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AppleCare: what is it, how much does it cost and what is AppleCare Plus?

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If you are a big Apple fan, and you have purchased an iPhone, MacBook, or any other Apple product, you will likely have encountered the AppleCare dilemma more than once. Do you need it? Is it worth it? Is it worth the effort? This can sometimes be a difficult decision, but you will find all the information you need in this guide.

It doesn’t matter if you own one of the most powerful MacBooks or Macs, the best iPhone or iPad, it can be a challenge to decide whether to purchase AppleCare. Apple products have a limited warranty of one year that covers manufacturing defects and hardware failures. But what happens if your device fails after twelve months?

It is easy to remember times when you didn’t buy the insurance and regret it later. However, choosing AppleCare can be more difficult than other products, as most Apple computers are generally the same.

It’s crucial to understand AppleCare if you just bought the best iPad or any other Apple product. This guide will explain everything you need about AppleCare. It includes what it covers, how much it costs, whether repairs are covered or not, and the differences between AppleCare+. We also discuss the pros and cons of AppleCare. Let’s take another look.

AppleCare vs. AppleCare+ vs. AppleCare Protection Plan

AppleCare coverage is automatically included on all Apple devices purchased through its website or any authorized retailer. The exact terms of AppleCare coverage vary by country and device type, but the following summarizes the basics:

  • 90 days of “complimentary technical assistance.” You get priority access to technical support for hardware and software issues for three months. Unlimited repairs are available for any non-accidental damage, or hardware failures that Apple causes.
  • One-year limited warranty. While this does not guarantee priority phone support, it will continue to cover hardware defects and failures that you did not cause. This doesn’t cover accidental damage or cosmetic, third-party device damage or theft.

AppleCare+ provides more coverage and longer service. You can only buy AppleCare+ after 60 days from the date you purchased your device. You will not be able to extend your warranty after that and you will need to pay for repairs out of pocket.

AppleCare+ extends your device’s warranty to three years after you purchase the insurance. For the best coverage, you can use the free coverage for 59 days, then purchase AppleCare+ for three years and two more months.

AppleCare+ is a lifesaver, but it does offer better protection than the free plan if you purchase it from day one. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss is also available, but it’s only for iPhones. It costs more. Below are the additional features of AppleCare+.

  • A 3-year limited warranty (or 2-years in some cases) to repair your screens, displays and batteries (if they retain less than 80 percent of their charge), accessories and other damaged parts
  • Two accidental damage coverage’ incidents per any 12 month period for a small deduct
  • Multiple repair options are available: Same-day Carry-in, Mail-in with an prepaid, overnight delivery package; or On-Site Repairs at Your Home or Office (may be limited by COVID-19).
  • (iPhones only). A temporary, replacement phone will be sent to you before your unit is returned.
  • (Theft and loss only) Covers 2 thefts and the loss of devices within a 12-month period with a deductible. You must activate Find My Phone to receive the new phone

AppleCare Protection Plan is an additional type of coverage. The plan provides a limited warranty, but does not cover AppleCare+ exclusive features such as accident protection. This plan was once an alternative to AppleCare+ but is currently only available for the Apple TV4K box.

How much does AppleCare+ cost?

Consider whether AppleCare+ is worth it. Do you want to buy it upfront? Or monthly ? What about the deductible for repairs? These numbers will vary depending on the type of repair and device. We’ll break them down into categories.

Apple US only offers monthly AppleCare pricing and Theft & Loss plans.

AppleCare+ iPhones will cost you $29 / PS25 / AU$45 deductible to screen damage, $99 / AU$149 to cover ‘any other accidental damage’, and $149 (US) for theft or loss.

Screen repair is not covered by warranty. Prices vary depending on the size of the phone. The iPhone 12 Pro max costs $329/PS317/AU$519 and the iPhone SE costs $129/PS137/AU$219 (opens in new window)). If your phone is stolen, you will need to purchase a new one.

AppleCare also includes battery replacements at no cost. iPhone Xs and later are out of warranty at $69 / PlayStation69 / AU$109. Older iPhones are $49 / PlayStation49 / AU$79.

For the current iPhones, here are the prices for AppleCare+.

