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AppleCare+ Australia: Is it worth the cost?

It’s no secret that iPhones are some of the most expensive phones on the market. An Apple iPhone is an investment — but if you’re prone to scratching, dropping or losing your device, you may be wondering if there’s a way to cover the costs if something goes wrong. That’s where AppleCare+ can help.

Having access to a warranty or insurance can give people peace of mind when it comes to accidental loss or damage of your phone. However, insurance doesn’t always cover everything, and adding on the extra cost might not be worth it. AppleCare+ gives iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch owners some peace of mind in the event that their device is damaged, lost or even stolen.

In this guide we’ll take a look at AppleCare+ to see whether it’s worth buying for your iPhone.

What is AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ is a service and support product that is essentially Apple’s own version of product ‘insurance’. It can be purchased with an Apple product for an additional cost and offers access to service and support directly from Apple’s team of experts. This is separate to Apple Limited Warranty, which is included by default on all products, and is also separate to what you’ll be entitled to under Australian Consumer Law.

You can purchase AppleCare+ for a range of Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple’s headphone products, Apple TV, HomePod, iPod and Apple Display. What is covered and other details relating to AppleCare+ will differ between the device you are purchasing coverage for.

What does AppleCare+ cover for iPhone?

Apple is notorious for its preference for its own services and repairs (rather than a third party), especially since iPhones tend to have more integrated hardware and software. So, it’s no surprise that AppleCare+ exists to encourage customers to stick with Apple-specific care and support.

.AppleCare+ includes access to the following:

  • Apple-certified service and support
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support online
  • Unlimited coverage for accidental damage (service fees/deductibles apply)
  • Battery service coverage

When it comes to repairs and incident coverage, there is, of course, a catch: you’ll be required to pay service fees for certain types of repairs. However, these fees are generally much cheaper than what you’d pay for authorised Apple repairs without AppleCare+ coverage.

In addition to easier and more affordable access to service and replacements, AppleCare+ customers have the benefit of direct and fast customer service from Apple’s experts — whether that’s on the phone or via online chat and support hubs. Customers in most metropolitan areas may even have access to same-day service.

Another advantage to AppleCare+ is its Express Replacement Service. This means that you may be entitled to a replacement device before Apple even receives your damaged phone. Keep in mind that you may be charged a temporary amount to your credit card while Apple waits to receive your device.

What is AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss?

If you’re looking for coverage against accidental damage, but also want backup in case your device goes missing, you can opt for AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss for your iPhone.

AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss includes the same accidental damage coverage as standard AppleCare+, as well as up to two incidents of theft or loss every 12 months. Theft and Loss cover does require you to have Find My iPhone enabled at the time the device is lost/stolen and needs to remain enabled (with your lost/stolen iPhone still associated with your Apple ID throughout the process).

The below table offers a quick side-by-side comparison of AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss coverage.

Service

AppleCare+

AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss

Apple-certified service and support

24/7 priority access to technical support online

Unlimited coverage for accidental damage (service fees/deductibles apply)

Battery service coverage

Express replacement service

Coverage for theft or loss (2 incidents every 12 months)

How much is AppleCare+?

Apple can be a little tight-lipped when it comes to sharing how much you’ll pay for AppleCare+ for your device. Coverage costs will vary between device types, such as iPhones and Apple Watches, and will also vary between the models.

AppleCare+ costs for iPhone

Here is how much you’ll pay for AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss for devices in the iPhone 15, iPhone 14, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE series:

Apple + price per month AppleCare+ price for 2 years AppleCare+ with theft and loss price per month AppleCare+ with theft and loss price for 2 years
iPhone 15 $11.49 $229 $15.99 $319
iPhone 15 Plus $13.99 $279 $18.49 $369
iPhone 15 Pro $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone 15 Pro Max $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone 14 $11.49 $229 $15.99 $319
iPhone 14 Plus $13.99 $279 $18.49 $369
iPhone 14 Pro $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone 14 Pro Max $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone 13 $11.49 $229 $15.99 $319
iPhone 13 Mini $11.49 $229 $15.99 $319
iPhone 13 Pro $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone 13 Pro Max $15.99 $319 $20.49 $409
iPhone SE $6.49 $129 $10.99 $219

AppleCare+ cost: replacements and repairs

As previously mentioned, AppleCare+ includes unlimited coverage for accidental damage (plus two additional incidents of loss or theft every 12 months if you have AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss). These services require you to pay an upfront service fee, which is an additional cost to your AppleCare+ subscription. However, battery service is included at no extra cost if your battery retains less than 80% of its original capacity.

Some of the service fees Apple lists, with how much it will cost you upfront (in addition to your AppleCare+ service), include:

  • Screen or back glass damage (not available to iPhone SE or models released prior to iPhone 12): $45
  • Any other accidental damage: $149
  • Theft or loss: $229

While bundling a subscription with your upfront service fees might seem a bit steep, keep in mind that without AppleCare+, the overall cost could be much higher if you need to pay for a repair or replacement.


Related: iPhone 15 Plus review: Tougher, brighter, and better on battery life


How is AppleCare+ different from Apple Limited Warranty and Australian Consumer Law?

While additional insurance coverage is nothing new with consumer products, especially when it comes to appliances and technology, Aussies still have Australian Consumer Law and the product’s warranty to also guarantee some extra protections, without additional cost.

