Is The New AppleCare Worth It?

In the midst of iPhone 7 excitement (Two cameras! Ugly headphones! COURAGE!) Apple also made some much quieter changes to its AppleCare+ program. As of last week, enrolling in AppleCare+ means you can get a broken iPhone screen repaired for $45. But is it worth the money? Photo: AP/Ben Margot

There are, of course, a few catches. The first and most obvious: You have to pay for AppleCare+. Enrolment costs $189 and includes two repairs due to "accidental damage from handling" (ADH). That means your first screen repair will cost a cool $234 in total. But your next one will be just $45.

AppleCare+ also extends the phone's warranty to two years. All phones get a year under Apple's limited warranty for free, but that warranty only provides protection from defects. Anything related to accidents (drops, water damage) or time's slow march toward entropy (failure of consumables, like batteries) is not covered.

The new AppleCare+ terms for iPhone read:

  • Under AppleCare+ for iPhone, you will pay a A$45 / HK$228 / SGD$42 / MOP 248 service fee including applicable tax for a Screen-only ADH Claim or a A$149 / HK$ 788 / SGD$ 148/ MOP$848 service fee including applicable tax for All Other ADH Claims.

The policy adds that the device "must have no additional damage beyond the screen damage". So if your phone is bent, no new screen for you.

While some people mistake them as a separate category under the new plan, those $45 screen cracks actually fall into the same category as more the labour-intensive repairs that cost $149. And since AppleCare+ only covers up to two of either variety, you're screwed if something more serious breaks down in the device and you've already used two ADH claims to repair cracked screens.

That much hasn't changed — and at the very least screen repairs will be cheaper than they used to be. Does it make sense to sign up? That depends largely on how you use your phone, and how handy you are.

A DIY iPhone screen replacement kit will cost $55 to $80, which works out to three or four screen repairs for the price of Apple's two. (Buying AppleCare+ and paying the fee for two repairs will cost between $279 to $487, depending on whether the repairs are the $45 or the $149 variety.) Of course, you'll void the phone's warranty if you replace the screen yourself or take it to a non-certified repairman. (Some of these shops can charge up to $200 for a screen replacement.) And if you or the dodgy repairman bungles the repair, your device could get destroyed.

In the end it's pretty simple. Repairing an iPhone by yourself is certainly the cheapest route — but it's also the riskiest. If you don't trust yourself to replace a cracked screen, signing up for AppleCare+ makes good sense, as long as you understand the fine print. The little insurance policy will almost definitely be cheaper and easier than going to a sketchy third-party repair company. If that $234 still sounds too expensive, well, sturdy cases start at around $25.

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia


Comments

    I don't know if I've ever cracked a phone screen in 18 odd years of owning one. Apart from that one time I fell asleep on my couch and had sat on my Pocket PC/iPaq.. but that was after an 18 hour overnight shift or something.

    How much do apple charge to replace a screen if i dont have apple care? It may be in the article but I couldnt find it

    It's also worth mentioning that AppleCare+ also gives you the benefit of the express replacement

    e.g. My wife's phone's battery was cutting out between 10-20% so went on Apple support chat and they sent out a new phone, we sent the old one back to them. The bonus here is that she now has a completely scratch free phone.

    I used the same express service to replace a cracked screen a few weeks ago (frustratingly I paid the old screen replacement price :( )

    how does all of this fall in with australian consumer law where a device would be expected to last the same period as the contract it is on? personal faults not withstanding (dropping and cracking the screen), but if the speakers stopped working for no reason or the port broke through fair wear and tear after 18 months for instance even without apple care, this should still be covered under Australian consumer agreements?

      Absolutely, and you'll find Apple is good at following this within a reasonable timeframe. Applecare is mainly for accidental damage such as screen and water damage.

    The only thing that I would think I get Apple Care is for the genuine part.

    I've cracked my screen once on my 5s, and replaced that by myself. I can tell you right now the parts that you buy online... are not genuine even if it's says genuine or OEM...

    it's annoying when you try to replace it, you can't place the connector properly or camera...

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