AppleCare: It’s Worth It (mostly)

Yes, you should buy AppleCare…but maybe not for every device

It used to be that many professional Mac owners also upgraded and repaired on their own machines – adding and replacing parts like a hobbyist mechanic. But today, these machines are far more compact and increasingly difficult to work on – and for most of us, that work should probably be left in the hands of those who have been trained to do it day in and out.

I don’t buy insurance on mid-range TVs or other electronics from the big box stores, but I’ll always purchase AppleCare for Apple computers. We’ve had everything from logic boards, to screens, internal batteries to power parts replaced and without a doubt having AppleCare has (way) more than paid for itself every time. These are complex machines and in my experience, most of the issues that cause problems will shake out within those three years, but not usually within one.

Recently, I had a screen replaced on a 15″ MacBook Pro Retina that was suffering from both a dead pixel and the “Screengate” anti-glare issue. I make a living off of the machines I use and was impressed that the process was easy and the repair was fast. I’ve never felt push back from AppleCare for any issues I presented and have had a positive experience every time.

I don’t buy insurance on mid-range TVs or other electronics from the big box stores, but I’ll always purchase AppleCare for Apple computers

If you are still under your first year of warranty you can upgrade to cover up to the full three years. AppleCare seems like a significant add-on at purchase time, but for the peace of mind and ease of problem resolution, it’s been worth it. If you can’t do it this time around, consider factoring it in to your future purchasing budget.

Why AppleCare for iPhones might not be worth it

Of course, it’s not just laptops and larger hardware – iPhone parts are expensive. About 3 months into my iPhone 6+ the headphone jack died, but fortunately it was under warranty and was replaced in full. My wife recently dropped her iPhone 6 face down on a rock and the impact was right on the front camera. The camera was toast and the screen looked like a cobweb. I had shrugged off purchasing AppleCare for the iPhone, but we got lucky this time, the front camera comes attached to the screen replacement and the fix was only $109.

Will I purchase the extra coverage next time? I’m not sure. Right now, AppleCare+ for iPhone is $99 and you have a service fee ($79 for iPhone 6) for accident repair. So at $109 (what we paid to replace the screen) minus $79 (breakage fee), you’d have to break the screen more than twice per phone for it to be worth it (if screen damage is the only issue).

At $198 to cover 2 iPhones, it might still be worth the risk to not get the coverage, if the devices are in careful hands and you tend to replace them every 2 years anyway. If there’s a history of repeat breakage, it might best to pony up for Applecare+ and not have to sweat it the next time you or someone on your plan has to take their iPhone back to the genius bar.

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