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Is AppleCare worth it? A detailed guide with pricing

Is AppleCare worth it a complete guide

Apple builds its devices’ hardware and software to be elegant yet resilient, but sometimes your iPhone loses the battle against gravity or runs into an unexpected bug. For best results, it’s wise to rely on Apple experts for service and repair rather than third-party sources.

This can be an expensive affair if you don’t have AppleCare or AppleCare+ by your side.

AppleCare plans can start to add up in price themselves; this leads many to ask “is AppleCare+ really worth it?”

Between the initial cost, deductibles, and varying prices across products, it starts to get pretty confusing.

So, let’s dive in and find out if AppleCare is worth it.

Difference between AppleCare and AppleCare+

AppleCare is the standard warranty that comes free with the device and covers hardware failures and manufacturing defects. The tech giant offers a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary technical support.

This guarantees that you’ll get free repair or replacement if the product does not work as intended.

Note: This doesn’t cover accidental damage or offer a reduced service fee.

AppleCare+ is the additional service and support plan you can purchase to protect your device. This extended warranty offers up to three years of hardware coverage (depending on the device). There are several more perks included with AppleCare+ :

  • Priority access to Apple Support via chat or phone
  • Covers the costs of repairs or heavily reduces the fee for repair work
  • Two incidents of accidental damage coverage every 12 months (depending on service fee/plan selected)
  • Express Replacement Service for iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches
  • A version of AppleCare+ also covers theft or loss

AppleCare+ Subscription plan – In addition to the 2-year coverage, you can also extend your AppleCare+ coverage up to 24 months for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and 36 months for Apple Watch Edition and Hermès. You can either pay upfront for the 24/36 months or set up a monthly payment plan.

The offer is limited to selective countries and regions: U.S, U.K, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Though the monthly recurring payment plan works out to be more expensive, it gives you the flexibility to cancel at any time. Neat, right?

The cost and benefits included in the AppleCare+ package vary from product to product. So, let’s assess the value of AppleCare+ according to individual categories.

AppleCare+ for iPhone

AppleCare+ for iPhone
Source: Apple

An AppleCare+ plan for iPhone extends the coverage to 2 years from the AppleCare+ purchase date.

There is also a special, more expensive Theft and Loss plan available (only in the United States and Japan). As the name suggests, you get a replacement phone for a considerably lower price ($149) in case of theft.

Note: Theft and loss coverage requires that you have Find My iPhone enabled at the time your device is lost or stolen.

Before we move on to discuss more, let’s check out how much each plan costs.

AppleCare+ cost for iPhone

iPhone ModelAppleCare+ PriceAppleCare+ with Theft and Loss Price
iPhone 12 Pro, Pro Max$199 ($9.99/month)$269 ($13.49/month)
iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 11$149 ($7.99/month)$219 ($11.49/month)
iPhone 11 Pro, Pro Max, XS, XS Max$199 ($9.99/month)$299 ($14.99/month)
iPhone SE (2nd gen)$79 ($3.99/month)$149 ($7.49/month)
iPhone XR, 8 Plus, 7 Plus$149 ($7.99/month)$249 ($12.99/month)
iPhone 8, 7$129$199

What does AppleCare+ for iPhone cover?

  • Apple-certified service and support coverage
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support
  • Up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months – Each incident is subject to service fees and applicable taxes: 
    • Screen damage – $29.00
    • Any other accidental damage – $99.00
    • Theft or loss – $149.00
  • Battery service coverage – When it drops below 80% capacity
  • Express Replacement Service – Receive a replacement device to use during the repair
  • Services offered:
    • Carry-in repair – Take your iPhone to the Apple Store or other Apple Authorized Service Provider for repair
    • Onsite – Schedule a technician
    • Mail-in repair – Prepaid shipping box from Apple
  • Software support – Apple Expert will help you troubleshoot issues with your iPhone and Apple-branded apps such as FaceTime, Mail, etc.

Should you buy or pass? 

Let’s do some math – Imagine you accidentally dropped an iPhone 12 Pro, and now a screen repair/replacement is in order.

