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AppleCare+ vs. SquareTrade

AppleCare+ vs. SquareTrade

Smart phones are expensive and fragile. We take them everywhere. They are subject to drops, spills, and other damage. If you “total” your iPhone 5, it will cost $229 to replace it. While it’s fortunate that you’re not paying the full cost of the device (an unlocked iPhone 5 costs $650 – $850), it’s still a lot of money. iPhones come with a 1 year limited warranty, which does not cover accidental damage. It may make sense to protect your iPhone with AppleCare+ or SquareTrade. Let’s take a look at the cost, coverage, claims, and reviews of the two extended warranty products.


  • AppleCare+ is now more expensive per incident for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Each incident now costs $99 and coverage is offered for up to two incidents. The iPhone 6 and previous models cost $79 per incident. The plan remains at $99 to extend the warranty for 1 year, offering 2 years of total coverage. AppleCare+ has also extended the purchase window. You can purchase AppleCare+ even if you bought your iPhone 6S or 6S Plus 60 days ago.

    SquareTrade no longer has a cap on incidents, however, the deductible is now $75 for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Plan prices remain the same. Plans can now be purchased if your iPhone is older than 30 days, if your device was already covered by your carrier.

    The iPhone 6S replacement cost (without an extended warranty) is $329. With the increase in replacement costs, it may be prudent to purchase an extended warranty.
  • AppleCare+ and SquareTrade both have plans for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. A two year AppleCare+ plan costs $99 and covers two incidents. Each incident adds an additional $79 service fee. SquareTrade’s coverage for the new iPhones also costs $99 for a two year plan, but covers three incidents at $75 per claim. Overall, SquareTrade is still a better deal, unless you need support for software issues. AppleCare Plus offers support for iOS and Apple’s apps.
  • SquareTrade now offers a $25 discount on iPhone 5S and 5C extended warranties. This puts the price back down to $99 for a 2 year plan.
  • After the release of the iPhone 5S and 5C, SquareTrade increased the price of their protection plans for all iPhones. A 2 year plan now costs $124. While this is a modest increase, it may make AppleCare+ more appealing for some. SquareTrade still covers up to 4 incidents, which is twice as many as AppleCare+.


AppleCare+ and SquareTrade are comparably priced. Apple charges $99 for 2 years of coverage. The plan must be purchased within 30 days of the acquiring the device. SquareTrade costs $99 for 2 years, but also offers a monthly payment option and a 3 year plan. The monthly fee will end up costing more. At $7.99 a month for 24 months, one will pay almost twice as much for the same coverage. This is only a good option for people with cash flow issues. The 3 year plan is an excellent deal, priced at $129.

Unlike AppleCare+, SquareTrade offers coverage for any iPhone, regardless of purchase date. Simply download the SquareTrade app from the AppStore. The app will calculate the cost of the protection plan. Their app works for any iPhone, whether it is brand new or not. It’s an innovative and convenient way to purchase the product.

SquareTrade and AppleCare+ allow users to cancel the policy. Funds are refunded pro-rata. This is great if your iPhone is stolen or lost, or if you upgrade to a new device before your warranty expires. AppleCare+ adds a $25 or 10% cancellation fee, charging the lesser of the two. Both plans offer a full refund if cancelled within 30 days.


AppleCare+ and SquareTrade provide different levels of coverage. SquareTrade covers the actual device better than AppleCare+. AppleCare+ covers the included accessories (headphones, charger), as well as offering phone-based support for the duration of the plan. Phone support assists with issues such as connecting to a WiFi network, using iCloud, and using Apple’s iPhone apps.

Both plans cover accidental damage. This includes drops, spills, cracked screens, damaged pixels, WiFi failure, dead batteries, and broken dock connectors. Neither plan covers theft or loss. You must rely on the “Find My iPhone” app or law enforcement.

