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The new affordable HomePod mini smart speaker has been taking the world of Apple users by storm, offering a $99 alternative to the more expensive full-sized HomePod, which was priced too high for many people to seriously consider.
While the larger HomePod still offers a number of benefits over its smaller sibling — it obviously offers better sound quality, along with support for a new Home Theatre Audio feature — for the most part, the HomePod mini has become the speaker to buy for those established in the Apple ecosystem, presenting an affordable alternative to rival smart speakers for those who would prefer to stick with features like Siri and Apple Music while also enjoying tighter iPhone integration.
However, while the HomePod mini only costs a mere $99, Apple is also offering up its traditional AppleCare+ protection program for the smart speaker, and while this only costs an extra $15, you may be questioning whether it’s really worth it or even necessary for a relatively stationary smart speaker.
In fact, at $15, AppleCare+ for HomePod mini is the cheapest AppleCare+ plan available, beating out the $29 AppleCare+ for Headphones plan by half, and almost two-thirds less than the price of AppleCare+ for the full-sized HomePod. But even at that price, is it worth it?
What AppleCare+ for HomePod Does
AppleCare+ offers the same benefits as the much better known iPhone version of the plan, extending your repair coverage to two years, adding two incidents of coverage for accidental damage every 12 months, as well as providing priority access to Apple phone support and Express Replacement Service should you have to send your HomePod mini in for repairs.
The two incidents of accidental damage work exactly the same as they do for other AppleCare+ plans, allowing you to get a repair or replacement unit for only $15 should your HomePod mini suffer accidental damage of any kind.
Finally, the Express Replacement Service means that you won’t need to live without your HomePod mini should you need to send it in for repairs. Instead, Apple will ship you a replacement unit in advance, and you won’t need to send your old one in until you after you receive the replacement. You’ll need to supply a credit card as a security deposit to make sure you return the old one, but otherwise the Express Replacement Service is offered at no additional charge — Apple simply adds a temporary authorization hold to your card for the cost of the HomePod mini, which gets removed once they receive your old speaker.
Is AppleCare+ for HomePod mini Worth It?
Like all other Apple products, the HomePod mini comes with a standard one-year warranty, so AppleCare+ is only giving you an extra year beyond that, although considering that users are already having problems with the smart speaker, we wouldn’t suggest discounting the value of that extra year of coverage too quickly.
While needing to use incidents of accidental damage is far less likely for a stationary speaker than it is for an iPhone or iPad, it could offer some peace of mind if you have large pets or young children in the home who are likely to knock your speakers around or even just chew on the non-removable power cable.
Further, as per Apple’s recent changes to its AppleCare+ program across the board, you now get two of those incidents in a given 12 month period, so you could conceivably get up to four HomePod mini replacements over the course of the two-year plan.
However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the out-of-warranty replacement/repair cost for the HomePod mini is only $79 — $20 less than the price of a new one.
As with other AppleCare+ plans, this is basically insurance, but even if your HomePod mini suffers only one incident of damage, you’re still saving $49, since the total cost of AppleCare+ and the replacement only add up to $30.
Damage your HomePod mini more often and these savings in repair/replacement costs naturally go up even more ($113 for two incidents, $177 for three incidents, and $241 for four).
Lastly, the Express Replacement Service can also be a nice boon if you aren’t fortunate enough to live near an Apple Store (or one that’s open right now, considering the current circumstances), as you’ll get a replacement HomePod mini much more quickly. However, if you’re able to bring your broken HomePod mini into an Apple Genius Bar, they will generally replace it right on the spot anyway, as most problems aren’t repairable in-store.
Still, we are talking about a speaker here that’s stationary, rather than portable, so it really comes down to how likely you think your HomePod mini is likely going to suffer damage in your particular home, but even if you live in a pretty safe and stable environment, the extra $15 may be worth it simply for the peace of mind.
How to Buy AppleCare+ for Your HomePod mini
Should you decide to get AppleCare+ for your HomePod mini, the simplest way is to just add it to the cart at checkout if you’re ordering directly from Apple. It will automatically be registered to your new speaker and in effect before you even open the box.
However, if you’re purchasing your HomePod mini from another retailer, or you simply didn’t think to include AppleCare+ when checking out at the online Apple Store, you still have up to 60 days to purchase it, just like for any other Apple product. Unlike the iPhone and iPad, there’s no built-in way to do this, but you can simply visit Apple’s Support website to purchase it online, which is by far the easiest way to go about it, since purchasing it from an Apple Store will require you to take the speaker in for inspection, and purchasing it by phone requires that you provide proof of purchase.