Should you buy AppleCare+ for your iPhone?

AppleCare+ can greatly reduce the cost of replacing your hardware from any accidental damage, as well as giving you 24/7 priority access to technical support. You get the added bonus of Apple experts knowing their hardware and operation systems inside out. But AppleCare+ isn’t cheap when you consider the excess fees you might have to pay for your claim when something goes wrong.

Most of us are interested in taking out insurance in case your phone is lost or stolen. AppleCare+ doesn’t cover these. Instead, you have to pay more and take out the AppleCare+ with Loss and Theft policy.

We’ve explored the fine print of Apple’s insurance policies and any alternatives that could save you money in the long run – from home contents insurance to network providers and third party insurers. Read on to find out which insurance policy is the best deal for you.

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What’s covered with AppleCare+?

You can take out AppleCare+ for any new Apple product. Here are the main features covered with AppleCare+:

24/7 priority access to technical supportNumber of covered incidents of accidental damage per yearBattery serviceExpress replacement serviceLocal Apple hardware service when travellingDoes coverage include any accessories?
iPhoneYesTwo, subject to excess feeYesYesYes – GlobalNone
iPadYesTwo, subject to excess feeYesYesYes – within EuropeYes – Apple Pencil, iPad keyboard and included USB cable and power adaptor, subject to excess fee
MacYesTwo, subject to excess feeYesNoYes – GlobalYes – included accessories like the power adaptor
WatchYesTwo, subject to excess feeYesYesYes – GlobalN/A
HeadphonesYesTwo, subject to excess feeYesYesYes – within EuropeYes – included USB charging cable, subject to excess fee
Apple TVYesTwo, subject to excess feeN/AYesYes – GlobalYes – Siri Remote and power lead, subject to excess fee

How much does AppleCare+ cost?

To be eligible for AppleCare+, you must buy a new iPhone outright or through a contract, it can’t be second-hand model.

The cost of AppleCare+ for iPhone varies according to which iPhone you buy. For example, AppleCare+ for the iPhone 12 should cost around £189 for the year. The final price is only available to you when you buy your iPhone, or look up your serial number later on. You must buy AppleCare+ within 60 days of buying your iPhone and it’s not available in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

Should you buy AppleCare+ for your iPhone?

AppleCare+ is only available for the following handsets:

iPhone 13 miniiPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 13iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 13 ProiPhone 11
iPhone 13 Pro MaxiPhone XS
iPhone 12 miniiPhone XS Max
iPhone 12iPhone XR
iPhone 12 ProiPhone SE
iPhone 12 Pro Max

Here are the main benefits with AppleCare+ for iPhone:

Check out the best mobile phone and Sim-only deals.

What’s covered with AppleCare+ Theft and Loss?

AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss is Apple’s second insurance policy for iPhones, which gives you the added bonus of being protected if your iPhone gets stolen or lost. This includes when you’re travelling anywhere in the world.

Again, the cost for each policy is dependent on the model you have, but it will likely be around £239 per year. You also have to pay a whopping £109 excess fee for any theft or loss for each individual incident.

Be warned, to claim for theft or loss, you must have Find My iPhone enabled on your device at the time it’s lost or stolen and for the full claims process. Keep your proof of purchase safe too. Apple states that this may be required to prove your product’s eligibility for cover under the warranty or AppleCare service contract.

Check the best contract deals on iPhones with Which? mobile switch, or read our mobile phone reviews to see how the iPhones compare to their rivals.

Alternatives to AppleCare+

AppleCare isn’t cheap, so it’s worth weighing up other options to device if it’s worth the outlay on an already expensive phone.

Before taking out any type of gadget insurance, check what’s already included in your home insurance cover, or what add-ons you might be able to buy to cover your devices. Standard home contents insurance could include the loss or theft of gadgets when in your home. You might also be able to add personal possessions to claim for items that have been lost, damaged or stolen whilst away from home. This is usually quite cheap to add on and one policy will cover lots of your items, unlike AppleCare+. Every person’s home contents insurance will have a different price, but according to MoneySuperMarket, the average buildings and contents insurance costs £139 and the average contents policy is £56. For most people, adding on personal possessions cover to include an iPhone probably won’t come close to the possible £200+ cost of AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss for newer iPhones.

AppleCare+ won’t insure a second-hand or refurbished phone, but home contents insurance will most likely cover these too. However, you won’t get all the extra perks that you get with AppleCare+, like expert support and battery service. Also, if you claim on your home contents insurance, your premium might go up, but this won’t happen with AppleCare+. If your premium ends up very high after a claim, you can search the market to get a better deal or negotiate with your current insurer.

Find out more on how contents insurance works with Which? advice.

Home contents or personal possessions insurance might not be a practical option if you don’t currently have a home insurance policy. But there are still alternatives to AppleCare+. You might get phone insurance as a perk with your bank account or credit card, or if you buy your iPhone through a network provider like O2 or Vodafone, you can take out insurance policies that they offer. Network provider policies usually include options for quick replacement and worldwide accidental damage, and you often have longer than 60 days after buying to insure your phone. Vodafone even offers other AppleCare+ perks like support from Apple experts. These policies are worth a look if you are buying on contract.

Other third party insurers might suit you if you don’t buy your phone through a network provider. But always take extra steps to ensure it is a reputable company. The easiest way to do this is check that the company has FCA registration on its website (usually in small print at the bottom of the landing page), and then check that it is on the FCA register. Note that the company won’t always be listed on the FCA register as the name of the brand, but of the parent company. For example, Protect Your Bubble is a trading name of Assurant Direct Ltd.

Read our guide on how to get the best mobile phone insurance for more.

If you travel a lot, you may be tempted to take out the AppleCare+ Theft and Loss policy. This might be more worth it if you have one of the most expensive iPhones, but probably isn’t for an older or cheaper model. Instead, you could look into travel insurance policies that cover personal items. But always double check it definitely covers all your items as some policies might not automatically cover expensive devices like iPhones.

Should you get AppleCare+?

Given the cost involved, you should think carefully before considering AppleCare+, and what you’ll most likely need to use it for.

In July 2021, we surveyed 10,716 Which? members who own smartphones and found only 2% of iPhones developed a fault within the first two years, meaning you aren’t very likely to find faults in your device early on.

Even if you use your phone a lot, your battery is unlikely to drop below Apple’s 80% threshold for battery service. This means with AppleCare+ Theft and Loss you could be paying over £400 across two years to guard against this happening. Apple itself charges £49-£69 for an out of warranty battery replacement, and you may be able to find cheaper prices if you shop around.

Theft and accidental damage are other concerns, but with alternative options available through routes like home contents or personal possessions insurance, these are definitely worth exploring first. Third party insurers and network providers usually have more competitive prices than Apple, especially when you consider the excess.

In short, shop around, and make the most of the 60 days you have after purchasing an iPhone to find out if it’s really worth taking the plunge.