Deductibles are similar for both protection plans. AppleCare+ charges $49 and SquareTrade costs $50 per incident. Both limit the number of incidents, with SquareTrade providing twice as much coverage. AppleCare+ limits coverage to 2 incidents. SquareTrade will cover up to 4 incidents. If you have the 3-year protection plan, you are still limited to 4 incidents. For $30 more, this seems reasonable.


One would assume that Apple has an advantage when it comes to claims. After all, there are over 400 Apple stores throughout the world. SquareTrade matches this by reimbursing customers for repairs serviced at the Apple Store. Furthermore, SquareTrade offers 24/7 claims and next day replacement of your iPhone, via overnight shipping. They understand that some people have their lives on their iPhone! Apple does offer 24/7 claims and an “express” service, but it takes 2-3 days for a replacement to be shipped. For many people, this is unacceptable. SquareTrade is clearly superior at handling claims, especially if you don’t live near an Apple store.

AppleCare+ vs. SquareTrade


SquareTrade fares better than AppleCare+ in customer reviews and other ratings. SquareTrade gets 4.5/5 stars on Apple’s AppStore, 4.9/5 on Google Reviews, 4.7/5 on Amazon, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. AppleCare+ gets 4/5 stars on Amazon and only 3/5 stars on Epinions. AppleCare+ is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, however, Apple is a well-known and reputable corporation.

SquareTrade Is Better

SquareTrade is the better protection plan. Although they charge $1 more for the deductible, SquareTrade allows 4 incidents of accidental damage. That’s twice as many as AppleCare+. Furthermore, they will replace your iPhone the next day or allow you to take it to the Apple store. SquareTrade also gives you a better refund if you cancel. They don’t charge a cancellation fee. This makes the 3 year plan more appealing. For all these reasons and their excellent customer support, SquareTrade has better reviews. It’s not easy to beat Apple, and AppleCare+ is a good option, however SquareTrade is clearly the better choice.

AppleCare+ is only recommended if you need the phone support and protection for the included iPhone accessories (headphones and charger). Keep in mind, you can always bring your iPhone to an Apple store to get help. The headphones and charger are inexpensive. If Fido chews up your headphones, will you really pay the $49 deductible to replace them? These benefits are not compelling.

Extended Warranty Worth It?

Extended warranties are not for everyone. If you are accident prone, active, and take your device everywhere, it’s a good option. If you have small children who use your iPhone to play games, it’s a great idea. Pets are also known to destroy electronic gadgets. Both AppleCare+ and SquareTrade cover these types of damages. You’re covered no matter who damages your iPhone.

The cost of a 2 year warranty and 1 incident is about $150. Compare that to the cost of replacing your iPhone — $229. It’s possible to damage the device multiple times. A manufacturing defect could surface after the 1 year limited warranty expires. There’s so many things that could go wrong. An extended warranty gives you peace of mind. You can also forgo wrapping your iPhone in a case, preserving its compact form factor.

Of course, if the device is dropped and the screen is broken, the entire device won’t need to be replaced. That said, dropping a device could weaken other components. If you break your screen, an extended warranty provider will send you a replacement. This may be a refurbished model. When you send yours in, they will fix it, test it, and send it to someone else.

I dropped my iPhone once, but it wasn’t damaged. The iPhone is a very rugged device. However, it depends on the height of the fall, how it falls, and the surface it contacts. I’m not much of a butterfingers, but I was wiping fingerprints off my iPhone and it slipped. These things happen. Since people tend to take their phones just about everywhere, it makes sense to get an extended warranty.

I wouldn’t get coverage for my iPad or Mac. Some people may take their iPad or MacBook with them wherever they go. SquareTrade’s iPad plans are surprisingly less expensive than the iPhone warranty, but insuring a MacBook is quite expensive. Depending on the price, it can be over $300 for 2 years of coverage. The cost of replacement or repair will almost always be more than the cost of coverage. I recommend SquareTrade for iPhones, but iPad and notebooks might not be exposed to potential accidents. The latter require coverage depending on how you use them. I’m going to buy a SquareTrade plan for my next iPhone.


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