AppleCare has evolved quite a bit over the years. When it was first introduced, it was more or less a two-year extension of your typical one-year warranty for a relatively fair one-time payment. It recently received a slight name change (AppleCare+) and moved to a subscription-like service, making it more like an insurance policy than an extended warranty.
In the last few months, Apple has made another change to the AppleCare+ (AC+) program. Customers now have unlimited repairs. MacRumors notes that Apple recently changed its AC+ product page to show the new conditions. Previous AppleCare+ plans only covered two incidents per year. Of course, the same service fees still apply.
Whether or not unlimited repairs add value to an AppleCare plan is debatable depending on your situation. Monthly rates vary by device and model; the cheapest is $2.50 per month for coverage on an Apple Watch SE. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max plan cost the most at $13.50 per month. However, that also includes loss and theft coverage. All subscriptions have slight discounts for purchasing multiyear coverage in a lump sum.
These prices are relatively reasonable, especially for those prone to accidents. However, there are also fees attached to each claim. Shattering a screen or the back glass has a $29 “deductable.” Other accidental damage runs $99 and making a loss or theft claim bumps the cost to $149. Also, loss and theft are still only covered for two incidents per year. Most plans are relatively reasonable for peace of mind considering repairs out-of-pocket can run hundreds of dollars in most cases.
However, if you are more careful, the plans lose their value, especially on any form of Mac. Mac coverage is charged either annually or for a term of three years at a discount. Prices range from $35 per year for the Mac mini ($99 for three years) to $150 per year ($399/3yr) for a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Deductibles are also a bit higher, with screen and casing damage running $99 and anything else costing $299. There is no theft or loss coverage for computers.
The most valuable coverage would arguably be AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Ultra. It is only $5 per month ($99/yr) with a $79 service fee. For an $800 watch, that’s a reasonable price for the piece of mind it brings, especially considering that a single repair will run almost $500 as MacRumors noted. Plus at only $5 per month, it would be a long while (160 months) before your premiums exceed the cost of your Watch
Apple also markets the Ultra to those with more active and adventurous lifestyles. If you snorkel or scuba and don’t trust the Apple Watch Ultra’s WP100 rating, you might consider grabbing an Apple Care+ package.
The bottom line: Overall, unlimited repair claims are not going to add any more value to the plans for most people. If you are careful and have never broken an iPhone (or other Apple products), AppleCare+ is probably not for you. However, it might be worth considering if you have lost or damaged a device more than once, especially considering repairs and replacement prices can put a big dent in your wallet these days.