AppleCare+ screen replacement fee dropped to $29, water damage covered

AppleCare+ protection coverage makes a lot more monetary sense now.

​Deeply scratched iPhone 7 camera lens cover.

Deeply scratched iPhone 7 camera lens cover. (Image: JerryRigEverything)

Last year, when I broke down the costs for iPhone screen replacement, it made little sense to purchase AppleCare+. This year, Apple dropped the screen replacement fee from $99 to $29, so AppleCare+ protection coverage makes a lot more monetary sense.

The new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus also have an IP67 water- and dust-resistance rating, which is great for spills and accidents. However, be aware that the standard Apple one-year warranty does not cover water damage. The AppleCare+ plan does include this coverage, so if you plan to use your iPhone -- against all recommendations -- under the water, then you should definitely purchase the AppleCare+ coverage.

As Apple did with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, purchasing an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus through the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program includes the entry fee for AppleCare+. Apple posted a breakdown in fees for your iPhone, as shown in the image below.

Image: Apple

Now, let's take a closer look at your new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus with multiple incidents. As you can see, if you break more than the display, including water damage, then it makes perfect sense to purchase AppleCare+. There is a difference in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus fees without AppleCare+ coverage. Values in parentheses are cumulative costs.

Without AppleCare+ (screen only) With AppleCare+ protection (screen only) Without AppleCare+ With AppleCare+ protection
Entry fee $0 $129 $0 $129
Replace 1st broken device $149/$129 ($149/$129) $29 ($158) $349/$319 ($478/$448) $99 ($228)
Replace 2nd broken device $149/$129 ($298/$258) $29 ($187) $349/$319 ($827/$767) $99 ($327)
Replace 3rd broken device $349/$319 ($647/$577) $349/$319 ($536/$506) $349/$319 ($1176/$1086) $349/$319 ($676/$646)

It's pretty clear that water damage and other damage -- other than screen damage -- without AppleCare+ means you will likely pay more than the device value with two incidents. The table also shows that it's still less expensive than a new iPhone to purchase AppleCare+ if you break your iPhone three times.

AppleCare+ covers two incidents in the two-year coverage period. If you break your display once and then damage your replacement, you will revert to the out-of-coverage fees for any further incidents. AppleCare+ does not protect you for theft or loss.

Given the expensive initial cost of the iPhone and the parity reached with one screen replacement, I am likely going to purchase AppleCare+ for my phones. The water resistance means I plan to use my iPhone 7 Plus while running and in inclement environmental conditions, so the peace of mind gained from possible damage due to water may be worth the cost of AppleCare+.

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