AppleCare+ Guide—What Does the Apple Warranty Cover?

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If you make most of your iPhone purchases at a big box retailer or a carrier store, then you might not have even heard of AppleCare+. If you’re a frequent visitor of brick and mortar Apple retail stores, then you’ve definitely heard of the product. Like any in-house extended warranty, Apple salespeople are constantly hocking AppleCare+. But is the service worth it? Or is it simply that the Apple salesperson is feeling pressure to meet their weekly warranty sales quota?

To put it simply, AppleCare+ is Apple’s version of an extended warranty plan. While anything described as an “extended warranty” may throw out a red flag for many folks, there are some credible perks to investing in Apple’s warranty, provided you understand what it can and cannot do for you.

What is AppleCare+?

Applecare Warranty

Any time you buy an iPhone in the United States, Apple includes a one-year limited warranty and 90 days of technical support. However, after that one-year mark, you’re completely out of luck if you need to head to the Apple Store for a repair on your iPhone. Moreover, you’ll lose the ability to receive “complementary support” from Apple after just 90 days.

What is defined as complementary support by Apple?

Straight from Apple’s website, they define complimentary support as:

Complimentary hardware support provides telephone support for basic setup, installation, assembly, and connectivity. See the support-related materials included with your Apple product for more information.

Complimentary software support provides telephone support for installation, launch, or reinstallation (not including data recovery) when your hardware configuration meets the minimum system requirements for the software. See the support-related materials included with your Apple product for more information.

The website goes even further by defining a “support incident”:

Apple defines a support incident as a specific, discrete issue that can be addressed by isolating its origin to a single cause. Apple, in its sole discretion, will determine what constitutes a support incident. A support incident has reached resolution when the customer receives one of the following:

  • Information that resolves the issue
  • Information on how to obtain a software solution that will resolve the issue
  • Notice that the issue is caused by a known, unresolved issue or an incompatibility issue with the supported product
  • Information that identifies the issue as being resolved by upgrading to a newer release of the supported product
  • Notice that the issue has been identified as a hardware equipment issue
  • Information that isolates issue to a third-party product, not supported by Apple

With so much nitpicking, it makes sense for Apple users to invest in an extended warranty—who wants to split hairs over what is or is not support after just 90 days of owning one of their products?

What Can AppleCare+ Do for Me?

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AppleCare+ benefits

AppleCare+ is a legitimate way to extend the liability throughout the life of your iPhone. After all, many of us are ready to throw in the towel after about 2 years of owning a particular iPhone. The 2-year mark is a great time to upgrade and that’s exactly when AppleCare+ support ends.

And while you’re under the umbrella of AppleCare+ you can completely replace your phone or have it repaired for a highly subsidized price. Recently, Apple has unveiled two types of AppleCare+, both with their own advantages.

AppleCare+

With the standard AppleCare+ you can replace your iPhone screen for just $29.00 or completely replace your iPhone (up to two times) for only $99.00. However, if you lose your iPhone or it’s stolen, the standard AppleCare+ will not be able to help you. Luckily, there’s a second option to choose from.

AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss Deductibles

With this option, you get all of the same perks as AppleCare+ with one bonus; the ability to receive a brand new iPhone in the event that your previous iPhone is lost or stolen. While the replacement price is subsidized, it’s not exactly cheap:

  • $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

While these prices aren’t exactly “free” they’re still way better than the full retail cost of a brand new iPhone! Depending on your habits (do you often leave your iPhone unattended?) you may want to invest in this option.

Of course, AppleCare+ offers you unlimited, 24/7 chat and phone support for people that need some troubleshooting but can’t make it into a physical store. For less technical people, this is a huge asset to have access to.

How do I Buy AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ can be purchased at the time of the purchase of your new iPhone, or within 60 days of purchasing the aforementioned iPhone. You can even buy the product online via their store. Better yet, you can buy it from your brand new iPhone:

How to Buy Applecare
  1. Navigate to Settings
  2. Tap on “General”
  3. Navigate to and tap on “About”
  4. Tap on “AppleCare+ Coverage Available”

Unfortunately, after 60 days you are no longer eligible to purchase the warranty. Also, bear in mind if you attempt to purchase AppleCare+ in a retail store after-the-fact, the salesperson will need a proof-of-purchase as well as an inspection of your device to ensure it’s in good cosmetic condition.

Frequently Asked Questions About AppleCare+

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How Much Does AppleCare+ Cost?

Apple charges a monthly fee for AppleCare+ and the monthly cost varies based on the model of iPhone you’re covering. The cheapest price is $5.99 per month and it can go up to $14.99. The rule of thumb is; the nicer your iPhone, the more you’ll pay per month for AppleCare+.

Can I Buy AppleCare+ for an iPhone I Didn’t Buy Through Apple?

Yes—no matter where you bought your iPhone and as long as it fits the criteria laid out in AppleCare+’s eligibility guidelines then you can buy Apple’s extended warranty either in-store, online, or via your iPhone. You have 60 days after the original purchase date of your phone to make the purchase.

What if I Bought My iPhone Refurbished—is AppleCare+ Still Offered?

If you buy a certified refurbished iPhone through Apple then you qualify for AppleCare+ just as you would if you bought a brand new iPhone.

Is there an Upfront Cost (like a deposit) for AppleCare+?

While AppleCare+ used to be a product that you purchased, upfront, for a one-time flat fee, Apple has recently changed its pricing model to be monthly. That means there is no upfront cost—you’ll be billed for the warranty at the end of every month.

Should I Bother with AppleCare+ if I Don’t have an Apple Store Nearby?

It stands to reason that, if you do not live near an Apple Store, that something like AppleCare+ might be a waste of money. On the contrary—Apple offers robust phone support as well as mail-in repairs. Apple will even expedite you a replacement iPhone should you need to send yours in for repair—they’ll repair your old iPhone to sell it refurbished while you get a new iPhone in return. It can’t get any more straightforward than that.

Can I Cancel AppleCare+ if I Get Buyer’s Remorse?

If you cancel your AppleCare+ plan within 30 days of purchasing the warranty then Apple will provide you with a complete refund, remitting any service (if any) you’ve received in the meantime. So, if you bought the warranty, never used it, and opt to return it within 30 days then you’ll get all of your money back. However, if you want a refund on the warranty after 30 days and you’ve used the service previously then you’ll receive a prorated refund. It’s best to call Apple directly to see exactly how they calculate their partial refunds via 1-800-MY-APPLE.

Is AppleCare+ Worth it?

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Whether or not AppleCare+ is worth the expense is entirely up to you. After all, the cheapest option is to not buy the extra coverage and never damage your iPhone. But we all know that’s easier said than done. However, even if you get a one-off screen replacement out-of-warranty for, say $129.00, that’s still a bit cheaper than AppleCare+ coverage after you’ve paid for a few months of the warranty.

At the end of the day, you need to weigh your options and come to terms with how you typically use your iPhone. Are you hard on it? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably going to want to splurge on the extended warranty. If you’ve never broken an iPhone and simply don’t have the extra money, then you should think hard about what AppleCare+ can do for you.

To put it simply, AppleCare+ is peace of mind from damage. If you don’t find much value in that, then you may want to skip the warranty. But if you’re the type to constantly agonize over the state of your iPhone, then it stands to reason that you should invest in AppleCare+ so you have one less thing to worry about!