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How to add AppleCare+ to your early iPhone 4S order

TUAW is getting lots of queries from those who pre-ordered their iPhone 4S but were not given the option for an AppleCare+ purchase at that time; most of them ordered their phones from their carrier, rather than directly from Apple. If you're unfamiliar with the extended support program, you may wonder why this is an issue. It's because of some wording on the Apple website.

Apple's site states that "AppleCare+ must be purchased together with your new iPhone. To buy it, add it to your shopping cart during the checkout process when you purchase your new iPhone." A call to AppleCare confirms that the service is not intended for sales made directly from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. On the other hand, the Terms & Conditions document covering AppleCare+ simply says that the extended coverage must be purchased during the original one-year warranty covering the phone. Which is the real deal?

TUAW did a bit of phoning around, to local retail stores, to AppleCare customer service and to sales support. They all agreed on their advice: If you want to buy AppleCare+ to cover a phone purchased from a carrier or one where you neglected to buy it when purchasing from Apple, just walk on in to an Apple retail store within 30 days of your purchase and ask for help from any sales person. You do not have to make a Genius Bar appointment. This is a one-time exception to the policy requiring simultaneous phone & AppleCare purchasing.

The sales support representative we spoke with explained that many customers who ordered from Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T weren't aware that AppleCare+ isn't a product offered by those vendors. Because of that, Apple is waiving any restrictions for the initial launch.

As for those who ordered from the online Apple Store and weren't offered AppleCare+, several representatives agreed that the launch was a bit "overwhelmed."

If you'd like to take advantage of AppleCare+, which offers repair coverage and technical support for two years plus minimal accidental damage coverage (one supposes that Genius Bars will become far less lenient about extending courtesy repairs and replacements for these), simply head on in after purchase, once the initial fervor dies down. Accidental damage repairs will still incur a $49 charge for each incident, and you are limited to a maximum of two ADR incidents per device/policy.

AppleCare+ costs $99 and is normally purchased along with the iPhone. You can also purchase standard AppleCare for iPhone at any time during a product's initial coverage for $79. AppleCare extends your iPhone coverage and support from the default coverage time to the full coverage time of two years from the purchase date of the phone. It does not restart the warranty clock to the date of the AppleCare+ purchase, so regardless of when you buy the coverage it will not extend past the second anniversary of your phone purchase.

  • Direct number for Apple Care 800-275-2273
  • Apple Care Sales Support 800-676-2775

Thanks Kai C.

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