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AppleCare Plus quietly doubled its accident protection, without charging you extra

It's great news for those who are accident-prone or have a history of breaking their phone screens.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
3 min read
iPhone 12

If you break the ceramic screen on your iPhone 12 and have an AppleCare Plus plan, you can get it fixed for $29. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

Back in September, ahead of the launch of the Apple Watch 6, iPhone 12 and a slew of other hardware, software and services products, Apple quietly made a change to its AppleCare Plus protection service plans. Instead of covering two incidents of accidental damage every 24 months, it will now cover two incidents every 12 months -- doubling the number of times you can get your screen repaired at a super discounted price. 

Most Apple devices come with a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary technical support. Purchasing AppleCare Plus for your device extends that support. You can choose to buy AppleCare Plus coverage when you purchase a new iPhone , Mac, Apple Watch or other Apple device, or within 60 days of purchase, either online, by phone or at an Apple Store.

Read more: The best phone to buy for 2020

If you're in the market for an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Mini , AppleCare Plus will cost you $8 a month, or $149 up front. Or, you can buy AppleCare Plus with Theft and Loss for $11.49 a month, or $199 up front. Under the new contract, both plans include up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months. You'll be charged $29 for screen damage or $99 for other damage. (In comparison, if you took your phone to an Apple Store to get the screen replaced out of warranty, it would cost $279.)

If you add on the Theft and Loss protection, it will cost you $149 to replace your phone if it's stolen or lost. If you buy an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, the price for AppleCare goes up to $9.99 a month, or $13.49 a month for the added Theft and Loss protection.

Whether or not you should purchase AppleCare Plus depends on a few things, including how accident-prone you tend to be with your phone, and how worried you are about it getting lost or stolen. But if you're paying between $699 and $1,399 for one of the new iPhone 12 models, it may be worth it for the peace of mind, and to save you from extra costs down the line. 

Extending AppleCare benefits is another move Apple has made to improve its services offerings. Apple's services business, including Apple Music and Apple TV Plus, rose more than 16% over the last year. Last week, Apple rolled out its new service bundle Apple One, which brings together different combinations of subscriptions including Apple Music , Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, storage service iCloud and the newly revealed Apple Fitness Plus under one price. 

Services now account for $56.3 billion of the tech giant's overall revenue, or 18%, according to Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. And they are expected to grow to 25% of that revenue in the next two years, he added. 

However, there's also reason to believe that iPhone 12 users won't need as much accidental damage protection, since the new ceramic screen on those phones is much tougher than in the past -- and CNET's iPhone 12 drop tests confirm this

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are currently on sale. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for preorder on Friday.

For more, check out how the different Apple One prices compare and could save you money, and how the iPhone 12 compares to the iPhone 11

Watch this: iPhone 12: How tough is the glass?