News: 11 Reasons to Not Skip Out on AppleCare+ When Buying a New iPhone

11 Reasons to Not Skip Out on AppleCare+ When Buying a New iPhone

On the surface, AppleCare+ seems like an expensive and gimmicky option to tack onto your already pricey iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max. Upon further inspection, however, you'll see that its seemingly expensive price tag is chump change compared to the fees you'll have to pay if you end up having to repair your premium device outside its one-year warranty.

As great as the iPhone is at withstanding occasional drops, it's far from indestructible. You may not realize it, but your iPhone is just one impact away from becoming a shattered mess. And with Apple's renewed design philosophy of using metal frames enclosed in glass from the 2017 models onward, the likelihood of damage and expensive repairs have increased substantially.

Because of that, AppleCare+ has become more critical than ever — it gives your device and wallet an added layer of protection in the event your $1,000+ device gets damaged or worse. So if you're still debating about buying AppleCare+ for that iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, or even last year's XS models, keep reading further to learn more why Apple's protection plan is worth purchasing.

Before we delve deeper into AppleCare+, please note that all the prices listed do not include taxes and fees, unless otherwise stated, and are subject to change without notice. Also, if you've purchased a device through the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, AppleCare+ is required on all the devices listed. Finally, all the prices given were sourced from Apple's official site.

1. AppleCare+ Covers Repairs the Warranty Doesn't

If you're new to iPhones and other Apple products, AppleCare+ is a protection plan that goes beyond your iPhone's standard one-year warranty coverage that basically covers defects and is otherwise pretty limited in scope. In fact, physical damage like accidental drops on to either concrete or a puddle aren't covered by the warranty and will incur Apple's standard rates when taken to an Apple location for repairs.

This is where having AppleCare+ comes in handy — sure, it costs extra for the two-year coverage on your iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, or other iPhone model, but you'll have much better support if the unthinkable happens. With AppleCare+, you get a layer of protection on top of your existing warranty, giving you priority access to Apple experts and significant discounts on repairs. The plan offers the following:

  • Apple and Apple-certified hardware coverage including physical damage due to accidents.
  • 24/7 priority access to Apple Support.
  • Software troubleshooting and support.
  • Express Replacement Service.

2. There Are Two AppleCare+ Plans to Choose From

Besides the standard repair and troubleshooting service, AppleCare+ also comes with an optional plan that you can get to protect you and your iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, or other iPhone model against theft and loss. Aptly named AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, the expanded protection plan offers everything the standard AppleCare+ plan (see section 3 below) has but provides a more streamlined service with regards to replacing your device if it ever gets lost or stolen.

Using your carrier's insurance plan can be a straight up hassle, and requires you to fill all the necessary paperwork like police reports to get your claim processed. In comparison, replacing your lost or stolen device with AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss is much more streamlined in comparison, and only requires your handset to have its Find my iPhone feature enabled at the time it was lost or stolen for verification.

Beyond that, you'll also need to erase, disable, and transfer ownership of the lost or stolen iPhone in order to receive a replacement device. Once done, you'll have to wrap up your claim with the insurance company Assurant, which is the same procedure you'd go through if you filed a claim using your carrier's insurance plan.

Keep in mind if you file a claim using your AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss plan to replace your lost or stolen iPhone, you'll still need to pay a deductible to get a replacement device. The deductibles for each iPhone model is as follows:

  • iPhone 7: $199
  • iPhone 7 Plus: $229
  • iPhone 8: $199
  • iPhone 8 Plus: $229
  • iPhone X: $269
  • iPhone XR: $229
  • iPhone XS: $269
  • iPhone XS Max: $269
  • iPhone 11: $229
  • iPhone 11 Pro: $269
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: $269

3. AppleCare+ Can Be the Cheaper Option in the Long Run

AppleCare+ allows you to make up to two service claims a year, which can save you a ton of money if you're in more on the clumsy side when it comes to handling your iPhone.

For example, if you repaired the screen on your iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max twice in one year at $29 each time using your AppleCare+ coverage, it would come up to $257 with the plan's $199 price tag tacked on. In comparison, out of warranty repairs done with Apple will run your $329 for the 11 Max and $279 for the 11 for a single screen repair.

If you go the third-party route, these repair shops will charge you even more for the same service, and can range from $249 to $375 for an iPhone XS Max screen replacement. This will cost you from $498 to $750 if you have to replace your screen twice. Here's the complete pricing for the original AppleCare+ plan, the one without theft and loss protection, irrespective of your carrier and your iPhone's storage capacity:

If shattered screens weren't bad enough, having Apple service a damaged iPhone with more than one broken component can also cost a ton of money if you don't have AppleCare+. If you shatter the screen and the rear glass panel on your iPhone 11 Pro, for instance, Apple will charge you $549 to repair or replace the device, compared to $99 if you have an AppleCare+ plan.