  • iPhone 12 Pro/ iPhone 12 Pro max:$199/PS199 / AU$269 / $9.99/month
  • iPhone 12 Pro/ iPhone 12 Pro max (Theft and Loss):$269 / $13.49/month
  • iPhone XR/ iPhone 11/ iPhone 12/ iPhone 12/ iPhone 12Mini: $149 / PlayStation149 / AU$199 / $7.99/month
  • iPhone XR/ iPhone 11/ iPhone 12/ iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone SE $79/PS79 / AU$129 / $3.99/month
  • iPhone SE (Theft and Loss): $149 / $7/99/month

Unsurprisingly, AppleCare+ subscriptions for Macbooks and iMacs are the most expensive.

AppleCare+ for desktops and laptops costs $99 / PS79 / AU$149 to repair screen or external enclosure damage, or $299 / PlayStation229 / AU$429 to repair ‘other damage’. We can’t provide an exact estimate because we don’t have coverage. However, repairing a keyboard or display would likely cost twice or three times the AppleCare deductible depending on how severe the damage is. Apple offers free battery replacements within its warranty, but you will be charged $129-199 / Ps129-199 / AU$189-299 for any other repairs.

AppleCare+ iPad covers damage to the iPad’s keyboard accessory and Apple Pencil. The iPad’s repair costs are $49 / AU$65 per each or $29 / 35 / AU$45 each for accessories. You will need to pay an out-of-warranty for iPad screen repairs. These costs can be found here.

Concerning the AppleCare+ price,

  • iPad Pro$129/PS129 / AU$199 / $5.99/month
  • iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iPad Air:$69 / AU$99 / $3.49/month

Apple Watch pricing for outside-of-warranty repairs can be similarly high than AppleCare+ prices. The Apple Support Page (opens new tab) clearly shows. For a Series 3 screen replacement, you’ll be charged $159 / AU$239 or $800 / AU$1299. You can also pay an additional fee for watches with cellular integrationj.

You pay $79 / PS89 / AU$129 up front or $3.99/month to subscribe to Series 6 AppleCare+. Plus $69 / PlayStation49 / AU$99 for screen repairs. The Series 3 or SE is even cheaper at $49 / PS59 / AU$79 upfront, or $2.49/month with the same deductible. AppleCare+ watches battery repairs are free or $79/PS82/AU$119 otherwise.

Apple TV and AirPods, which are audio or video AppleCare+ products, only have two years of coverage. However, they cost less. Below are the upfront pricing details and per-repair cost estimates.

  • Apple TV 4K and HD: $29
  • AirPods Pro or AirPods: $29/PS29/AU$49 (2-years); $29/PS25/AU$45 for repair
  • AirPods Max $59/PS49 /AU$79 (2-years); $29/PS25 /AU$45 Per Repair
  • HomePod $39/PS39 /AU$59 (2 year); $39/PS29 /AU$55 per Repair
  • HomePod Mini $15/PS15 /AU$19 (2 year); $15/PS15 /AU$19 for repair
  • iPod Touch$59/PS49 /AU$89 (2-years); $29/PS25 /AU$45 for repair

Is AppleCare+ worth it?

You can perform a cost-benefit analysis by using the prices shown above. It all depends on how frequently you plan to use AppleCare+.

The iPhone SE is an example. The iPhone SE has an out-of-warranty screen replacement cost of $129 / PS137 / AU$219 while AppleCare+ plus a repair deductible is $108 / PlayStation104 / AU$174. This difference is so small that you might have to pay an additional $21/PS33/AU$45 if you don’t need repairs. If your screen breaks twice in three years, the cost of repairs is $137 / PS129 / AU$219 versus $258 / PlayStation274 / AU$438.

You can also look at the iPad Pro. $129 / PlayStation129 / AU$199 up front plus $49 / Ps39 / AU$65 to replace a damaged screen. This is a great deal compared with $649 / Ps616 / AU$1079 making it affordable even for one incident. An iPad that is kept at home is more likely to be damaged than one you take with you out in the world.

It is possible to pay monthly for an iPhone or iPad in the US. It isn’t cost-effective because you will have to pay as much as the initial cost for 36 months within 20 months.

You need to be open-minded about which device you are thinking of insuring. Apple products can be expensive enough. A subscription could help you upgrade to better features. It takes just one unfortunate accident to make you regret your decision.

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