What is AppleCare? Everything you need to know

Apple Care plus settings app on new iPhone 12 Pro Max 5G smartphone model by Apple Computers close-up of Pacific Blue mobile phone device
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Apple makes some of our favorite devices but it’s important to protect them, and we’re not just talking about getting one of the best iPhone 14 cases. We're talking about the protection that comes from AppleCare Plus, Apple’s own insurance policy and tech support for its devices. 

The idea behind AppleCare Plus is that no one knows how to take care of Apple devices like Apple. Provided you buy AppleCare within the first 60 days of purchasing an Apple product, you can get protection on pretty much any Apple device, from iPhones to AirPods, as well as selected Beats headphones. 

AppleCare Plus vs. a standard warranty 

Although it may vary in your region, Apple offers a free one-year limited warranty and 90 days of technical support for most of its goods in the U.S.. This should cover any defects or technical faults that happen. 

However, this limited warranty will not cover any accidental damage, including damage taking place while using third-party accessories or components “such as batteries or protective coatings that are designed to diminish over time.” In a nutshell, whether it was your fault or an accident, you’re out of luck. Of course, select retailers may offer separate warranties — but as far as Apple is involved, that’s the extent of a limited warranty's protection.

broken iphone screen

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With AppleCare Plus, you’ll get coverage for an extended period (normally 2 to 3 years) and crucially also have protection from accidental damage. If you drop your iPhone 14 Pro Max and crack the back or the screen, Apple will charge you $379 for a fix. Those who bought AppleCare Plus, though, will only pay $29. That’s a big difference. Other accidental damage will incur a $99 fee, but that’s still much cheaper than a new phone. 

There is also a further level of protection available with AppleCare Plus, with loss and theft protection. As the name suggests, this will cover you for the loss or theft of your device up to twice every year. Note that it's the most expensive protection option that also requires a $150 payment each time a device needs to be replaced. 

What else is included in AppleCare Plus?

AppleCare Plus offers a few perks on top of its insurance coverage. For example, the Apple Express Replacement Service can send you a replacement device while yours is in for repair, with no extra fee attached.

Subscribers also get access to 24/7 customer support from Apple’s experts. You'll have your choice of where you get your repair, with options to mail a unit in, hand it over in store or even book a technician to repair the device at your home or office.

How much does AppleCare Plus cost? 

Prices vary by device, but AppleCare Plus for an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max should cost you either $9.99 per month or $199 for two years of coverage. Want to add on theft and loss protection? Your cost rises to $13.49 per month or $269 for the two years. 

Is this worth it? It’s hard to say, as it all depends on a lot of individual factors. If you know you’re a bit clumsy or forgetful, then it’s definitely worth looking into. Those who are more careful might trust themselves to look after their device. As with many insurance policies, AppleCare is essentially a bet that you will or won’t have to use it. 

If you’re mainly concerned with mechanical issues such as the battery needing to be replaced, then it may be better to hold fire. A battery replacement for the iPhone 14 Pro Max is only $99 ($0 for AppleCare Plus subscribers), less than the yearly cost of Apple's protection program.

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Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.