That said, AppleCare+ plan is a must-have if you've had more of your fair share of broken iPhones. If you want a detailed price list for the repair services that Apple charges, tap on the link below to find out more.

4. AppleCare+ Can Be Paid in Installments

If you're unable to pay for either AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss upfront, Apple gives you the option to pay for the protection in monthly installments. Previously, this protection would last for up to 24 months, but in 2019, Apple changed it so you can subscribe to the monthly plan indefinitely.

For Monthly Plans, your Plan Term is one (1) month. Your Plan will automatically renew each month unless cancelled ... including in the event that Apple is no longer able to service your Covered Equipment due to the unavailability of service parts, in which case Apple will provide you with thirty (30) days' prior written notice of cancellation, or as otherwise required by law.

While the new monthly plans can last for the entire length of time that Apple supports the product, the single-pay plan will only be covered for two years. However, Apple may offer a continuation but don't count on it.

For Single-Pay Plans, your Plan Term is two (2) years (or three (3) years for Apple Watch Edition or Hermès). Apple is not obligated to renew your Single-Pay Plan. If Apple does offer to renew, Apple will determine the price and terms.

If you don't plan on keeping your device for longer than two years, note that you'll be paying more when all is said and done due to the taxes and other fees tacked onto each monthly payment. For example, paying the monthly cost of $12.99 for AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss to cover your iPhone 11 will total $311.76 when all is said and done, compared to $229 (plus taxes) if you paid for the plan upfront. Even if taxes came up to 15% ($34.35), paying upfront for the plan will still be cheaper overall and total around $263.35.

For those that plan on keeping the iPhone for a long time, the continuous monthly option is great for making sure your device remains protected three or four years down the line.

  • iPhone 7: $5.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $9.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 7 Plus: $7.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $12.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 8: $5.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $9.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 8 Plus: $7.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $12.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone XR: $7.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $12.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone XS: $9.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $14.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone XS Max: $9.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $14.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 11: $7.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $12.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 11 Pro: $9.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $14.99 a month (Theft and Loss)
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: $9.99 a month (AppleCare+) | $14.99 a month (Theft and Loss)

Note that if you purchased your iPhone using Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, you would only be charged monthly for the total cost of the AppleCare+ plan divided by 24 months, because Apple doesn't charge more each month for AppleCare+ when on the IUP.

AppleCare+ coverage automatically kicks in the day you purchase the plan, which you can opt to buy for up to 60 days after you acquire your iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, or other iPhone model. So if you bought your iPhone on December 1, you have up until January 30 to purchase AppleCare+ to protect it further. If you preordered your iPhone along with AppleCare+, the plan activates once you receive the device.

5. Third-Party Repairs Can Cause More Issues Down the Road

Without a doubt, repairing your iPhone at your neighborhood repair shop has its benefits, such as faster turnaround times and walk-in service without the need to schedule a consultation. Apple, on the other hand, is more methodical with servicing your iPhone and requires you to first start a service request and make an appointment beforehand.

However, you might want to reconsider before getting your iPhone repaired by a third-party technician, as these can cause headaches for you in the long run. In fact, the latest disaster to hit iPhones repaired via unauthorized vendors came in the form devices repaired using third-party screens that lost touch functionality after updating to iOS 11.3 ( with many reporting the issue as far back as iOS 11).

A third-party screen assembly for the iPhone 6S.

As it turns out, iOS 11 deemed third-party displays incompatible, resulting in the touchscreen failing to register touches. Apple has since patched this issue with iOS 11.3.1, though it remains a valuable lesson to let only Apple and Apple-authorized vendors repair your broken iPhone to ensure smooth sailing even long after its fixed.

6. Turnaround Times for Repairs Will Be Faster

Apple is notorious for having exceedingly long turnaround times for repairs it performs, and it's not unheard of for people to wait for hours on end while their device gets serviced. Thankfully, Apple has implemented a change to the way it performs diagnostics and repair which is sure to reduce turnaround times significantly.

In the past, Apple and Apple authorized service centers needed bulky electronic equipment to perform diagnostics on newly-repaired iPhones to check for full functionality before returning them to customers. 3D Touch (available on the iPhone 6S on up, minus the iPhone XR, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max), in particular, relied on the calibration hardware to ensure it worked perfectly, which resulted in longer repair times.

Fortunately, Apple has ditched the expensive hardware its depended on for all these years for a more streamlined software-based diagnostic tool to properly calibrate sensitive components like Touch ID and will not only bring down prices but also streamline repairs for faster turnaround times. According to iMore, Apple recently made an official announcement to its service centers stating:

Apple is excited to announce that we have optimized iPhone display calibration to support your work in conducting an in store display repair.

