What does Apple's extended AppleCare+ warranty cover, and is it worth it?
What is AppleCare+?
AppleCare+ is a premium support package that gives consumers an additional level of coverage for their Apple devices beyond the "Apple Limited Warranty" that comes with each device and basic consumer warranty rights. AppleCare+ provides customers with priority support and assistance for issues with both hardware and software as well as extended service and cheaper repairs.
What does AppleCare+ cover?
AppleCare+ ramps up the support for the device (or devices) you cover, giving you extended digital and phone support as well as an additional hardware warranty. The length of AppleCare+ support varies depending on the device and is calculated based on the date you purchased your device, not when you purchased AppleCare+.
|AppleCare+ Type||Support Length|
|AppleCare+ for Mac||3 years|
|AppleCare+ for iPhone||2 years|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch||2 years|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Hermès||3 years|
|AppleCare+ for Apple TV||2 years|
|AppleCare+ for HomePod||2 years|
|AppleCare+ for iPad||2 years|
|AppleCare+ for iPod||2 Years|
Additionally, AppleCare+ covers any accidental damage to your device twice, with a service fee charged for each incident (except for the Apple TV, which does not include accidental damage cover at all). In Australia, at least, your AppleCare+ package won't cover you if your device is lost or stolen. If you don't live near an Apple store, that's okay. AppleCare+ customers get free shipping if they need to send their device to Apple.
How much is AppleCare+?
The cost of AppleCare+ varies depending on the product you're looking at and ranges between $35 for the Apple TV to $449 for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Here's a complete list of Australian AppleCare+ pricing for each product category (as of January 2019):
AppleCare+ for iPhone
|AppleCare+ for iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max||$299|
|AppleCare+ for iPhone XR, iPhone 8+, or iPhone 7+||$229|
|AppleCare+ for iPhone 8 or iPhone 7||$189|
|AppleCare+ for iPhone SE||$129|
AppleCare+ for Mac
|AppleCare+ for iMac||$199|
|AppleCare+ for Mac Mini||$119|
|AppleCare+ for 13-inch MacBook Pro||$329|
|AppleCare+ for MacBook/MacBook Air||$229|
|AppleCare+ for 15-inch MacBook Pro||$449|
|AppleCare+ for Mac Pro||$299|
AppleCare+ for iPad/iPod
|AppleCare+ for iPad/iPad Mini||$99|
|AppleCare+ for iPad Pro||$179|
|AppleCare+ for iPod Touch||$89|
AppleCare+ for Apple Watch
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Hermès||$159|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Series 3||$79|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Series 4||$129|
AppleCare+ for Apple Home Devices
|AppleCare+ for HomePod||$59|
|AppleCare+ for Apple TV||$35|
Should I buy AppleCare+?
If you're a bit clumsy and have been known to damage your expensive devices, grabbing AppleCare+ might not be a bad idea. An iPhone XS Max user who accidentally cracked their screen would save $174.951 on the first screen replacement, compared to Apple's full-price charge (a second cracked screen would cost $45 to replace with AppleCare+). If you're usually pretty good at keeping your devices out of harm's way and keep them well protected, spending up to $449 might be a tad excessive, so maybe hold on to your hard-earned dosh.
How can I buy AppleCare+?
You can buy AppleCare+ protection online, in-store or over the phone for your new device. You're only able to purchase AppleCare+ within 60 days of your purchase. The one exception being the Apple TV, which allows you to purchase AppleCare+ while your product is still covered under the "standard one-year limited warranty". You can check if your Apple product is eligible here.
AppleCare+ and the law
If you've got an Apple product that experiences a "major failure", you can request a replacement or a refund for your product under Australian Consumer Law, even if you do not purchase AppleCare+. Under statutory warranty rules, you're still entitled to repairs or replacements for devices with smaller faults that don't meet the "major failure" criteria, too.
Australian Consumer Law won't help if you or anyone else is responsible for causing the damage, but AppleCare+ does cover two instances of accidental damage in all of its plans except for Apple TV.
The benefits you get from AppleCare+ " are in addition to any legal rights provided by Australian consumer law."
Are there other options?
If you don't want to pay the hefty premium for an AppleCare+ purchase, there are other ways you can protect or cover yourself against damage to the device. For the most part, these alternatives to AppleCare+ are for its portable devices, but some might help you protect your costly Mac Pros too.
Get a strong, sturdy case and screen protector
iPhone cases can offer good protection against accidental damage from falls, and screen protectors can prevent scuffs and scratches from damaging your screen. If you're not willing to settle for a case, you could get a skin from a site like dbrand. A skin can prevent scratches on your devices (including Macs) and protect that shiny glass on the back of newer iPhones.
Insure your devices
You might be able to get insurance to protect your iPhone and other products for cheaper than AppleCare+, even with accidental damage included. You might be able to get insurance through your telco, too.
Some credit cards even offer smartphone screen insurance, so if you're looking at AppleCare+ just for the screen repairs, these might suit you better.
Warranty while on contract
If you got your phone on contract, your telco should be able to assist you in getting a repair or replacement while the contract is still valid as long as the device suffered a fault or malfunction while under normal use.
Can I get a refund for AppleCare+?
If you paid upfront for AppleCare+, you can get a refund if you no longer require or want the coverage. If you cancel AppleCare+ within 30 days of purchasing or receiving the plan (whichever occurs later), Apple will refund you the full cost minus any benefits you redeemed under the plan. If you cancel more than 30 days later, you'll receive a "pro-rata" refund, meaning that what you get back depends on how much longer your plan has to go. This is subject to local laws.
1. Out-of-warranty screen repairs for the iPhone XS Max from Apple cost AUD$518.95, as of 4 January 2019. Total saved calculated through out-of-warranty repair cost - AppleCare+ cost and the $45 service fee. Does not include shipping fees that may be present without AppleCare+.