Alongside the rollout of the iPhone 7, Apple has made its AppleCare+ extended warranty program a better deal.
Originally, AppleCare+ cost $99, and the accidental damage fee to replace a cracked screen, for instance, was an additional $79. With the release of the iPhone 6s last year, Apple increased both prices, raising AppleCare+ to $129 and the accidental damage fee to $99. (See “Comparing U.S. iPhone Plan Costs in a Contract-Free World,” 11 September 2015.)
The base AppleCare+ fee remains at $129 this year, but Apple is now being more generous toward its AppleCare+ customers, offering screen repairs for only $29. The new price applies to every iPhone from the iPhone 5 all the way to the iPhone 7 Plus. That seems much more reasonable given the cost of third-party screen replacement options. If you’ve damaged your iPhone beyond just cracking the screen, the AppleCare+ repair cost will be $99, or $49 for an iPhone 5.
If you don’t have AppleCare+, the screen replacement fee is $149 for Plus-sized iPhones and $129 for smaller models. For just screen replacement for one of Apple’s smaller iPhone models, then, the price is essentially the same regardless of whether or not you have AppleCare+. Repairing the screen on a Plus-sized iPhone is a bit more expensive without AppleCare+, and out-of-warranty repair costs for additional damage are higher yet, ranging from $269 to $349. They’re still significantly cheaper than a brand-new iPhone.
Whether or not AppleCare+ is worthwhile depends on how you treat your iPhone. I tend to be hard on my phones, so I opted for AppleCare+ with my iPhone 7 Plus. I also didn’t have much choice, since I signed up for the iPhone Upgrade Program, which has AppleCare+ rolled in. However, if you’re not as clumsy as I am and don’t have a small child occasionally using your iPhone, the out-of-warranty screen replacement costs are low enough that it may not be worth paying for AppleCare+.