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Despite the tougher new Ceramic Shield glass that Apple has equipped all of this year’s iPhones with, you may still want to consider picking up AppleCare+ to ensure that your shiny new iPhone 12 is protected from whatever calamities may befall it, and the good news is that Apple has kept its AppleCare+ prices mostly the same since last year, and in fact some of its plans are even cheaper than before.
Even though the non-Pro iPhone 12 now comes with a more expensive Super Retina XDR OLED display, AppleCare+ for the iPhone 12 and the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini (when it comes out next month) is priced the same as it was for the iPhone 11 last year: $149 for the whole two years upfront, or $7.99/month if you opt for the monthly plan.
AppleCare+ for the iPhone 12 Pro models comes in at $199, or $9.99/month, which is the same price that it’s been offered since the iPhone X was released two years ago.
iPhone owners in the U.S. can also take advantage of a premium AppleCare+ plan that includes loss and theft protection, at $199 upfront or $11.49 per month for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini and $269 or $13.49/month for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
What AppleCare+ Does For You
All iPhones come with a standard one-year warranty, and AppleCare+ extends this beyond that first year for the duration of the plan. This means you get two years in total if you pay for AppleCare+ upfront, however, if you’re on the monthly plan, that can be extended for as long as you’re willing to keep paying for it.
However, AppleCare+ goes well beyond an extended warranty, offering much less expensive repairs for up to two incidents of Accidental Damage from Handling (ADH). This means that if you drop your iPhone and crack the screen, or if it decides to go for a swim your toilet — both things that are not covered under Apple’s normal warranty — you can get it repaired for considerably less than it would cost without AppleCare+.
For example, an out-of-warranty screen repair on an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 will set you back $279, and while Apple hasn’t published the repair pricing for an iPhone 12 Pro Max yet, since that model won’t be released until next month, based on the current pricing for the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone XS Max, it’s likely that will run $329.
If you have AppleCare+, however, that fee drops to a mere $29 for the first two incidents of screen damage, regardless of the model.
For anything other than screen damage, the AppleCare+ service fee is $99 per incident, however the non-covered repair costs for those are higher as well, at up to $549 for the iPhone 12 Pro, and probably $599 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max when it arrives next month.
Apple also offers battery replacements at no charge during the iPhone’s normal warranty period, which of course is extended by AppleCare+. Out-of-warranty battery replacements normally cost $69 for all Face ID iPhone models and $49 for Touch ID models.
Of course, when it comes to damage coverage, AppleCare+ is effectively just an insurance program, meaning you’re only paying for peace of mind at the outset.
However it’s easy to see from the math that it will easily pay for itself after only a single damage claim, and it actually gives you up to two claims every 12 months — a recent improvement to the program, which previously only offered two claims for the life of the plan.
If you opt for the more expensive Theft & Loss coverage option, then AppleCare+ will also replace your iPhone in the event that it’s lost or stolen, and with recent program changes, it now does that for a flat $149 deductible regardless of which iPhone model you had. Of course, like any insurance plan, you’ll need to go through the steps to prove your iPhone was lost or stolen, such as filing a police report.
How Do I Get It?
There are actually several ways to buy AppleCare+, and while the most obvious is just to add it to your shopping cart when you’re pre-ordering your new iPhone 12, you don’t need to fret if you forgot to do that, as you can still buy it afterward.
In fact, within the first 60 days of your purchase, it’s trivially easy to purchase AppleCare+ for your device — Apple actually lets you do it right from the Settings app in a matter of minutes.
While this is the easiest way to go, if you don’t want to take this route, you can also still purchase AppleCare+ online, at an Apple Store, or by calling Apple Support directly, although in these cases you’ll have to either run a remote diagnostic or your iPhone or have it inspected by an Apple Store employee to make sure it’s in good condition; presumably when you purchase it directly from the iPhone Settings app this diagnostic data is checked automatically.
With recent changes, Apple is now apparently allowing you to buy AppleCare+ for up to a year after your first purchased your iPhone, although this requires a visit to an Apple Store to have your device inspected, since like any insurance plan, you don’t get to purchase AppleCare+ after you’ve already damaged your iPhone simply to get cheaper repairs. Although Apple may still allow you to purchase AppleCare+ if your iPhone has been damaged, you’ll need pay full price to get it repaired first, at which point buying AppleCare+ will have you covered for any future damage that may occur.