Beginning September 17, 3D Touch Calibration Fixtures will no longer be required to complete display repairs for iPhone 6S and later. We have optimized the calibration process using software. This means we can now calibrate a repaired iPhone by simply connecting the device to (redacted) running our calibration and diagnostics, without the need to run it through a separate ?xture......Most importantly it will save time for you and our customers.

7. You Don't Have to Go to Apple to Purchase AppleCare+

You don't need to go to an Apple Store to get the plan, and can do it either online or over the phone. To purchase AppleCare+ using either methods, you'll need to let Apple run remote diagnostics on your iPhone to make sure that it works as it should. In addition, you'll also need to provide either your iPhone's serial number or proof of purchase for verification purposes.

8. You May Still Get AppleCare+ if Your iPhone Is Broken

As sketchy as this sounds, it's still worth mentioning that there might still be a chance for you to get AppleCare+ either via online or over the phone even with a physically damaged iPhone. If your iPhone's screen is cracked, for instance, there's a possibility of the damage going unnoticed during Apple's remote diagnostic process.

And if the damage manages to fly under the radar, you'll be able to buy AppleCare+ right away and schedule a repair for your device at the nearest Apple location for a huge discount — minus the initial price for AppleCare+ itself, of course. In addition, your device will now be fully covered, giving you the ability to make up to two repair claims a year to ensure your iPhone never stays in a broken state for long.

9. You Don't Have to Buy AppleCare+ Right Away

As mentioned before, Apple provides a window of up to 60 days after buying your iPhone for you to decide whether AppleCare+ is right for you. So if you purchased an iPhone 11 Pro Max on December 1, you have up until January 30 of the following year to get either AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss to protect your device.

10. AppleCare+ Is Transferable

AppleCare+ can be transferred, just not in the way you were hoping for. Unlike with the AppleCare Protection Plan (not available in the US), you can't transfer your existing AppleCare+ plan from one iPhone to another. That means if you decide to replace your iPhone XS for a shiny new iPhone 11, you'll need to purchase a whole new plan for the iPhone 11, as the existing coverage on your older device is not allowed to carry over.

Instead, the transfer process covers ownership, with Apple giving you the ability to sell or give your device away with its protection plan intact. If you decide to transfer ownership, you can do so whether or not you paid for the plan in full (a single-pay plan) or pay monthly. For the latter, the new owner is responsible for keeping up on the monthly payments.

For Single-Pay Plans only, you may make a one-time permanent transfer of all of your rights under the Plan to another party, provided that: (i) you transfer to the other party the original proof of purchase, the Plan Confirmation, the Plan's printed materials and this service contract; (ii) you notify Apple of the transfer as instructed at support.apple.com/en-us/HT202712, and (iii) the other party accepts the terms of this service contract. ... When notifying Apple of the transfer, you must provide the Plan Agreement Number, the serial number of the Covered Equipment, and the name, address, telephone number and email address of the new owner.

According to Section 9 of the AppleCare+ Terms and Conditions, the service plan you've transferred over will cancel out automatically if the owner decides to stop making the monthly payment. If it was a payment plan that financed the entire cost of a single-pay plan, you may be entitled to a partial "pro rata" refund. More on that in the next section.

11. You Can Cancel AppleCare+ Any Time

You can discontinue your AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss plan at any time without incurring any penalties. If you've paid for the plan in full, Apple will issue you a full refund if canceling within 30 days or the plan's purchase — minus any benefits provided under the plan that you used.

If over 30 days, Apple will issue you a prorated, or "pro rata," refund for the time left over on your coverage. If you cancel your plan after precisely one year, for instance, Apple will refund you about $100 (plus or minus some fees) for the time remaining on the basic plan. As for the fees, the refund for the unused portion of the AppleCare+ plan will have either $25 subtracted or 10% of the pro-rata amount, whichever is less. Also, any benefits provided under the plan that you used will be deducted.

For those that finance a single-pay plan with a provider, such as Citizens One for the iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple will refund the money to them, who will then refund it to you as either a deduction on the total about still due on the iPhone financed or as a check if no other amount is due. (Note that you can't cancel AppleCare+ if you plan to remain on the iPhone Upgrade Program.)

If you're paying monthly, you can automatically cancel your AppleCare+ simply by halting future payments due, or you contact Apple directly to cancel your plan in advance. If you choose the latter, your plan will terminate on the last day of the month for which you paid, and no refund will be given.

Keep in mind that if you're on the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program and are paying extra to have AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss on top of the AppleCare+ you already have, canceling the former will result in Apple issuing refunds (if any) to the bank that gave you the loan.

Cover image and screenshots by Amboy Manalo/Gadget Hacks

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