  • With AppleCare+ = $29 + $199 (paid for AppleCare+) = $228 plus applicable taxes
  • Without = $279 plus applicable taxes

What if you have lost your iPhone 12 Pro

  • With AppleCare+ Theft and Loss, your new iPhone 12 Pro will cost = $149 + $269 (paid for AppleCare+) = $418 plus applicable taxes
  • Without = $999 plus applicable taxes

Yes! Even after factoring in the initial cost of AppleCare+, you’re saving money. Factor in the plan’s four screen repairs (2/year), four battery replacements, and other perks, and it’s a no-brainer.

So, it seems like a money-saving deal. On the other hand, the money is wasted if you have no incidence within the years of coverage.  

Final take – Funny enough, accidents happen accidentally. It may not even be your fault; a friend, parent or child might drop your phone. 

Overall, AppleCare+ is a smart investment if you are accident-prone, have kids, or like to prep for a rainy day. However, if you’re on a tight budget or own an affordable device like the iPhone 12 or SE 2020, it’s totally skippable. Just be extra careful with your iPhone and invest in a good case and screen guard.

AppleCare+ for iPad, iPad Pro and iPad Air

AppleCare+ for iPad, iPad Pro and iPad Air
Source: Apple

The AppleCare+ plan for iPad offers up to 2-years of extended coverage. Plus, it includes coverage for Apple Pencil, Apple‑branded iPad keyboards, and AirPort devices if purchased within two years of the iPad. 

AppleCare+ cost for iPad

iPad ModelAppleCare+ Price
12.9″ & 11″ iPad Pro$129 or $5.99/mo
iPad Air & Mini$69 or $3.49/mo
iPad$69 or $3.49

What does AppleCare+ for iPad cover?

  • Up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months
  • Each incident is subject to a service fee plus the applicable tax:
    • iPad – $49
    • Apple Pencil/ keyboard –  $29
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support
  • Battery service coverage
  • Service offered: Carry-in repair, onsite, and mail-in repair
  • Express Replacement Service 
  • Software support

Should you buy or pass?

Let’s do some math – If you need a screen replacement for your iPad, it’ll cost you between $299 and $649, depending on the model. However, with AppleCare+ insurance, you pay just $49 + taxes. 

Final take – So, AppleCare+ would definitely come in handy, especially if you have the full setup complete with iPadPro, Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard. Whether the plan is worth it ultimately depends on your handling and usage, however.

AppleCare+ for Macs and Apple Display

AppleCare+ for Macs and Apple Display
Source: Apple

The AppleCare+ insurance plan for Mac and Apple Display offers three years of extended coverage. Notably, the insurance plan for the Display includes service for one Apple-branded Display stand and one Apple-branded mount.

AppleCare+ cost for Macs and Apple Display

Mac ModelAppleCare+ Price
15″ & 16″ MacBook Pro $379
13″ MacBook Pro  $269
MacBook Air $249
Mac Pro $299
iMac & iMac Pro $169
Mac Mini $99
Pro Display XLR $499

What does AppleCare+ cover?

  • Apple-certified service and support coverage
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support
  • Up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months
  • Each incident is subject to a service fee plus applicable tax:
    • Screen damage or external enclosure damage – $99
    • Other damage – $299
  • Global repair coverage
  • Battery service coverage
  • Apple memory (RAM),  Apple USB SuperDrive, accessories like the power adapter
  • Service offered: Carry-in repair, onsite and mail-in repair for portable computers
  • Software support

Should you buy or pass?

Let’s do some math – The math to figure out the value of owning AppleCare+ for Mac is slightly more complex. On one hand, it does save you good money. For instance, battery replacement typically costs around $199 for the MacBook Pro, while it’s free with AppleCare+. 

Plus, issues like drive failure or replacement can cost between $159 and $459. On the other hand, Macs are quite robust, and typically no major problems are observed in the first four plus years of use.

Now add your usage into that equation. If it’s 4-5 hours a day, the risk level is low at a stationary desk. But if it’s around 9-12 hours or more and traveling is involved, chances of damage are higher.

Final take – Let me simplify, If you are clumsy, an extensive user, an avid traveler, or the device changes hands often, it’s wise to opt for AppleCare+. In any other case, you’ll have to measure the pros, cons, and cost to make a decision accordingly.

