Your Apple gear wasn’t cheap. And if you drop your iPhone, your iPad stops turning on, or you smack your Apple Watch into something and shatter it, getting it repaired probably won’t be cheap either.
Apple includes a one-year limited warranty with all hardware so if there’s a manufacturing defect, you’ll be covered. To also protect against accidental damage plus extend the original warranty for longer and enjoy free tech support, you can opt to purchase AppleCare+. Here’s what it is, what it covers, and what you can expect to pay. Is AppleCare+ worth it? Only you can decide for your own situation, but this should be everything you need to know to make a smart choice.
Updated 12/21/20: Updated several links, prices, and references throughout this guide.
What is AppleCare?
If you’ve never even heard of AppleCare, start here! Otherwise, feel free to skip to the sections that cover your particular devices.
How is AppleCare+ different from the warranty Apple products come with?
AppleCare is Apple’s term for its warranty programs. Every Apple device comes with a certain stretch of AppleCare warranty service and phone/chat support for free, typically one year for the warranty and 90 days of phone support. You can pay to extend that protection for longer, which is called AppleCare+.
Do I have to buy AppleCare+ at the same time as the product?
No. If you already know you want it, buying AppleCare+ with the product is a good idea, just so you don’t forget. When you’re shopping at the Apple store and Apple.com, you’ll be offered AppleCare+ at checkout, and authorized Apple resellers can offer AppleCare+ too.
But you have some time to decide. Generally you get 60 days from the purchase date to buy AppleCare+ (only 30 days if you’re in Japan), and Apple has a page where you can check your exact device’s eligibility.
The latest iPhones and iPads will show you an AppleCare+ signup prompt right there near the top of Settings, if you’re still eligible. You can tap on it to see how many days remain, and purchase AppleCare+ (with or without Loss and Theft protection) right on your device.