Apple Lowers iPhone Screen Replacement Costs
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+.
I recently fumbled my iPhone SE, (assume it's the same as the 5 for the purposes of this article, not sure?) Anyhow, I don't have applecare. Best Buy/Geek Squad had a pretty good deal - $109 out the door, and they actually send the iPhone to Apple to do the repairs, so it doesn't void my warranty. Also, Apple wanted me to make an appointment to come in for the repair - the soonest appt. in the entire SF bay area region was 1 week away (!!), whereas the geek squad thing happened inside of 24 hours. I have to say, that was a pretty good experience.