AppleCare+ for Apple Watch

AppleCare+ for Apple Watch
Source: Apple

The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Nike series come with one year of hardware repair coverage under the limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary support. 

As for every Apple Watch edition and Apple Watch Hermès, the limited warranty and complimentary support offers two years of hardware repair coverage. Apple Watch AppleCare+ plans favor more expensive devices. While the rest of the models get two years of coverage, the expensive ones get three years of extended coverage.

AppleCare+ cost for Apple Watch

Apple Watch ModelAppleCare+ Price
Series 6, 5, 4 & Apple Watch Nike$79
Series 3 & SE$49
Apple Watch Edition & Hermes$149

What does AppleCare+ cover?

  • Up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months
  • Each incident is subject to a service fee plus applicable tax:
    • Apple Watch and Apple Watch Nike – $69
    • Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès – $79
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support
  • Global repair coverage
  • Express Replacement Service 
  • Battery service coverage 
  • Service offered: Carry-in repair and mail-in repair 
  • Software support

Should you buy or pass?

Let’s do some math – The repair cost for a GPS-only Apple Watch Series 6 is $299, and a titanium Apple Watch Edition Series 6 is $499. Factoring in the cost and benefits of AppleCare+, you’re definitely getting a bargain. 

But again, I have a three-year-old Apple Watch that is worn regularly and doesn’t even have a scratch, all thanks to a dependable screen guard. You may not need AppleCare+ depending on your usage habits.

Final take – If you are an adventure junkie and regularly wear the watch during activities like rock climbing, hiking, dirt biking, or someone who is prone to accidents and often runs into walls, insuring Apple Watch with AppleCare is worth it.

Otherwise, skip it and hope that the odds always remain in your favor!

AppleCare+ for Apple TV

Source: Apple

The Cupertino giant offers a special AppleCare Protection Plan for the Apple TV that extends the coverage to two years from the Apple TV purchase date.

How much does it cost and what does it cover?

The AppleCare Protection Plan is available for Apple TV 4 and Apple TV 4K and costs $39. Notably, this isn’t an insurance plan and simply a warranty extension with better support options. This means there is no associated fee attached for repairs. 

  • Up to two years of Apple-certified service and support coverage
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support
  • Global repair coverage
  • Service offered: Carry-in repair and mail-in repair 
  • Express Replacement Service
  • Also covers included Siri Remote and power cord
  • Software support 

Should you buy or pass?

Unless you enjoy playing hockey with the TV box, pass! Once set up, you will hardly move your Apple TV, and the lack of features offered shows that even Apple doesn’t expect accidental damage to the product.

The only benefit that I see for this AppleCare Protection Plan is the global repair coverage. If you are buying the device overseas, this feature can be of great use.

AppleCare+ for HomePod, AirPods, AirPods Max and iPod touch

The plan for all music accessories by Apple, whether the HomePod, HomePod Mini, all AirPods, Beat earphones/headphones, AirPods Max, and iPod Touch, offers two years extended coverage from the AppleCare+ purchase date. 

The list of all included AirPods and Beats devices 

  • AirPods
  • AirPods Pro
  • Beats EP
  • Beats Pro
  • Beats Solo Pro
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless
  • BeatsX
  • Powerbeats
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Powerbeats3 Wireless

AppleCare+ cost for Music Accessories

ProductAppleCare+ Price
HomePod$39
HomePod Mini $15
AirPods or Beats$29
AirPods Max$59
iPod Touch$59

What does AppleCare+ cover?

  • Up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months
  • Each incident is subject to a service fee plus applicable tax:
    • HomePod – $39 
    • HomePod mini – $15 
    • AirPods, AirPods Pro, Beats – $29
    • iPod Touch – $29
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support 
  • Express Replacement Service for HomePod, AirPods, AirPods Max, and Beats   
  • Global repair coverage for iPod Touch 
  • Battery service coverage for AirPods, AirPods Max, Beats, and iPod Touch 
  • Service offered: Carry-in repair and mail-in repair 
  • Software support

Should you buy or pass?

