What is AppleCare+?
Most iPhone owners know what AppleCare+ is and how it works. For those who don’t, AppleCare+ can help users pay considerably less for repairs of the Apple devices in the event of an accident, far less than a similar repair if AppleCare wasn’t purchased beforehand.
For example, if an Apple Watch screen somehow gets cracked or accidentally damaged, it will cost $299 to repair, roughly 75percent of the value of the Watch itself. With AppleCare+, you’re covered for up to two incidents of accidental damage, and you’ll only have to pay $69 instead of $299 for each.
Now you might think “there’s no way I’ll damage my Apple Watch,” but people still end up needing to have their wearable devices repaired by Apple.
Let’s say you have a stainless steel Apple Watch Series 4 with LTE. The price of repair is still only $69 with AppleCare+, meanwhile the out-of-warranty price rises to a massive $399 to repair. If you own the Hermes edition, AppleCare+ is $20 more expensive, but that makes sense because it starts at $1,399.
Apple does provide a one-year limited warranty, but that only covers manufacturer defects and not accidental damage. If the screen cracks, you are out of luck and have to pay the full cost of repair. It’s a similar story for iPhones, with a cracked screen repair for the iPhone XS Max costing $329 without AppleCare+, while it is $29 for each of two accidents under Apple’s plan.
You may be thinking you could simply get an aftermarket display for $30 and it’ll be good as new. Take it from anyone who has gone down that route, that the quality sucks and it’s incredibly easy to crack the display again after this sort of repair.
Back Glass and Personal Lessons
The real value of AppleCare+ for new iPhones lies with the back glass, as it is counted as “other damage” by Apple. Break the back glass of the iPhone XS Max and it will cost $599 for repair through Apple if you don’t have AppleCare+, over half the price of the device, compared to $99 if you do.
The worst part is that it’s almost impossible to repair this on your own without damaging your phone. As someone who has accidentally cracked the back glass on their iPhone 8 Plus without having AppleCare+ coverage, I can confirm this can be expensive.
T-Mobile’s Jump On Demand plan requires your iPhone to be in good condition in order to trade it in for a new device, and I obviously wasn’t going to pay $400 to get the back fixed and then trade in the phone for next to nothing. I ended up paying the remaining $475 balance to buy out the phone, and I was barely able to sell it used on craigslist for $400. So I lost $75 in the end, and that’s excluding all of the monthly payments I made in to the plan.
This time around, I went with Apple’s iPhone upgrade program, which includes AppleCare+ coverage, for both my wife and I.
All in all, Apple’s new monthly payments option makes it a lot easier to get AppleCare+ coverage for any new iPhone or Apple Watch. Considering the insanely high cost for back glass repairs on new iPhones, AppleCare+ coverage is more worth it than it ever has before.
On top of that, $4 or $5 a month more for theft and loss protection is a no-brainer for anyone with a history of losing their phones. If you’re getting AppleCare+, adding Theft and Loss is highly advisable, unless you are completely certain you won’t misplace your phone or have it stolen from your possession.