Everything you need to know about AppleCare+
Susie Ochs reveals what AppleCare+ costs, what it covers, and answers all your other questions
Your Apple gear wasn’t cheap. And if you drop your iPhone, your iPad stops turning on one day, or your Mac’s hard drive just ups and dies on you, getting it repaired probably won’t be cheap either.
Apple includes a one-year limited warranty with all hardware so if there’s a manufacturing defect, you’ll be covered. To also protect against
accidental damage, plus extend the original warranty for longer and enjoy free tech support, you can opt to purchase AppleCare+. Here’s what it is, what it covers, and what you can expect to pay. Is AppleCare+ worth it? Only you can decide for your own situation, but this should be everything you need to know to make a smart choice.
What is AppleCare+?
AppleCare+ is Apple’s term for its warranty programmes. Every Apple device comes with a certain stretch of AppleCare+ warranty service and phone/chat support for free, typically one year for the warranty and 90 days of phone support. You can pay to extend that protection for longer, which is called AppleCare+.
Do I have to buy AppleCare+ at the same time as the product?
No. If you know you want it, buying AppleCare+ with the product is a good idea,. When you’re shopping at the Apple store or apple.com/uk, you’ll be offered AppleCare+ at checkout, and authorized Apple resellers can offer AppleCare+ too.
But you have some time. Generally you get 60 days from the purchase date to buy AppleCare+ (only 30 days if you’re in Japan), and Apple has a page where you can check your exact device’s eligibility.
Still, to buy AppleCare+ after the fact you generally have to run a diagnostic test on the device in question, so Apple knows it’s in good
working order. And no matter when you buy your AppleCare+ plan, the coverage starts from the day you bought your device. So you don’t get an ‘extra’ two months of coverage if you wait two months to buy the plan.
How do I buy AppleCare+ for products I didn’t buy directly from Apple?
The easiest way is online. Apple’s site has a page to Check Your Service and Support Coverage. Enter your device’s serial number here, and it’ll tell you if you can still buy AppleCare+ and walk you through the process of purchasing and registering your plan.
Keep in mind that buying an AppleCare+ plan after the fact often means you have to complete a diagnostic test on the device. After all, Apple has to make sure you’re not trying to buy coverage on
a device that’s already broken. So do it right away, just in case.
Can you buy AppleCare+ for refurbished products?
Yes. Apple offers a range of refurbished items on its website, and they’re all backed by the same oneyear warranty as new products. Plus, you can buy AppleCare+ for a refurbished item just as you can with a new one.
How do I check how much time is left on my AppleCare plan?
Head to Apple’s Check Your Service and Support Coverage page (fave.co/2qFWkrb), and enter your device’s serial number. You’ll find out how much time you have left on your AppleCare plan, and if you can still buy AppleCare+ for this device.
If there’s no Apple store near me, is AppleCare+ a bad idea?
No, you can still use AppleCare+ if you can’t make it to the Apple store. You have several options.
Apple retail stores. If you can get to an Apple store, you can even make a reservation for AppleCare+ service.
Drop off at the Post Office. Apple can provide you with a Repair ID number for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod needing service, and you can take it to any Post Office, which will ship the device to Apple at no cost
to you. When Apple finishes the repair, you get the device back in the mail, again with no shipping fee.
DIY. If the problem is relatively small, Apple can sometimes just send you a part, such as a new iPhone charger or Apple TV remote.
How am I supposed to survive without my device while Apple is repairing it?
Apple offers an Express Replacement Service for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. When you use Express Replacement, Apple goes ahead and sends you a new device right away, and you don’t have to post your broken device until you receive it.
Conditions apply, but ask Apple about it when you contact it and it can let you know if you qualify.
What if I sell the product before AppleCare+ runs out?
AppleCare+ is transferable. If you’re selling an Apple product before the included AppleCare+ plan expires, the buyer gets the remaining protection.
If you buy an extended AppleCare+ plan and then sell the product, the remaining time left in the AppleCare+ goes along with it. So AppleCare+ can be a selling point when you’re unloading your used devices on the secondary market.
To transfer an AppleCare plan, you have to provide the buyer with your proof of purchase (receipt), the plan confirmation and contract, and also notify Apple by email, fax, or post. Apple needs to know the plan’s agreement number, the device’s serial number, and the new owner’s contact info. Full details are in the terms and conditions.
If it’s within 30 days of purchasing the plan, you’ll get a full refund minus any service you received. Outside of 30 days, you’ll get a prorated refund, minus any service, minus a fee of £25 or 10 percent of the prorated refund, whichever is less.
AppleCare+ for Macs
Mac mini: £99 iMac: £189
iMac Pro: £189
Mac Pro: £229
MacBook Air: £229
13in MacBook Pro: £249
15in MacBook Pro: £399
The plan extends the original warranty from one year to three years, which covers you for defects that aren’t your fault. Phone and chat support is extended from 90 days to three years as well.
AppleCare+ for Macs also includes two incidents of accidental damage for a lower service fee than you would pay for an out-of-warranty repair. If you
damage just the screen or the Mac’s enclosure, it’s £79, and all other damage is £229. For Macs, your computer is covered, plus the battery, power adapter and other included accessories, RAM, AirPort, and even Apple’s USB SuperDrive.
