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If you bought an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro last fall and declined to opt into AppleCare+ at the time, the good news is that now you have another chance to add it on.
Earlier this week we the news broke that Apple had begun officially rolling out an extended AppleCare+ program in all of its retail stores across the U.S. and Canada, letting you purchase AppleCare+ for up to one year after buying a new device. Now it appears that the program has gone live with the full details available on how it’s going to work and how you’ll be able to take advantage of it.
Apple actually quietly started piloting this program in select Apple Stores last fall, but it was never widely known, and many users had mixed results when trying to make use of it. Now, however, it’s officially available in every Apple Store, and all staff have been fully briefed on how it’s going to work.
Which Devices Qualify?
To be clear, this isn’t just for the iPhone — Apple is opening up the one-year AppleCare+ purchasing window to basically every device that AppleCare+ is available for, including iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs, and even the HomePod, AirPods, most of Apple’s Beats devices, and the Pro Display XDR.
Further, you can also still get coverage for the Smart Keyboard, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil when buying AppleCare+ for your iPad or iPad Pro.
Technically speaking, the only exception here is the Apple TV, but that’s only because Apple has always allowed you to purchase AppleCare+ for up to one year for its set-top box. In fact, in the days before AppleCare went “plus” it was always possible to purchase it anytime within the original one-year warranty period. It was only after accidental damage coverage was added that the 60-day limit kicked in, and presumably the Apple TV is considered much lower risk for this sort of thing, as most people aren’t likely carrying it around with them.
How Do I Get It?
The easiest way to get AppleCare+ is still to simply buy it at the same time as you’re purchasing your new device. However, while that’s easy to do when buying a device from the Apple Store, since you can add it to the cart in the same transaction (and Apple encourages you to do so), it’s not always even an option when purchasing from third-party retailers.
As a result, Apple has always allowed you to purchase AppleCare+ within 60 days of buying a new device, and nothing has changed with that policy — you can still do it the same way as before, including buying it straight from the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, which is a really handy way to go. It’s also possible to purchase AppleCare+ on Apple’s website or over the phone within the first 60 days by letting Apple technicians run a remote diagnostic on your iPhone to make sure it’s in good working order.
Unfortunately, if you’re outside of the 60-day window, things will be a little bit more complicated, as MacRumors has confirmed that you’ll actually need to make a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple Store and take it in for inspection. Since the accidental damage coverage included with AppleCare+ is basically an insurance plan, Apple has to confirm that the device isn’t already damaged. That said, even if the device is damaged, you can still purchase AppleCare+ — but only after you pay the normal non-AppleCare service prices to have the existing damage repaired.
Once your device has been inspected and verified as eligible for AppleCare+ coverage, you’ll be able to either pay for the full plan upfront or choose to purchase the monthly AppleCare+ subscription plan.
It’s unclear right now if this appointment has to be made with an actual Apple Store Genius Bar or if you can take it to an Apple Authorized Service Program partner instead, as it’s not necessarily convenient for everybody to make it to an Apple Store, especially for those living in smaller towns.
Purchasing AppleCare+ — even after the 60-day window — provides the same coverage as if you purchased it right away, except that the clock actually starts from the day you purchase AppleCare+, not from the purchase date of your iPhone.
This means that you get two years of extra coverage that will extend even beyond the original iPhone warranty, so you could conceivably wait 364 days after buying the iPhone to purchase AppleCare+ for a total of three years of coverage, although of course the standard warranty doesn’t do anything for accidental damage.
As before, you also only get two incidents of coverage to offer discounted repairs for accidental damage within that two year period, although that counter resets after 24 months if you choose to continue paying for AppleCare+ on a subscription plan.
Theft and Loss Not Included
It’s also worth noting that the policy for the AppleCare+ Theft and Loss Plan hasn’t changed, so you’ll still only be able to purchase that for up to 60 days after you buy your new iPhone, as before.
Theft and Loss coverage is only available in the U.S., and not in Canada, and it’s limited to the AppleCare+ plan for the iPhone. It also carries a $100 premium over the standard AppleCare+ service plan. It allows you to get your iPhone replaced in the event that it’s stolen or lost by paying a deductible that’s considerably lower than the price of a new iPhone. Of course, you’ll also need to file a proper claim and a police report to take advantage of it, and the terms of the plan also require that you have Find My iPhone enabled at the time that it’s lost or stolen.