AppleCare vs AppleCare+: What’s the Difference, and Which Should You Get?

AppleCare vs AppleCare+

AppleCare vs AppleCare+: What’s the Difference, and Which Should You Get?

AppleCare acts as the default warranty on any new product you purchase from Apple. It is one of the most forgiving warranties in the entire industry and is extremely flexible on what it actually covers. So, how do AppleCare vs AppleCare+ compare? Both act as fully functional extended warranties for your Apple devices.

Apple devices are certainly not the cheapest on the market, but they are popular for a good reason. If you want to protect your purchase, it is worth taking a closer look at the warranty available. Let’s see how how the two stack up against each other.

AppleCare vs AppleCare+: Side-by-Side Comparison

Coverage2 years from the date of purchaseWhenever you choose a plan
Cost per yearNoneUp to $100 for the basic plan, up to $134.50 for a plan with theft and loss protection
Products coverediPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats Headphones, Macbook, Mac Mini, Mac StudioiPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats Headphones, Macbook, Mac Mini, Mac Studio
Cost of screen replacementFree if the screen is defective, otherwise it is the full cost of the device$29
Cost of battery replacementFree if the battery is defective, otherwise it is the full cost of the deviceNo extra cost
Cost of device replacementThe device has to be defective for replacement in the warranty period$99

AppleCare vs AppleCare+: What’s the Difference?

While both of these plans cover your Apple devices, there are stark differences in how they cover them.


When it comes down to coverage, both of these plans couldn’t be more different. AppleCare itself starts the day you purchase your Apple product. The warranty duration for AppleCare generally lasts a single year and covers the manufacturer’s defects. What this means, in effect, is that your device is only covered from things that could arise as part of a potential recall.

This covers faulty batteries, defective screens, and total device replacement for other issues that can be traced to the time of its creation. For a single year, you have AppleCare to cover any of those things that happen to your iPhone, iPad, Mac computers, Apple Watch, and anything else in their product line.

applecare vs applecare +
AppleCare doesn’t cover user-created damage, like unauthorized repair or modification.

AppleCare+ is a monthly subscription, but it extends the basic warranty by another year. It also covers things beyond defects. Accidental damage, like dropping your phone screen first on the pavement, is readily covered. It isn’t free, by any means, but it certainly beats having repairs done at full cost out of pocket.

Where AppleCare+ shines is in acting more as an insurance plan for your devices. This is especially useful if you have one of their flagship products, where the cost of replacement is far higher than paying the deductible for any repairs.

With AppleCare+, screen replacements cost around $29, while any other repairs are effectively $99. You’re essentially getting a whole new device for $99, as a sort of deductible.

Monthly Cost

The basic AppleCare has no monthly fees associated with it. It is the most basic form of coverage, and it starts at the time you purchase your device. This is great if you’re especially careful with your devices and just need to cover any potential defects.

For those looking for a little extra protection for their device, AppleCare+ is a monthly subscription. The basic phone plans start at $3.99 a month or $79 every two years. What this entitles you to is all the aforementioned repairs at a heavily reduced cost. You can move to the next tier of the plan starting at $7.49 a month or $149 every two years.

The cost of your plan will depend on your device, as the cost differs between, say, the iPhone SE and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This covers all accidental damages with the deductible as well as a greatly reduced total device replacement in the case of theft or loss. This is a wonderful safety net, especially when considering the overall cost over a two-year period.

Instead of dropping the full price of your device in the event, something goes wrong, it is a greatly reduced cost, instead. Battery replacements, in particular, are free, so you don’t have to pay for the replacement yourself.

Theft and Loss

In the event of losing your device or having it stolen, AppleCare provides no additional support. You’ll be on your own for covering the monetary cost of your device. If you have GPS tracking on your device, you might be able to have it recovered by law enforcement.

AppleCare+ has a second tier of its plan which does cover theft and loss. For an additional $3 a month, you’ll be able to replace your device for a greatly reduced cost in the event of theft or loss. The $11 a month makes the cost of replacing a lost or stolen iPhone $169, rather than the full price.

It does come with some caveats, of course; you can’t lose your phone every month and have it replaced. You’re restricted to two complete device replacements at a reduced cost per year. This is great in the event it does happen, and the extra cost isn’t that much more on an annual basis compared to the basic AppleCare+ plan.

Accidental damage is one thing, but device loss can be a huge unexpected expense. It is better just to have a safety net in place that won’t leave you flat-footed if you lose your device.

AppleCare vs AppleCare+: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. AppleCare used to have more additional coverage, but it has been phased out by Apple.
  2. AppleCare acts as a limited warranty.
  3. AppleCare only covers manufacturing errors.
  4. AppleCare+ functions as both device insurance and an extended full-coverage warranty.
  5. AppleCare+ covers all repairs for a reduced cost.
  6. AppleCare+ plans are per device, not per account.

AppleCare vs AppleCare+: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to covering your device, you need to weigh your options carefully. If you’re alright with covering the full cost of repairs for any accidental damage, then you might be perfectly content with the basic AppleCare coverage.

It doesn’t cover absolutely everything, but will certainly have your back if you have an issue with your device. Granted, this coverage only lasts for the duration of the warranty itself, but that is to be expected with any warranty.

AppleCare+ is an additional monthly or biannual expense that everyone might not be able to afford, but it does offer up some great benefits. The reduced cost of repairs for accidental damage, as well as the greatly reduced price for total device replacement in the event of theft, makes AppleCare+ a great addition to your expenses though.

While it is an additional expense, following the purchase of your Apple device, it certainly beats having to pay the full sum out of pocket to cover any cracked screens. Warranties are well and fine, but phone insurance is relatively common these days. With flagship mobile devices being so expensive from the onset, it is worth protecting your investment from any unfortunate incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Applecare cover device replacement?

Applecare covers device replacement if the device itself is defective. If you accidentally dropped your iPhone in the toilet, that counts as accidental damage. However, if your phone is on the fritz and all you have done is take stellar care of it, then it is likely covered by Applecare.

Is screen repair free with Applecare+?

No, it costs a greatly reduced amount, however. Replacing your screen can sometimes run into hundreds of dollars, but with Applecare+ you’re only looking at spending around $29 to get your phone screen replaced. It isn’t free by any means, but it is far cheaper in the event that you crack your phone’s screen.

Does Applecare cover device theft?

The basic Applecare plan functions as little more than a limited warranty. As such, it won’t cover any theft or device loss. Applecare+ has a second tier that will cover device theft, but you’ll have to pay a deductible to get a new phone.

Does Applecare+ cover Apple Watches?

Applecare+ covers all of the mainstays of the Apple product line. It can cover AirPods, iPads, Apple Watches, and everything else Apple currently makes.

Can Applecare be extended past its coverage period?

The only way to extend your device’s basic limited warranty is to purchase the monthly Applecare+ plan which covers your device. This can extend coverage by another year and also covers any accidental damages.

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