If you own, or are thinking about owning, an Apple product, you’ve probably wondered if the company’s add-on product protection service, AppleCare+, is worth the price. With how costly iPhones, Macs, and other Apple devices are, is it worth paying yet another chunk of change on top just for peace of mind?
Like most modern electronics, Apple’s artillery of smartphones, computers, wearables, and other gadgets are filled to the brim with premium components (and often nestled inside fragile glass). So naturally, it’s not surprising to hear that it can cost a lot to fix them.
For example, screen replacement on an iPhone 13 Pro Max without any sort of supplemental coverage costs $329. That’s a steep price to pay and a solid chunk of your phone’s original purchase price. But with AppleCare+, you’ll only have to pay $29 in addition to the plan’s upfront or monthly cost. That’s a pretty good deal.
Even if you’re the most careful person, accidents can still happen. It only takes one clumsy cat or reckless neighbor to mess things up. Paying a little each month for coverage can be a little less painful than needing to pay a big sum at once to replace an entire device (or even just part of a device). So we’re taking a look to see what exactly AppleCare+ is, which devices it covers, and whether or not it’s worth the extra investment.
What’s the Difference between AppleCare and AppleCare+?
AppleCare is the 1-year limited warranty that comes with your device. It covers basic issues and problems like manufacturing defects. It also includes 90 days of free phone support. AppleCare+ is Apple’s extended warranty program and technical support plans for its devices. It extends AppleCare’s provisions for a longer period of time, and tacks on a few extra niceties as well.
You don’t need to buy coverage the same day you buy your device, but you’ll need to purchase it within 60 days of your device’s purchase (30 for those located in Japan). It’s offered at checkout at Apple stores and on Apple’s website, and many authorized retailers offer it as well. Your AppleCare+ coverage starts on the day you purchase it, and you can cancel it at any time.
AppleCare+ plans are currently available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Display, Apple Watch, HomePod, iPod, and Headphones, with a separate AppleCare Protection Plan for Apple TV. Apple’s goal with AppleCare+ is to resolve your issue in a single call and not leave you high and dry without a device or solution for whatever unfortunate incident happened.
Is AppleCare+ Only a Good Idea If You Live Near an Apple Store?
While it probably seems like AppleCare+ will have you running in and out of your local Apple store, that’s not the case. You can do that, but the service also allows you to process service requests via mail or by visiting approved third-party servicers.
If you’re going with the mail-in option, Apple automatically will ship you a box and any shipping labels you need. You also have the option to get a Repair ID from Apple online and drop your device off at any UPS store to ship to Apple, which won’t cost you a thing.
For certain eligible devices and scenarios, Apple’s handy Express Replacement Service kicks in and immediately sends you a replacement device. This is limited to iPads, iPhones, HomePods, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, however.
Which Products Does AppleCare+ Cover?
AppleCare+ coverage varies by device type and model, with newer and more expensive devices having a higher plan rate. You can pay for AppleCare+ upfront, or spread out the cost over a few months to make it more affordable. Each device type covers a different set of accessories and peripherals and has unique hardware coverage and software support, so make sure you read all the details carefully if you are wanting AppleCare+ for two different devices.
AppleCare+ for iPhones lets you opt for either the standard AppleCare+ plan or the AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss plan. Both plans extend coverage and offer additional bonuses like accidental damage protection and 24/7 tech support. They offer Apple-certified service and support coverage, along with battery service coverage and up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months.
Each incident is subject to service fees, but you’ll also get Express Replacement Service and 24/7 priority access to Apple experts via phone or chat. Service fees and deductibles, at a glance, cover the following incidents: screen damage for $29, any other accidental damage for $99, and theft or loss for $149.
AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss includes everything the standard AppleCare+ plan does plus up to two incidents of theft or loss coverage every 12 months. Each incident is subject to the same service fees and deductible costs. In order for the Theft and Loss coverage to kick in, Find my iPhone must have been enabled on your device at the time it was stolen or lost.
Additionally, if you choose to sign up for the iPhone Upgrade Program (which starts at $35.33 per month), you can get AppleCare+ that way. This program allows you to get a new iPhone every year once you’ve made 12 payments.
Pricing for AppleCare+ coverage varies, depending on which iPhone model you have, and whether you choose the standard AppleCare+ plan or the AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss plan. All pricing is based on the most basic and least expensive models for each iPhone:
AppleCare+ for iPads extends coverage for your iPad device, Apple Pencil, and Apple-branded iPad keyboards. It includes battery service coverage and up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months. Incidents are subject to a $49 service fee for iPads, and a $29 fee for accessories (like the Apple Pencil and the Apple-branded iPad keyboard). This AppleCare+ plan will also give you 24/7 priority tech support.
Under AppleCare+, iPads are eligible for Express Replacement Service. Hardware coverage also includes the USB cable and power adapter originally shipped with the device. Software support covers questions about iPadOS and iCloud, Apple-branded apps, and connecting to wireless networks, all handled by Apple experts.
Pricing for iPad AppleCare+ varies, depending on which iPad model you have. All pricing is based on the most basic and least expensive models for each iPad:
Mac + Apple Display
AppleCare+ for Macs and for Displays extends coverage to an impressive 3 years from the purchase date. It adds up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months, each of which is subject to a $99 service fee for external enclosure damage or screen damage, and a $299 service fee for other types of damage.
