written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/20/2011
Find out the truth about the AppleCare Protection Plan for the iPhone and learn if it is worth purchasing or not! Read the fine print and have it explained in this helpful article that uncovers the reality of this service.
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Introduction to Apple Care Protection Plan
The Apple Care Protection Plan is essentially an extended warranty for the iPhone. The Apple Care Protection Plan has to be purchased during the time in which the complimentary warranty is still valid (up to one year after original purchase date). The Apple Care Protection Plan is purchased separately and is not included in the price of the iPhone.
Every iPhone comes with one year of basic repair coverage and ninety days of technical support upon purchase. The plan that comes with the iPhone upon purchases is very basic. Purchasing the Apple Care Protection Plan adds comprehensive protection, according to Apple. The official user manual for the plan states that it is subject to certain limitations.
Read on to learn about the benefits and restrictions of the Apple Care Protection Plan before deciding to purchase it for your iPhone.
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What's Covered & What's Not
Learning what is actually covered by the Apple Care Protection Plan and what is not actually covered is a good first step in deciding whether or not to purchase it. The Apple Care Protection Plan would be a great product if it actually covered the majority of the problems with the iPhone. After reading the fine print it quickly becomes clear that Apple has done a nice job at charging users for an extended warranty that will essentially only assist them in the event that the iPhone begins to malfunction*.
*Malfunction does not refer to any type of failure or problem with the iPhone. Here are a few snippets from the fine print of the iPhone and a brief explanation of what they mean for you.
Damage to the Covered Equipment caused by accident, abuse, neglect, misuse (including faulty installation, repair or maintenance by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider), unauthorized modification, extreme environment (including extreme temperature or humidity), extreme physical or electrical stress or interference, fluctuation or surges of electrical power, lightning, static electricity, fire, acts of God or other external causes;
This essentially means that Apple is not responsible for any type of damage caused under any conditions. In reality this clause means that Apple does not take responsibility if your iPhone is dropped and becomes damaged. They are not responsible if it gets damaged due to a power surge nor if you leave it out in the sun or heat. They are also not responsible if you drop your iPhone in the sink, toilet or leave it out in the rain. It is worth noting that Apple has placed moisture sensors in the iPhone to ensure that you do not try to cheat them by bringing in a water damaged iPhone and saying it was not.
Problems caused by the function of a network or cellular service or viruses or other software problems introduced into the Covered Equipment;
In simple terms this means that Apple is not responsible for any issues caused by your cellular provider. In the U.S. the only official cellular provider for the iPhone is AT&T which means that if you're using your iPhone on a different cellular provider it is jailbroken and unlocked. Take a look at this article about the Legality of Jailbreaking the iPhone. Although it is legal to jailbreak and unlock the iPhone, Apple has announced that it will void your warranty which would effectively mean it voids the Apple Care Protection Plan as well.
Defects caused by normal wear and tear or otherwise due to normal aging of the product
Normal wear and tear will occur on the iPhone over time and degrade the presentation of the iPhone. This typically comes in the form of scratches on the screen, paint scraping away, broken plastic speaker covers and an ugly effect on the chrome bezel. The Apple Care Protection Plan does not cover these aesthetic problems and therefore Apple will not replace your iPhone for these reasons. Continue to page two for some more useful information about the Apple Care Protection Plan and the verdict on just how useful it is (or isn't)!
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What's Covered & What's Not (Cont.)
The majority of common problems with the iPhone are not covered by the Apple Care Protection Plan. Problems that are covered include things such as random defects (not caused by user actions or exposure to heat/water/electricity) and that is actually the only thing that is covered. The iPhone rarely has a random defect. The most common defect that occurs which cannot be blamed on users is "heat spots" on the LCD screen. These develop when the screen overheats due to a natural defect in the iPhone design. "Heat Spots" are most commonly seen on the first generation iPhone and occur after years of usage.
Most problems are simply not covered by the Apple Care Protection Plan and the few that might occur will only pop up after an extended period of time. This renders the Apple Care Protection Plan fairly useless as an investment for iPhone owners. iPhone owners should consider iPhone insurance as an alternative to the Apple Care Protection Plan.
The Apple Care Protection Plan does include technical support for the iPhone. Assuming that the plan is useless for iPhone damage, it may still prove useful for the technical support. A quick review of the technical support coverage will shed some light on the situation. These are some things that are not covered:
Your use of or modification to the Covered Equipment, the iPhone OS or iPhone Software in a manner for which the Covered Equipment or software is not intended to be used or modified;
Apple will not assist you with jailbreaking or unlocking your iPhone. They also will not support you with any issues that arise from jailbreaking or unlocking your iPhone. They are not responsible for helping you with anything that the iPhone is not capable of doing out of the box.
Damage to, or loss of any software or data residing or recorded in the Covered Equipment.
This means that Apple will not assist you with any type of data loss. Losing saved photos, contacts, videos, etc. is strictly your problem. Apple will not assist you or suggest any method of recovering lost data on the iPhone. The Apple Care Protection Plan offers several different options for the repair and technical support which include over the phone, by the web, visiting a local Apple Store and even by mail support.
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Conclusions About AppleCare
The Apple Care Protection Plan may seem like a good idea to iPhone owners however they should think twice before making a purchase. Most problems that arise with the iPhone will not be covered by the protection plan and will require iPhone owners to pay for regular Apple repair services or third-party repair services.
Technical support offered by the plan is decent however does not justify the $69.00 price tag. Technical support and a large wealth of information about the iPhone can be found for free on the internet in the form of chat rooms and internet forums. Apple may have an outstanding product (the iPhone) however the Apple Care Protection Plan is hardly the same.
The Apple Care Protection Plan is essentially an easy way for Apple to make more money from iPhone users. Catchy fine print and a carefully created terms and conditions statement render the Apple Care Protection Plan practically useless for iPhone owners. iPhone owners are advised to look into phone insurance for the iPhone if they expect true protection for their iPhone.
The AppleCare Protection Plan Logo is the property of Apple, Inc.