AppleCare Plus & Extended Warranties – Worth It Or Not?
I use an iPhone, work on a MacBook Pro, and carry an iPad Mini on the go, but the truth is, prior to this article, I didn’t think or know much about AppleCare protection plans.
What changed? Well, I got into a conversation with some old friends, and realised they all bought extended warranties for their beloved Apple devices. That got me thinking (and researching) – are AppleCare warranties actually worth the money?
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored. We just really want to know.
What is AppleCare?
First things first, AppleCare products are extended warranties for your Apple gadgets. It’s an add-on product, and is completely optional. It’s kind of like insurance – you never have to buy it but you feel safer with it lah.
Upon purchase, your Apple product will already come with a 1-year limited warranty that covers manufacturing defects. It does not, however, cover consumable parts (like batteries) and cosmetic damage (like scratches and dents).
If that’s not enough for you, that’s where AppleCare comes in. AppleCare extends your warranty by up to 3 years (depending on your device), and if you get AppleCare+, it will also include up to 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage, subject to a service fee.
That means if it’s entirely your fault and you wreck your Apple device on your own, you can get still get it fixed. It just won’t be free.
All AppleCare and AppleCare+ warranties also include tech support, which honestly sounds incredibly unexciting. I’m not going to touch much on that because everyone also can call in for help what, right?
How much is AppleCare & AppleCare+?
Well, the coverage breadth and price depends on what Apple product you’re looking to protect. AppleCare (extended hardware warranty only) is not available for iOS devices, only for Apple TV. For iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macs, it is AppleCare+ (with accidental damage coverage).
|AppleCare product||Price||What it covers|
|AppleCare for Apple TV||$44||Extends coverage to 2 years.|
|AppleCare+ for iPod Touch||$88||Extends coverage to 2 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $48)|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch & Apple Watch Nike+||$88 to $138||Extends coverage to 2 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $98)|
|AppleCare+ for iPad||$98 to $189||Extends coverage to 2 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $42 to $68)|
|AppleCare+ for Mac||$128 to $548||Extends coverage to 3 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $138 to $428)|
|AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Hermes||$158||Extends coverage to 3 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $118)|
|AppleCare+ for iPhone||$228 to $368||Extends coverage to 2 years, including 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage (subject to service fee of $42 to $148)|
In general, AppleCare+ for laptops and mobile phones are the most expensive. They’re the most popular ones too, so let’s take a closer look at them.
In addition to the device, the enhanced AppleCare+ coverage will also cover things like your batteries and accessories (like the adapter), which are not covered in the free limited warranty.
AppleCare+ for iPhones
|Apple iPhone model||AppleCare+ price|
|iPhone 8, iPhone 7||$228|
AppleCare+ is $368 for the latest iPhone XS, and $268 for the cheaper iPhone XR. It’s also available for the older models iPhone 7 and 8 ($228).
AppleCare+ extends your coverage by just 1 year (2 years in total), and throws in 2 incidents of accidental damage (with a service fee).
For screen damage, it is $42. For everything else (like say, water damage), it’s $148.
AppleCare+ for Mac
|Apple Mac model||AppleCare+ price|
|MacBook, MacBook Air||$348|
|13” MacBook Pro||$378|
|15” MacBook Pro||$548|
Prices start at $128 for the Mac Mini, but increases as the machines get more powerful. AppleCare+ for the 15″ MacBook Pro is a whopping 4X that price ($548).
Although pretty pricey, AppleCare+ extends your hardware coverage to 3 years (instead of 2, like for the iPhone), and includes the 2 incidents of accidental damage coverage.
For that, the service fee is $138 (screen or external closer damage) or $428 (everything else).
Are AppleCare extended warranty plans worth it?
If you ask me, I would say no. Or rather, it depends on the Apple device in question, and how heavily you use it.
Let’s talk about iPhones first.
The latest iPhone XS may be made of “exceptional materials”, but glass is glass right? It may be the most durable iPhone yet, but that’s not really saying much because we all know a good few someones who have destroyed their phone screens. Multiple times.
Obviously since they’re a result of your butter fingers, iPhone screen replacements are considered “accidental damage” and you’ll need to pay a $42 service fee.
$42 is relatively cheap, but don’t forget – that’s on top of the AppleCare+ price. So if you get AppleCare+ for your iPhone XS, and repair your screen twice, that’s $368 + $42 + $42 = $452.
That’s a lot. You can probably find a neighbourhood ah beng handphone shop that will change your screen for the same price or less.
For Macs? Maybe.
On the other hand, AppleCare+ may just be worth it for a computer. If you rarely bring your MacBook out and only use it for basic stuff like watching movies and surfing the internet, then it’s unlikely that your computer will die on you within 3 years. The 1-year limited warranty should be enough – I wouldn’t go for it.
However, if you use your computer to game or run heavy duty software on it frequently (like video-editing software, for instance), then you may want to consider AppleCare+. It’s like cars and mileage, and repairing a computer costs a lot more than repairing an iPhone.
Certain parts can be particularly expensive to repair or replace. For instance, without “insurance”, it’s rarely cost effective to fix your laptop if it’s your graphics card or motherboard that’s faulty. Those can cost up to $600+ a pop! Most people just save up and get a new computer.
But if you die-die want to save your “bao bei” Mac, then you might as well have the official Apple service center do it. They have the resources to do a better job, and it’ll probably cost either the same or less.
Conclusion: AppleCare is kind of like any other insurance plan.
At the end of the day, it’s the age-old question of whether or not you should buy insurance… Because that’s essentially what AppleCare is, right?
However, unlikely matters of health, the “welfare” of our gadgets are at least to a certain degree within our control. Of course, if kena manufacturing defects bo bian lah, but the chances of that acting up after 1 year is pretty slim.
Most people get AppleCare (and all other extended warranties, really) to shield themselves against accidental damage. And there are much cheaper ways to minimise that risk – like getting a good protective case, or just being more careful.
If you need some numbers to convince you, you may appreciate this thread on Quora where a user helpfully devises a formula to decide if AppleCare is worth the money.
Spoiler alert: It’s not.
What do you think – would you pay for AppleCare+ and AppleCare protection plans? Tell us in the comments below.