Is AppleCare+ Really Worth It?

For the most part, Apple and the right-to-repair movement don’t see eye-to-eye. That means that if you break or damage components of your iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, or other Apple product, you need to send in or physically take the device to an Apple Store or approved shop to avoid breaking your warranty—and that can really add up.

Here’s a definitive list of all of Apple’s extended warranties, what’s included, and whether or not you should bite the bullet and tack on the additional expense when you buy a new piece of hardware.

Keep in mind, most of these packages allow you to add AppleCare+ after the point-of-purchase for 90 days, or in some cases 12 months. Just note that you’ll have to include proof-of-purchase and run remote diagnostic tests to prove that your device is already in working order.

iPhone

Out of your arsenal of Apple products, your iPhone is, no doubt, the most used and the most vulnerable to damage. After all, you take it to work, the gym, the grocery store—everywhere. Even with the best drop-proof case, you still might see a hairline fracture here and there. It’s made of glass, come on. And after #BatteryGate, you probably have trust issues.

What do I get? Depending on the model of iPhone, there are different AppleCare+ for iPhone offerings. Here’s the pricing scheme:

  • iPhone 7/8: $129 for AppleCare+, $199 for AppleCare+ with theft and loss coverage
  • iPhone 7+/8+/11/XR: $149 for AppleCare+, $249 for AppleCare+ with theft and loss coverage
  • iPhone XS/XS Max/11 Pro/11 Pro Max: $199 for AppleCare+, $299 for AppleCare+ with theft and loss coverage

In each case, the device comes with a one-year limited warranty, including hardware repair coverage, plus 90 days of technical support. AppleCare+ extends this to 24 months after your purchase date and includes Express Replacement Service, which means Apple will send you a replacement iPhone before you send your own device in for repairs. Plus, you’ll get two incidents of accidental damage coverage, subject to a service fee: $29 plus tax for a broken screen and $99 plus tax for other damages. This covers the phone, battery, included earphones, and accessories that come in the box.

The nice thing about the iPhone’s extended warranty is that you can upgrade to a higher tier that includes theft and loss—which Apple doesn’t include for most other hardware. Be careful: you must have the Find My app switched on at the time of loss. Replacements are subject to the following service fees:

  • $199.00 for iPhone 8, iPhone 7
  • $229.00 for iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus
  • $269.00 for iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max

The verdict: Worth it. You probably want to keep your iPhone for at least two years. There’s an uncomfortably high chance that you could damage the phone by dropping it in the toilet, running it over, or dropping it on concrete. If you have a habit of straight-up losing your phone, even more reason to purchase an AppleCare+ plan for your device.

Mac

Whether you own a MacBook or a desktop Mac, Apple’s line of computers are the most expensive hardware that you can buy from the tech giant. The more common devices, like the new Macbook Air, cost $999, while a Mac Pro starts at a staggering $5,999.

What do I get? Each Mac automatically comes with one year of hardware repair coverage and 90 days of complimentary technical support. AppleCare+ for Mac extends this to three years from the purchase date and includes coverage for two incidents of accidental damage, plus a service fee of $99 for screen damage or external damage and $299 for other damages, plus tax. This covers the computer, the battery, accessories like the power adapter, memory (RAM), AirPort, and Apple USB SuperDrive.

Here’s the price schedule for each model. If you don’t add coverage at the time of purchase, you have 60 days thereafter to do so:

  • Mac mini: $99
  • iMac: $169
  • iMac Pro: $169
  • Mac Pro: $299
  • MacBook: $249
  • MacBook Air: $249
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro: $269
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro: $379

The verdict: Worth it. Please, don’t tango with destiny. Even if you never take your MacBook outside, assume the worst. I paid $400 for a cracked 13-inch MacBook screen three summers ago when my roommate’s nine-pound cat jumped on my computer. I didn’t have AppleCare+, but this incident alone would have justified the upfront investment.

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