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7 hidden costs of the Apple Vision Pro to factor into your XR budget

From up-to-date glasses prescriptions to protective cases and other accessories sold separately, extra Vision Pro expenses can add up fast.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
Vision Pro with notebook and WWDC23 water bottle
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

So you finally got up enough courage (and cash) to spring for Apple's new $3,499 Vision Pro spatial computing device. That was a big spend right there, but guess what? You might not be done. You could be looking at anywhere from $20 to $3,000 more in out-of-pocket expenses.

Review: Apple Vision Pro: Fascinating, flawed, and needs to fix 5 things

Before you go ahead and make that very expensive purchase, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Here are seven hidden costs of the Apple Vision Pro you might not find out about until it's too late.

1. Up-to-date glasses prescription - about $200


Apple's guidelines informing you that you need an up-to-date prescription.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

When I went to place my order for the Vision Pro, I ran into a snag. My glasses prescription was out of date. Apple's prescription lens partner, ZEISS, won't accept anything but a current prescription from an eye care professional.

That cost me an unexpected two weeks and $200. It took two weeks to get an appointment, and about $200 for the eye exam. I have a detailed guide for those ordering the Vision Pro, including a very deep dive into what you need to know and do when ordering lenses: How to order Apple Vision Pro: Tips, tricks, and my secret to a good face scan.

It's worth a read if you wear corrective lenses before you click Buy Now.

2. More storage - $200-$400 more

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The base Vision Pro comes with 256GB of storage. While you're unlikely to be running as many apps on it as you would on your iPhone, you are likely to want to access photos and videos.

You also might want to download movies right onto the device. Movies take about 4-5GB, with some taking considerably more if you're downloading a higher-res or extra-long film.

Also: Why you'll need a VPN for the Vision Pro (and other XR headsets)

For most people, especially with the fairly minimal number of apps available, 256GB is probably fine. But if you want to be able to grow with your machine over time, or you're like me and need to test a lot of software, you might want to boost storage to 512GB or even 1TB.

The boost from 256GB to 512GB will cost you an extra $200. Going from 256GB to 1TB will cost you an extra $400.

3. AppleCare+ - $499

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

AppleCare (without the plus) is the standard warranty that comes with the device and provides one year of coverage for manufacturing issues (if Apple built the device incorrectly).

AppleCare+ adds coverage for accidental damage for two years. This is essentially an insurance plan that covers the device and the accessories that come in the box with the Vision Pro.

Also: 10 reasons the Apple Vision Pro is secretly brilliant

AppleCare+ is $499, which coincidentally is the cost for the 128GB Meta Quest 3 headset. Yes, you can get an entire, quite fine VR rig for the price of the accidental damage insurance for the Vision Pro.

But wait, there's more… that you're going to have to pay.

4. Per-incident repair fee - $29, $299, $799, or $2,399

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Let's be clear. Buying AppleCare+ for $499 doesn't solve your accidental damage problems. Let's say you drop the headset and break the glass front. That $499 just allows you to request a repair.

But the repair itself will cost you $299 on top of your $499 fee. Repairs for accessories (like battery, headband, and cords) cost $29 on top of the $499 fee.

Also: I've tried Vision Pro and other top XR headsets and here's the one most people should buy

Now, here's where it gets interesting. If you crack the cover glass and you don't have the $499 AppleCare+ plan, it will cost you $799 to repair the glass. And yes, $499 + $299 is $798. So paying in advance for AppleCare+ will save you a buck.

To be fair, if you have multiple incidents, AppleCare+ will save you a few bucks over paying full price for multiple glass repairs. And Apple says that "other damage" to the device will cost you $2,399 to repair, rather than the $799 of the AppleCare+ and $299 incident cost.

I still have a few weeks to decide if I'm going to spend the extra $499 for AppleCare+, plus these fees. I'm leaning against it since I have no intention of traveling with my Vision Pro, and it will mostly live just on my desk so I can write about it. But we'll see. The clock is still ticking.

5. Protective case - $199


$17.99 instead of $199. That's quite a savings.


If you want to avoid incurring those whopping expenses, one way to keep your device safe is to store it in a protective case. This is especially important if you intend to travel with your Vision Pro.

Also: Itching to try Vision Pro's Travel Mode? Here's what to expect before you go

Apple sells such a case, but it's another $199. You can pick up an off-brand case on Amazon for all of $17.99, but reviews are mixed about quality.

Another alternative is a Spigen case. Spigen is a name fairly well know for phone cases. The case it offers is $89, but there aren't many reviews and one of the reviews that is there cautions against using it if you have lens inserts. That said, the Apple case doesn't seem to do anything special for lens inserts either. 

6. Spare battery - $199

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Battery life on the Vision Pro lasts up to two hours. If you're traveling and you want to make it through a full movie, you'll have to pick a fairly short flick, find a way to plug in your USB-C charging connection, or have a spare battery.

Also: Can you safely revive a dead lithium-ion battery? Yes - here's how

Apple does sell a spare battery. Presumably, you can buy as many as you want. The catch? You'll have to plunk down two hundred bucks (think of it as a hundred dollars per hour of usage time) for each battery.

Each spare battery does come with that fancy cord that connects it to the Vision Pro. Batteries do not come with a USB-C charging cable or power adapter.

7. Battery holder - $49


This seems like such a bad, unwieldy, uncomfortable idea.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

If you don't want to tuck your battery into your pockets (or you don't have pockets), Apple is selling a Belkin battery holder for $49.

Fortunately, there are a wide number of alternative battery holders available on Amazon. You can strap the battery to the back of your headband with this unwieldy $12 strap. You can carry it in a $14.88 over-the-shoulder case reminiscent of a Star Trek TOS tricorder sling. You can even hang the battery off your keychain (this is a really bad idea) by purchasing this $13.98 keychain case.

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