The employment perks state I get my own MacBook Pro (to work with) and iPhone, but I really dislike Apple hardware (not going to discuss Apple vs Brand X) and I simply work way better and much more efficient on a Linux machine.

How can I politely turn down the Apple hardware and ask for an Android phone and (preferably a custom-build by myself) Linux PC instead (for "the same cost")?

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    @gnasher729 - I'd explain that I build my own PCs and have installed Linux many times from scratch. I know what I'm doing and I can handle my own PC problems. I just happen to have an aversion of how OS X works. I know I can do most things I normally do on Linux on it, but I work much more efficient and less frustrating on Linux, where I can install any Desktop Environment that suites my needs and works as I want it to work, not how I'm told to by Apple. </rant> Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:15
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    @RicharddeWit Things aren't always that simple. There may well be (or could be in the future) for example software that you must use that is licensed only for certain Apple hardware, like XCode, Safari, Photoshop, etc. That's just one example of the issues that come up with supporting multiple hardware configurations.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:38
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    @gnasher729 If it is a tool that you use at work, and you're expected to use it at work, how is that a benefit? It's not even clear you're allowed to take the machine home. So at best you might call this a "perk" (something that helps you do your job better). A benefit should be something that supplements your salary.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:45
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    I have a coworker who simply installed Linux on his MacBook Pro. This might be a simpler solution for you.
    – dyeje
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 18:32
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    I'll add a comment so as not to piggy-back on the other answers below. Apple with give INSANE price breaks to corporate customers. Don't go into this thinking you're saving the company $500 if you spec a $1500 Linux laptop and the company was willing to give you a $2000 MacBook Pro. Even at half the retail value, they're likely only just breaking even after they have to specially process your expense, decide if IT needs to support it, etc. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 2:07

5 Answers 5


You can always ask whether it would be ok for you to receive an android phone instead. However expect to have this request be denied. It's not impolite to ask. However some companies will try to give their employees the same hardware so that whenever there are complications with their phones, they only need to take a single brand/phone into account.

Nevertheless, not asking at all gives you a no, asking could turn this into a yes. I don't think they would care much about the costs of the phone if they took an apple phone as the default phone.

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    +1 No, problem with asking - but I would be carefull wording this question. "I can not work effectively this way!" or "Apple sucks for this or that reason!" is no question but complaining/ranting.
    – s1lv3r
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 13:23
  • @s1lv3r - That's my question: how should I ask this? :) Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 14:36
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    Easy "Hi, I was wondering, Would it be possible for me to receive the option to use an android phone and a linux pc instead of the iphone and macbook pro? It would significantly increase my efficiency at work as I feel more comfortable with linux devices." Something along those lines :) talk about the good things of the product you wish to be using rather than the negative things of the things you dont wish to be using :)
    – Migz
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:11

They may have very good reasons for selecting apple as their main affiliate for fringe benefits (often apple give good price breaks and their products are in demand).

If the job is more important than the fringe benefits it offers, I would not mention this in the interview. However you could ask about the benefit during the interview. You might end up understanding why they chose apple.

Instead, when you get the job, ask the IT department if it would be possible to get a PC/Android instead of a Mac. Something along the lines of:

"I really appreciate the offer of a MacBook and iPhone but I prefer to work on Linux and Android. Would it be possible to give me equivalent vouchers for a Linux PC and Android phone?"

However, based on your comments that the offer is not true "fringe benefit", you are likely to have your request turned down.

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    I can, but I do my work better on Linux. OS X frustrates me. I've worked with it for almost a year and it was a huge relief when I boot up my Linux machine at home. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 7:28
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    There is your reason then, "I really appreciate the offer of a MacBook and iPhone but I work much more effectively on a Linux machine. Would it be possible to give me equivalent vouchers for a PC and Android phone?"
    – John
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 7:29
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    @RicharddeWit Whoever is in charge of IT at your premises probably feels the same way... However it is almost certainly more troublesome for them to support 2+ different types of workstation setup (MacBook, Linux PC, etc...) than it is to just have one model MacBook, one OS version, etc.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 7:38
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    @Pepone Is that a opinion or fact? Can you back up your statement with solid evidence? What constitutes "serious professional use"?
    – John
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 10:20
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    I really don't see why you cannot work professionally on a MacBook. I have to use Windows in the office, but I work on OSX at home. As a software developer it rarely matters unless the language is only supported (or receives better support) on a certain platform. In my case it is completely irrelevant whether I code Java on OSX, Windows or Linux. Of course there are scenarios or setups where one OS outperforms the other. :) Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 12:08

You can ask for anything.

In this case, you probably shouldn't expect a "yes", unless you are the "rockstar employee" who has demonstrated performance that so far exceeds that of their peers and management's expectations that your work is critical to the success of the company.

What's more likely is that your plea for special equipment will be seen as whining or evidence that you can't do the job with the equipment provided unlike everyone else working there.


Just ask and be nice about it. (See my comment on these questions in the comments below.)

... (preferably a custom-build by myself) Linux PC instead (for "the same cost")?

The price of the hardware may be the same, but you can't make the assumption that the costs will be as well, because price and cost aren't the same thing. You're going to have to spend time building and administering your system, and if the rest of the company isn't using the same tools you are, there will be time spent dealing with compatibility issues.

Unless you're so good at what you do that the company thinks the value of your work eclipses the costs of having one oddball system in the office, they may simply say "no thanks" and move on to the next candidate. If you stand on it too much, I can almost guarantee that the phrase prima donna will be uttered at some point when everyone sits down to discuss whether or not to extend an offer.

If I can relate a personal story:

Last year, I received an offer from a shop where the standard desktop/laptop is a MacBook. My primary working environment has been some non-Mac form of Unix for close to 30 years (20+ of those with Linux). Like you, I've got everything customized in a way that I find productive and didn't figure it was going to be particularly pleasant having to give all of it up. The job was attractive enough that I decided to take the plunge, and one week before my start date, a MacBook arrived at my door which was fully configured with all of the company's applications, remote backup software, VPN credentials, etc. It was a bit awkward at first, but within a couple of weeks, I had my MacBook doing 95% of what I have Linux set up to do right down to the keystrokes. The other 5% has been chalked up to broadening my horizons.

What I learned from the experience is that pretty much every desktop feature you can find on one platform can be found on the others if you look around a bit. That includes tiling window managers.

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    One of my pet peeves about these "How can I politely ask xxx?" questions is that most of them really mean "How can I ask the company to do something they don't want to do and have the outcome go in my favor?” Doesn’t happen. You have to negotiate, and like most negotiations, you win some and you lose some.
    – Blrfl
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 17:14

Use VMWare, VirtualBox, or equivalent to install Linux on top of OS X, then fullscreen it and work as usual. Performance will be fine (especially since you're using a tiling window manager, you won't even need good GPU support), and you'll have a Linux environment to work in.

If you need OS X software for a unforeseen job role, you'll be able to switch to a different workspace with a four-finger swipe and use OS X instantly.

When you leave the company, they'll want to reuse your laptop for a new employee. It'll be easier to reuse "yet another RMBP" than to reuse "some PC".


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