It’s important to note that AppleCare+ (and an AppleCare Protection Plan) is a separate product to Apple’s own Apple Limited Warranty. Apple Limited Warranty covers issues such as defects in the product and lasts up to one year for iPhone (or two years for Apple Watch).

Australians are also covered by Australian Consumer Law when it comes to faulty products and right of replacement/repair. What you are covered for, how long that coverage lasts and what you are covered under is different between the three products. The following table breaks this down.

Australian Consumer Law Apple Limited Warranty AppleCare+ or AppleCare Protection Plan
Cost No additional cost No additional cost Additional cost required
Claim period Reasonable period from date of delivery when the fault is discovered (could be 24 months or longer) One year from date of purchase (2 years for Apple Watch) Two years from purchase of iPhone (length differs between products)
Who to contact/claim through The seller Apple Support, Apple in-store support or from authorised Apple service provider Apple Support, Apple in-store support or from authorised Apple service provider
Technical support offered? No Up to 90 days from date of purchase (2 years for Apple Watch) Two years from purchase of iPhone (length differs between products)
Repair or replacement offered? Contact seller where device was purchased from Yes Yes
Accidental damage covered? No No Yes (unlimited claims per year for length of coverage)
Theft or loss covered? No No Yes, for customers with AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss (up to 2 claims per year for length of coverage)

While the above table is a guide as to what you’re covered under in the cases of damaged, faulty or broken products, there are caveats to this. Apple has a responsibility, under Australian Consumer Law, to supply goods in a quality and workable order, along with a responsibility to repair, replace, refund or re-supply goods if it fails to meet consumer guarantee.

Australian consumer guarantee in relation to goods, means that:

  • The goods will be of acceptable quality
  • The goods will be fit for a particular purpose
  • The goods will match their description
  • The goods will match the sample or demonstration model
  • You have title to the goods
  • You have undisturbed possession of the goods
  • There are no undisclosed securities on the goods

Why Apple must abide by Australian Consumer Law

It’s important to note that Australian Consumer Law is in place to protect Australians from faulty or poor-quality goods, and holds companies accountable for supplying quality products that work as advertised. It does not cover instances where a customer has changed their mind, damage that has been made intentionally, if the customer was aware of the fault when making the purchase and if a customer doesn’t have proof of purchase.

If the quality of the goods does not match what is listed above, Apple does have a further responsibility to remedy the situation within a reasonable time, such as providing repairs or parts, or offering a replacement. Apple also has a responsibility to honour its Apple Limited Warranty and AppleCare+ products, on goods that require service, repair or replacement.

While Australians are covered by consumer law, and when you purchase an Apple product you’ll also have coverage under warranty, AppleCare+ does cover some instances that aren’t covered by law or warranty. Having access to coverage for theft and loss, along with damage that may occur by accident, may be worth paying additional costs for.


Related: iPhone 15 Pro review: Is it worth the upgrade?


Compare iPhone plans

If you prefer to pick up your iPhone on a plan rather than outright, you have the option to buy your phone from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. You can compare plans for the iPhone 15 series in the below table, simple switch between the tabs to switch devices.

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 15 plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 15 Plus plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 15 Pro plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table compares a selection of 24-month 256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

How can I get AppleCare+ in Australia?

AppleCare+ and AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss are both available to Australian customers. You can add it to your new Apple product after purchase, either through your phone, tablet or Mac’s Settings, online, over the phone or at any Apple Store.

If you’re considering AppleCare+, you’ll need to purchase it within a certain time frame of buying your new Apple device. This period does differ between devices, but for iPhones, you’ll need to add on AppleCare+ within 60 days of your purchase. If you take advantage of a complimentary seven-day coverage offer (which may be available with certain devices), this period will reduce to 53 days. You may also be able to renew your existing coverage if you purchase new coverage within 30 days of your original coverage’s expiry.

When buying AppleCare+ for your iPhone, be sure to retain any receipts and proof of purchase, particularly if you’re buying after you’ve purchased your device.

Is AppleCare+ worth it?

While AppleCare+ does not come cheap, to some, the extra cost may be worth it in the long run. If you’re accident-prone or have had several instances in the past where your device has been lost or stolen, the extra security of having AppleCare+ might give you the peace of mind you need.

It’s obviously hard to predict if you’ll be in a situation where you’ll need the protection that AppleCare+ provides. If you’ve never had a phone lost, stolen or damaged, and you generally take good care of your phone, the extra cost might feel like a waste of money. If you decide to forgo AppleCAre+, you should be aware of how much repairs or replacements will cost you, and if needed have a spare ‘backup’ phone available in case of emergency.

If you find it hard to prepare for the unexpected, you might want to consider setting aside a budget specifically for an emergency ‘phone repair/replacement’ fund. You could even set aside the AppleCare+ price in your budget in anticipation for one or two iPhone-related emergencies. After all, to get your full money’s worth from AppleCare+, you’ll need multiple instances of damage per year (and two additional instances of device theft or loss if you add on the additional coverage). Most people won’t require repairs or replacements for their iPhone this frequently, even over the space of several years.

Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if the extra costs and what AppleCare+ gets you makes the purchase worth it. As it’s a rather expensive additional expense that not everyone will need or find value in, it’s important to not get sucked into buying it ‘just in case’. Seriously think about whether it’s likely you’ll ever need or use the service before signing up to AppleCare+.

Emma Bradstock
Telco Specialist
Emma Bradstock has been an authority on consumer phone, internet, technology and streaming markets in Australia for over 5 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media from Macquarie University and has over a decade of professional writing experience in print and digital media.

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