What not covered
It doesn’t cover loss or theft.
For Macs, AppleCare+ makes more sense if you’re buying a laptop and you’re worried about the screen, or you just tend to be rough on your computers. Desktop Macs probably aren’t as important to cover, since the likelihood of, say, dropping one is a lot less. Still, Macs have a long life, so you may decide three years of (transferable) protection is worth the extra cost.
AppleCare+ for iPhone
Price iPhone 7 and 8: £129 iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus: £149 for AppleCare+ iPhone XS and XS Max: £199 for AppleCare+ iPhone XR: £149 for AppleCare+
All AppleCare+ plans for iPhone include two years of coverage and tech support.
For the iPhone, AppleCare+ extends your warranty coverage from one year to two, and extends phone
and chat support from 90 days to the full two years as well.
You also get up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage for a relatively low service fee. If you’ve only damaged the screen, a screen replacement is only £25. But if the iPhone has other damage, the fee is £79. iPhones are eligible for the Express Replacement Service, letting you request a replacement device in the post before you send your original damaged device in for repair.
So let’s say you drop your iPhone on the corner, which breaks the screen but also dents the enclosure enough that Apple can’t fix just the screen – that’s a £79 repair. If the screen shatters but the rest of the phone is relatively unscathed, £25.
The warranty against defects covers the phone as well as the battery and the included headphones and accessories. Accidental damage can include almost anything, such as water damage, drops, running the thing over, your child pours paint into the Lightning port – as long as you only have two incidents (or less) in the two-year coverage period.
If you’re going to buy AppleCare+ on anything, it’s probably going to be your iPhone. But it’s not always a slam dunk. For example, I broke my iPhone 7 screen, and Apple was able to do a same-day screen replacement at the Apple store. I don’t have AppleCare+, so Apple charged me the ‘full’ price for the screen repair, which was £129. But if I’d
paid £129 for AppleCare+ ahead of time, the repair would cost me £25. That means I actually paid less for the screen repair out of warranty. But if I broke the same iPhone again within the two years, the second £25 screen repair would put me way ahead.
Really it depends on how careful you are with your iPhone. Do you use a case? Avoid action sports? Rarely drop your phone? Or are you a total klutz who’s broken every phone you’ve ever owned? Be honest with yourself and proceed accordingly.
AppleCare+ for iPad
Price iPad Pro: £129 iPad and iPad mini 4: £69
AppleCare+ extends an iPad’s hardware warranty from one year to two. Tech support is extended from 90 days to two years, so you can call or chat with an Apple rep to get help with iOS, iCloud, and Apple apps. You also get two incidents of accidental damage coverage, with a service fee of £39 for a broken screen. AppleCare+ covers the iPad as well as its battery and included accessories such as the power brick.
This answer might hinge on how you use your iPad. My iPad, for example, almost never leaves my house – but I also share it with a six-year-old who doesn’t always treat it like an expensive and fragile device.
Still, our iPad is mostly for entertainment, so I’m living (dangerously?) without AppleCare+. On the other hand, if I was a road warrior with an iPad Pro that I relied on every day to make my living, I’d be more likely to shell out the £99 for AppleCare+, which, again, is cheaper than AppleCare+ for most iPhones or any Macs.
AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Price
Apple Watch Series 3: £59
Apple Watch Hermès: £109
Apple Watch Nike+: £89
Apple Watch Series 4: £89
All Apple Watches are eligible for Express Replacement Service, so you aren’t without an Apple Watch while you wait for your repair. The plan covers the watch, its battery, the magnetic charging cable, and the power adaptor. Apple Watch Editions came with a fancy magnetic charging dock that’s also covered.
AppleCare+ for all Apple Watches covers up to two incidents of accidental damage. The service fees are £49 for regular and Nike+ models, and £55 for Edition and Hermès models.
It’s pretty difficult to get an Apple Watch repaired anywhere but the Apple store, as we found out. The Apple Watch is designed to be tough, so most users
hopefully shouldn’t have problems. But if you’re paranoid or accident prone, or you just love the idea of Express Replacement Service so you never miss a step, AppleCare+ is there.
AppleCare + for Apple TV Price £26 What’s covered?
The Apple TV itself, the Siri Remote, and even the Apple AirPort router you use with it, if you bought it within two years of the Apple TV. Tech support by phone or chat includes help with setup,
connecting to Wi-Fi, iCloud, renting or buying from iTunes, AirPlay, and even connecting to third-party streaming services.
What doesn’t it cover?
Loss and theft, including losing the remote. (But if the remote stops working, that’s covered.) There’s also no coverage for accidental damage (spills, drops, earthquakes, fires) or cosmetic damage. But it’s an Apple TV. It just sits there.
It’s not worth getting unless you really want the tech support.
Refurbished products are also covered by AppleCare+
You don’t need to live near an Apple store to benefit from AppleCare+
It’s well worth having AppleCare+ if you take your Mac on the road with you
AppleCare+ will cover you if you accidentally damage your iPhone
AppleCare+ extends an iPad’s hardware warranty from one year to two
It’s pretty difficult to get an Apple Watch repaired anywhere but the Apple store