Both Mac and Display plans give you 24/7 priority access to Apple’s tech support experts via chat or phone. Support under the plan allows for onsite repair, mail-in repair, and carry-in repair to an Apple store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Hardware coverage for Macs includes the computer and its battery, memory, included accessories, and Apple USB SuperDrive. Hardware coverage for Displays includes the display, its included power cord, one Apple-branded display stand, and one Apple-branded mount purchased simultaneously.
Software support for Macs covers questions about macOS and iCloud, Apple-branded apps, and connecting to AirPort networks and printers, all handled by Apple experts. Software support for displays covers quick how-to questions regarding Apple-branded apps.
Pricing for Mac and Display AppleCare+ varies, depending on which Mac or Display you have. All pricing is based on the most basic and least expensive models for each:
AppleCare+ for Apple Watch is broken down into two coverage scenarios: for Apple Watch and Apple Watch Nike, and for Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès. Both scenarios give you Apple-certified service and support coverage, 24/7 priority access to tech support, battery service coverage, and up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months.
Coverage for Apple Watch and Apple Watch Nike includes 1 year of hardware repair coverage and 90 days of complimentary support. With AppleCare+, coverage is extended and up to two incidents of accidental damage recovery are included, though each incident is subject to a service fee of $69 plus tax.
Coverage for Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès comes with 2 years of hardware repair coverage through its limited warranty and up to 2 years of complimentary support. With AppleCare+, coverage is extended and up to two incidents of accidental damage recovery are included. However, each incident is subject to a service fee of $79 plus tax.
Under AppleCare+, Apple Watches are eligible for Express Replacement Service as well as carry-in and mail-in repair. Hardware coverage includes the watch and battery. Software support covers questions about using watchOS, Apple-branded apps, and connecting to an iPhone, all handled by Apple’s experts.
Pricing for Apple Watch AppleCare+ varies, depending on which specific Apple Watch you have (and other factors, like the band style). All pricing is based on the least expensive models for each Apple Watch option:
AppleCare+ for HomePod provides extended coverage up to two years and covers up to two incidents of accidental damage, each of which is subject to a service fee of $15 for HomePod mini, or a service fee of $39 for a HomePod, plus tax. You’ll also gain priority 24/7 tech support with Apple’s experts.
With AppleCare+, either HomePod model is eligible for mail-in and carry-in support, either to an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service provider. You can also take advantage of Express Replacement Service. Hardware coverage includes your HomePod device, and software support covers questions about the Home app, how to use AirPlay 2, and how to connect to a wireless network.
Pricing for HomePod AppleCare+ is $39, while the HomePod mini is just $15.
AppleCare+ for iPod extends coverage out to two years from the date you purchase it. Coverage includes battery servicing and up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months. Each incident is subject to a $29 service fee, plus tax. Signing up for coverage gets you 24/7 priority tech support from Apple’s qualified team of experts, too.
AppleCare+ for iPod supports global repair coverage and allows for both mail-in repair and carry-in repair at an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Under the plan, hardware coverage includes the device, its battery, and its included USB cable and earphones. Software support includes connecting your iPod to Wi-Fi networks, using iOs and iCloud, and using Apple-branded iPod touch apps.
Since the iPod Touch is currently the only iPod covered by AppleCare+, pricing for coverage is straightforward—just $59.
AppleCare+ for AirPods, Beats earphones, or Beats headphones extends your coverage out to 2 years from the date you purchase it. Coverage includes battery servicing and up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months. Each incident is subject to a $29 service fee plus tax, however. Signing up for coverage gets you 24/7 priority tech support from Apple’s qualified team of experts.
AppleCare+ for Headphones supports both mail-in repair and carry-in repair at an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. It also gives you Express Replacement Service, so you won’t be stranded without headphones (the horror!). Under the plan, hardware coverage includes the earbuds, earphones, or headphones, the battery, and its included USB charging cable. Software support includes getting expert help for using Siri or Bluetooth connectivity.
No matter which AirPods or Beats product you choose, per-incident coverage for any of them is just $29.
Protection Plan for Apple TV
The AppleCare Protection Plan for Apple TV extends your included coverage to three years, instead of just one, from the date you purchase the Apple TV. Coverage gives you direct one-stop access to Apple’s tech support team and resources for questions about AirPlay, tvOS, iCloud, and anything else relating to the device. You’ll also get 24/7 priority tech support experts via chat or phone.
Should an issue arise, the plan offers global repair coverage and allows you to mail in your Apple TV for repairs or bring it to an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. The included Express Replacement Service automatically sends you a replacement device as well, so you won’t be without your favorite TV shows and movies for a minute.
Hardware coverage for the Apple TV includes the device, the Siri remote control, and the included power cord. Software support covers topics like setting up your Apple TV, connecting it to your Wi-Fi network and iCloud account, streaming content from Apple TV+, using AirPlay to play content, and connecting to third-party streaming services like Hulu.
Pricing for Apple TV AppleCare+ coverage is $29 for either the Apple TV HD 32 GB and Apple TV 4K.
After taking a comprehensive look at what AppleCare+ is and what it offers, we feel that it is worth the extra cost. It’s especially a good idea for the devices you use the most on a regular basis, like iPhones and Macs, and pretty much anything that costs over $1,000. Yes, you can spend every day being ultra careful with your Apple devices and yes, there’s a decent chance you’ll never need to take advantage of the service, but it only takes a single moment for the damage to be done.
Given that you probably want to keep these devices for multiple years, it’s worth thinking of your products (and coverage for them) as an investment, rather than a cost. It’s no different than purchasing coverage for appliances or musical instruments. Paying a little bit extra each month to help mitigate serious issues, should they ever occur, potentially saving you money in the long run and give you some peace of mind in the meantime.