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AppleCare+ for iPhone 7: What’s new, and is it worth it?

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Apple has overhauled its AppleCare+ hardware coverage in the wake of last night’s iPhone 7 launch. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re worried you’ll smash your new iPhone 7 the moment you open the box, never fear: AppleCare+ has you covered. Apple has added a new screen repair option to AppleCare+, but it’s also jacked up the excess price of generic breakages.

Here are all the details on AppleCare+ in the UK and US:

What is AppleCare+ for iPhone?

Every single iPhone sold by Apple comes with a year of hardware repair coverage, courtesy of its limited warranty. You’ll also get 90 days of complimentary support.

If you buy AppleCare+, you extend this coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone.

What does AppleCare+ get you?

First off, you’ll be covered for up two incidents of “accidental damage”. However, you’ll have to pay an excess fee of £25 for screen damage, or £79 for anything else. In the US, it’s $29 for the screen, or $99 for anything else – plus applicable tax.

You also get coverage against batteries that “retain less than 80% of their original capacity”, as well as cover for the earphones and accessories bundled with the iPhone. Oh, and there’s also access to Apple’s nippy Express Replacement Service, which sees a new device shipped out “immediately”.

AppleCare+ also nets you additional technical support, including direct access toApple experts via online chat or over the phone. The online chat is a 24/7 priority access system, which means you can bother Apple employees with your trivial tech woes even in the middle of the night.

These Apple experts will also be available to help you troubleshoot software issues. That means if you have a problem with iOS, iCloud, or any Apple-branded iPhone app (like FaceTime, Mail, or Safari), then AppleCare+ means you can get quick, professional advice.

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How to buy AppleCare+ protection

Here’s the bad news: AppleCare+ costs £119 in the UK and $129 in the US, covering the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus.

To purchase AppleCare+, you have two options. You can either (1) buy it with your new iPhone, or (2) buy it within 60 days of your iPhone purchase.

To buy AppleCare+ at an Apple Store, you’ll need proof of purchase, and you’ll also have to undergo an iPhone inspection to make sure the handset isn’t already broke.

Alternatively, you can call 0800-1078-6285 in the UK or (800)-275-2273 in the US. You’ll still be required to provide proof of purchase, and also run a remote diagnostic to prove your iPhone is in working order.

FInally, there’s an option to pick AppleCare+ up online. Once again, you’ll need to run a remote diagnostic, as well as verifying your iPhone serial number. You can purchase AppleCare+ here:

Are there any catches?

As with any warranty scheme, there are some catches. Here are the main ones we’ve found:

  • You may have to pay local telephone charges for technical support calls
  • Although you can buy AppleCare+ up to 60 days after you purchase your iPhone, the AppleCare+ coverage still only lasts two years from that original iPhone purchase date
  • AppleCare+ only covers two breakages, both of which are subject to the excess fees listed earlier in this article
  • The Express Replacement Service isn’t available under the screen replacement excess fee
  • Replacement equipment may not be new, but “equivalent to new”

So nothing too shocking, but they’re all worth bearing in mind.

Is AppleCare+ worth the money?

Only you truly know whether AppleCare+ is worth the money. If you don't trust yourself not to break your phone, or you think you’ll get good use out of the technical support, it may be worthwhile.

But you have to remember that you’ll be paying £120 plus excess fees for any breakages. It’s also worth remembering that if you walk into an Apple Store, you can generally accost an employee and get advice for small technical problems completely free of charge.

Really, we’d only recommend AppleCare+ for people who aren’t competent tech users or people who often break devices.

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Watch: iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus

What do you think of the new iPhone 7? Let us know in the comments.

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