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What iPhone AppleCare Doesn’t Cover

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A Broken iPhone

With so many cell phone users moving to the iPhone (thanks, Verizon), one thing lost among the hype is how fragile the darn things are. If you drop your iPhone, or spill something on it, or someone steals it… Guess what: an AppleCare plan won’t help you.

Do you own an iPhone? Congratulations. You possess one of the biggest single targets of the modern thief. Apple doesn’t provide statistics on the number of iPhones that are stolen every day or month or year, but I’d bet real money it’s in the thousands (if not tens of thousands) per year. And at its hefty price tag, it just plain sucks that more three-quarters of all iPhone failures occur due to accidental damage.

Apple loves to hype its AppleCare subscription plan as the best option for maintenance and repairs to its products. But when it comes to major damage inflicted on your iPhone, Apple would rather you just buy a new one. There’s an entire section in the AppleCare Terms & Conditions about all of the things that AppleCare doesn’t cover, and it’s a surprisingly extensive list. Apparently, there’s not much middle ground between “functional” and “broken.”

So what are you supposed to do if your iPhone’s glass screen breaks? Or if you spill coffee or soda on your iPhone and it shorts out? What if you leave your phone in the car and it turns out to be a hotter day than you expect? Or what if your screen becomes so scuffed and scratched that you can barely see what’s on it? Dents in the plastic? What if you drop it in the toilet? (Don’t laugh, it happens to loads of people.) Or worst of all, what if somebody pickpockets it right off of you?

For the things that Apple doesn’t cover, you may want to consider an alternative to AppleCare, like phone insurance. For less than $100 a year, a good insurance carrier can protect you from loss or damage, and even provide cash for phone repairs or replacement.

Is it worth it? That’s up to you. If you’re the most careful, cautious person in the world who protects his iPhone better than you protect your children, then you might be okay without insurance. But for the rest of us, phone insurance could be the difference between keeping your iPhone or (gasp!) having to downgrade to a regular old dumbphone.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

3 thoughts on “What iPhone AppleCare Doesn’t Cover

  1. I’ve gone through three generations of iPhones always passing on the older ones to family members and all are still working.

    Insurance may be good for broken internals. You can probably replace the glass for less than the cost of insurance, especially if you do it yourself. Just Google iphone glass repair.

    One nice thing about iPhones is that there are so many of them a small industry has sprung up to repair them. You can usually find someone local to take of this for you.

  2. What this story fails to cover is the *numerous* cases where Apple has repaired or replaced broken screens and shorted out iPhones, the Terms and Conditions notwithstanding. I’ve never damaged any of my iPhones, but know firsthand of friends who have and were surprised and delighted by Apple. I’ve read numerous cases of this on forums and blogs as well. Kudos, Apple.

  3. If you have an American Express card, it’s a good idea to use it to purchase your iPhone. Under certain circumstances, AmX will replace your stolen iPhone. You must file a police report to be eligible. Check w/ AmX to learn what the exemptions are. Last I checked, the iPhone had to be relatively new and proof of purchase date was required.

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