Should you get AppleCare+ for your Apple Watch?

For all new Apple Watch and Apple Watch Nike+ purchases, users receive a one-year limited AppleCare warranty on hardware repairs and 90 days of free technical support. The company's optional AppleCare+ service plan extends the hardware warranty and technical support to two years, and adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage — though there's an additional service fee for those.

Apple Watch Hermès and Apple Watch Edition come with two years of AppleCare standard, but that can be extended to three years via AppleCare+ with the same two-incident fee. But is it worth it?

AppleCare vs. AppleCare+

Anyone and everyone who buys an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Nike+ from Apple automatically gets the standard level of AppleCare for free, which includes:

  • 1 year limited hardware warranty
  • 90 days of free technical support

Anyone who buys an Apple Watch Hermès or Apple Watch Edition from Apple also gets the standard level of AppleCare for free, though it lasts much longer:

  • 2 years limited hardware warranty
  • 2 years of free technical support

If you run into problems setting up or using your Apple Watch during the first three months of ownership (two years for Apple Watch Hermès or Edition), you can call 1-800-APL-CARE and they'll help you troubleshoot. If any part of the device fails during the first year (two years for Apple Watch Hermès or Edition), and it's not due to accidental or intentional damage, Apple will likewise replace it.

For example, if the digital crown stops spinning or the screen won't come on, you're covered. If you drop it and break it or take it in the swimming pool and short it out, you're on your own.

Unless you have AppleCare+.

AppleCare+

For an additional $49 fee, AppleCare+ for Apple Watch provides the following:

  • 2 years limited hardware warranty
  • 2 years of free technical support
  • 2 incidents of accidental damage (subject to a $69 service fee)

For $99 extra, AppleCare+ for Apple Watch Hermès and Apple Watch Edition offers:

  • 3 years limited hardware warranty
  • 3 years of free technical support
  • 2 incidents of accidental damage (subject to a $79 service fee)

This way, you get technical support from 1-800-APL-CARE for two full years (three years for Apple Watch Hermès or Edition); if, say, the strap mechanism gets stuck or the side button gets loose and it's not due to accidental or deliberate damage, Apple will likewise replace it for two years (three years for Apple Watch Hermès or Edition).

If it is due to accidental damage, like dropping and cracking the screen, or soaking and shorting the electronics, Apple will still replace it — up to two separate incidents — for the cost of an additional service charge.

AppleCare+ service fee

If you use either of the two accidental damage incidents that come with AppleCare+, there's an additional charge. Currently, that charge is:

  • $69 for Apple Watch or Apple Watch Nike+
  • $79 for Apple Watch Hermès or Apple Watch Edition

This is likely because Hermès bands and ceramic casings are slightly more expensive to service.

AppleCare+ vs. credit card benefits

Some credit cards offer warranty extensions as an incentive to use them for major electronic purchases. For example, some will offer an additional year of coverage — provided by the credit card company, not the vendor — on any purchase made on that card. Some will even cover loss or theft, which is not covered by AppleCare+.

If you don't want to pay extra for AppleCare+ and don't mind how the credit card companies handle the extra year of coverage, it's something to consider. Just check your policy carefully and make sure you're fully informed about not only what the company covers but how it covers it.

Who shouldn't get AppleCare+?

If...

  • you're tight on cash and simply can't afford it
  • you consider yourself exceptionally lucky and have never had a new device fail or get damaged
  • you have added protection from your credit card company or another source
  • you plan to buy additional or updated Apple Watches so frequently you doubt anything bad will ever have time to happe

... then you might not want to get AppleCare+.

Who should get AppleCare+?

If you...

  • don't mind paying for peace of mind
  • often find devices fail on you or you're always dropping or otherwise damaging them
  • don't have or don't trust credit card company protection
  • plan to keep your Apple Watch for more than a year

... then you might want to get AppleCare+.

See at Apple

Still undecided about AppleCare+?

If you're still not sure whether you need AppleCare+, dive into our Apple Watch help and discussion forums. Once you decide, let me know what you decided and why!

Updated September 2017: Updated with latest pricing and Series 3 information.

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