Do you need an insurance plan for music accessories? Well, if you’re talking $549 AirPods Max, you might not mind spending $59 for some peace of mind. But investing $15 or $29 for a $99 HomePod Mini or $159 AirPods, respectively, may not be in your best interests.

For one, Apple doesn’t make cheap quality products. If there is a defect in the device by some bad luck, the one-year AppleCare easily covers the situation. Though I would have loved a Theft and lost feature added into this category, that would definitely be worth picking up.

It all comes down to this question: how many speakers or earphones/headphones have you broken in the last 2-3 years? If the number is embarrassingly high, buy AppleCare+; if not you can get away without it. 

FAQs about buying AppleCare+

Q: When can I buy AppleCare+?

You can buy an AppleCare+ plan when purchasing the product, or within 60 days (30 days in Japan) of  the purchase. This can be done via: 
Online
– At an Apple Store (proof of purchase and product inspection required)
– By calling 800-275-2273 (requires proof of purchase and runs a remote diagnostic test)
– Only For iPhone/iPad: New devices will have a prompt. Go to SettingsGeneral About and choose AppleCare+ Coverage Available.

Q: How to buy AppleCare+ for products not bought directly from Apple?

Whether you buy from Apple or any third-party seller, you can use the methods mentioned above to purchase AppleCare+. All you need is proof of purchase, and after a remote or onsite diagnostic test, you can buy a plan.

Q: Can I get AppleCare+ after the 60-day period ends?

Only if you live in the U.S. and Canada. Apple extended the AppleCare+ plan window up to a year after purchase, but you’ll have to take the device into an Apple Store for inspection. You’ll be able to purchase a plan after the technician gives you the green light.

Q: How to check the time left on my AppleCare plan?

Just visit Apple’s Check Your Service and Support Coverage page and use your device’s serial number to review the current warranty status & AppleCare+ eligibility.

Q: Do I need to live near an Apple Store or service center to get the benefits of AppleCare+?

Absolutely not; the tech giant understands such limitations and offers some great options for users who don’t have access to a retail store or authorized service center. Depending on the device and country or region, you can make use of:
Onsite service –  An authorized repair technician will visit your home/workplace to fix the problem.
Direct mail – Apple will send you a box complete with shipping labels. Just pack the product and ship it, without spending a penny as Apple covers it all. 
Drop off at the UPS Store – Only available for U.S. users and iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Apple provides you with Repair ID numbers, and all you have to do is drop the product at any UPS Store; Apple pays the shipping cost both ways.
DIY – When the problem is something you can resolve, Apple will send across the part you need, like a new charger.

Q: Is AppleCare+ available for refurbished products? 

Yes, but only the refurbished products that Apple sells on its website. Like any new product, all refurbished ones come with a one-year warranty. And you can purchase AppleCare+ to extend the warranty further and rack in the additional perks.  

Q: What happens to my AppleCare+ plan when I sell the product?

The great news is that AppleCare and AppleCare+ is transferable; the new-owner gets the remaining protection period. In fact, that can even fetch you some extra bugs!
To receive all benefits of the AppleCare+ plan, the new owner will need the original proof of purchase (receipt), the plan confirmation, contract, and you’ll have to notify Apple via email, fax, or physical mail to inform them.

Q: Can I cancel an AppleCare+ plan?

Yes, if you cancel the plan 
Within 30 days of purchase – A full refund minus the service received (if any)
Outside of 30 days – Prorated refund, minus any service and a fee of $25 or 10 percent of the prorated refund (whichever is less)

Is AppleCare+ worth it? 

In most cases: yes, AppleCare+ can actually save you more money than you spend on the plan. 

However, if you’re heavily involved in the Apple ecosystem with products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, AirPods, and HomePod mini, the expense of AppleCare+ alone can break your wallet.

I would advise you to tread lightly, see which products are at more risk and select a plan accordingly. 

Furthermore, the terms and conditions for the standard warranty may vary based on country, so read the offer document carefully before purchasing!

If you want to explore more options, here’s a neat little list of the best insurance plans for iPhone. And remember, our comment section is open to anyone and everyone, so feel free to share your views, reviews, questions, queries, suggestions, and critiques about the article. 

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