What is AppleCare+ and is it worth getting for your iPhone?

It’s no secret that iPhones are some of the most expensive phones on the market — and not without good reason — as Apple is one of the best in the business. But, with that pricey tech comes the worry that something might happen to your iPhone and whether there is a way to cover the costs of damage, repair or a lost phone. 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 device. However, insurance doesn’t always cover everything, and adding on the extra cost might not be worth it, depending on your circumstances. AppleCare+ might be Apple’s own version of product insurance, but it is by no means a perfect solution, or the best solution for everyone.

In this guide we’ll take a look at Apple’s own service and support product, AppleCare+ and whether it’s worth buying for your iPhone.

What is AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ is a service and support product, essentially Apple’s own version of product ‘insurance’. It can be purchased with an Apple product for an additional cost with 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.

AppleCare+ is only available for newly purchased Apple products

One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering AppleCare+, is that you’ll need to purchase this 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 7-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 purchasing 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.

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 and Apple-only systems included in iPhones. So, it’s no surprise that such a service as AppleCare+ exists to encourage customers to stick with Apple-specific care and support.

You can choose between AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss for iPhone. Both will include access to the following:

  • Apple-certified service and support
  • 24/7 priority access to technical support online
  • Coverage of up to two incidents every 12 months
  • Battery service coverage

The two incidents covered under AppleCare+ are for accidental damage. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss includes the same two incidents of accidental damage, plus up to two incidents of theft or loss. 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).

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 service fees may be a cheaper upfront cost if you have AppleCare+ than if you don’t.

Giving customers quick access to replacements and repairs

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. If you’ve already used up your two accidental damage incidents but still need the replacement, you’ll need to pay an ‘out of warranty’ fee for $149 (for eligible iPhone models). Keep in mind that you may be charged a temporary amount to your credit card while Apple waits to receive your device.

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.

How much does AppleCare+ cost?

Apple is 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.

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

  • iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini AppleCare+ — $169 for two years, $8.49 per month
  • iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini AppleCare+ (with Theft and Loss) — $249 for two years, $12.49 per month
  • iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone 13 Pro Max AppleCare+ — $239 for two years, $11.99 per month
  • iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone 13 Pro Max AppleCare+ (with Theft and Loss) — $319 for two years, $15.99 per month

Additional expenses for AppleCare+ replacements and repairs

As previously mentioned, AppleCare+ includes coverage for two incidents of accidental damage (plus two additional incidents of loss or theft 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 (back glass only applicable to iPhone 12 and 13 models) — $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. For some, the inclusions with AppleCare+ could pay off in the long run.


Related: iPhone 13 review: another stellar Apple smartphone


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) 1 year from data of purchase (2 years for Apple Watch) 2 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) 2 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 (up to 2 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

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, such as dropping your phone, may be worth paying additional costs for if you find that you frequently lose or damage your device.


Related: iPhone 13 Pro review: the most noticeable upgrade in an iPhone


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 13 series in the below table, simple switch between the tabs to switch devices.

The following table shows a range of 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 shows a range of 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 Mini as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 shows a range of 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 Pro as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 shows a range of 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 Pro Max as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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.

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, especially if you use your phone at home a lot, the extra cost might not be worth the bother. Be aware of how much repairs or replacements will cost you, or if you have a spare ‘back up’ phone available to you.

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 two instances of damage (and two additional instances of device theft or loss if you add on the additional coverage), and for most people, you might have just one instance of damage 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+.

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