My question and premise are very simple, but the legal perspectives on the answer are unclear to me.

A person purchases an Apple computer/phone product directly from Apple (any device requiring agreement to terms of service, end user license agreement, etc.)

During purchase of the product, there is no discussion about what the software legal terms will be -- however, Apple hardware requires the use of Apple software, thus it can be claimed one is purchasing an integrated hardware/software system.

After making the purchase, the customer starts the Apple operating system and diligently makes their way thru every poetic sentence of legalese. Upon reading the contracts (ToS, EULA, etc.), the user decides they in fact do NOT agree with these terms, and do not proceed.

At this point, they have purchased a hardware device which requires using a certain specific software, but they don't agree to the software terms, and are thus unable to use the hardware they purchased for the intended use.

Have I made any incorrect assessments of the situation up to this point?

It seems to me if a hardware company is selling an integrated hardware/software product, which can only run on specific software, the selling party would need to complete the contractual agreement terms with the buyer before the purchase is completed. Or at the very least communicate this situation with the user.

I'm sure this contradiction has no gone unnoticed, so I would appreciate the legal perspective on this situation.

  • You did make one incorrect assumption: the use of Apple hardware by no means requires the use of Apple software. Many people run open-source operating systems on mac computers such as GNU Linux or BSD. However, the software was a part of the sale, so the answers below cover the situation nicely.
    – Fox
    Mar 23, 2022 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


Return it

If you are unwilling to enter the contract then you can return the device for a refund.

  • Are they legally required to offer a refund?
    – forest
    Jan 17, 2021 at 5:28
  • Required or not, they do offer a refund.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 18, 2021 at 14:38
  • @gnasher729 But OP is asking for a legal perspective. In other words, if you disagree to the terms, are they obligated to provide a refund, and would there be any legal recourse if they did not?
    – forest
    Jan 18, 2021 at 23:19
  • The sale is completed when you pay the money (or agree that you will and can be forced to pay), the store hands you the goods, AND you agree to the license. So if you don't agree to the license, there has been no actual sale. Since there is no actual sale, they have to refund the money. There will be exceptions if you damaged the goods or return them in a way that cannot be resold.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 9, 2022 at 9:09

You're getting a "contradiction" because you're assuming the only transaction occurring is when you purchase the Apple computer. But, there are two separate transactions, or, in contract terms, two separate "bargained-for exchanges." The first is when you purchase and receive the computer, and the second is when you receive the right to use the software. If you do not agree to the software's user agreement, you can return the device and get a refund. In other words, when you purchase and receive the computer, you are "conditionally accepting" the contract of purchasing the computer, the condition being that the software agreement is something that you can agree to. If the software agreement is not something that you can agree to, then you can go and return the device for a refund.

It doesn't really make sense for the seller to have to tell every customer what the software agreement is before purchase, because (1) you, as the purchaser, have the responsibility to get all the information you need before the purchase, and the seller doesn't know what information you need if you don't ask, and (2) you have the option to return the computer for a refund. You can avoid this whole process by simply asking for what the software agreement is. It's an unusual request, but the seller will provide it for you if it gets you to the buy computer.

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