You Now Have up to a Year to Buy AppleCare+, But There’s a Catch

AppleCare Plus on iPhone Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock
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Although Apple often encourages you to add AppleCare+ to your shopping cart whenever you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other product, the truth is that you’ve normally had up to 60 days to take advantage of Apple’s extended warranty and protection package, and you can even buy it right from the Settings app on your new iPhone or iPad.

Late last year we heard reports that a few Apple Stores in the U.S. and Canada were piloting a new program that would allow customers to purchase AppleCare+ even after the normal 60-day window had passed, but it required actually visiting a participating store in person, and it was unclear exactly where and how this was being offered — the report said that it was available in about 50 Apple Stores in the U.S. and all 29 Apple Store locations in Canada, but we had mixed responses when speaking with actual Apple Stores following the report.

Now, however, it appears that Apple has officially rolled out the new extended AppleCare+ program across all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada, with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reporting that the company has announced the plan in a memo to its retail and customer-support employees, stating that users will now have up to a year after purchasing a new device to add AppleCare+.

Unlike the smaller pilot program, which applies only to the iPhone, it appears that the extended AppleCare+ offer will be available for all Apple products for which the extended protection plan is offered, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and event AirPods, the Apple TV and the HomePod.

Users can also get AppleCare+ coverage for Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil as part of the AppleCare+ for iPad package.

This gives customers another opportunity to protect their device and have access to all the AppleCare+ benefits.

Internal Apple memo to retail staff

There do seem to be a couple of catches to the extended program, however.

Firstly, Apple told employees that the offer is available only to those customers who pay for AppleCare+ in full, and not to those who take advantage of the monthly subscription plan — at least not unless they subscribe via instalments on the Apple Card.

Secondly, although you’ll still be able to add AppleCare+ directly from your iPhone or iPad, it looks like this may continue to be capped at the first 60 days after the purchase, so to take advantage of the extended off you may have to go and visit an Apple Store so that your device can be inspected to make sure that it’s not already damaged.

This is necessary as part of the AppleCare+ offering covers two incidents of accidental damage from handling, such as cracked screens, but like any insurance plan, you can’t decide to buy it after your device has already been damaged.

The move actually marks a return to how the original AppleCare plans were sold years ago, before Apple introduced AppleCare+ and its extra damage coverage. Back when AppleCare was mostly just an extended warranty, Apple allowed customers to purchase it anytime during the original one-year warranty period for a new device.

The 60-day limit only came into play once AppleCare+ was introduced to offer coverage for things like broken screens, which despite Apple’s large pools of cash, is actually underwritten by traditional insurance companies.

However, other than the vagaries of how insurance companies operate, there was really no reason why it shouldn’t have been possible to add AppleCare+ coverage at any time during the original warranty period as long as the device could be inspected and verified as being in good condition, and presumably Apple has figured out a way to work with its insurers to allow the coverage to be purchased beyond the 60-day window in hopes that this will encourage more users to sign up for the plan, resulting in another boost to Apple’s services revenue, particularly at a time when the program is less in demand due to the ongoing global health pandemic.

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