, and guides on all things Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog.
See you next time!