Protecting Your iPhone

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #357

I haven’t always been a fan of protective cases for my iPhones. I used to believe that a case—any case—obscured the natural beauty of the iPhone. But after one iPhone got scratched and I cracked the screen of another, I changed my tune.

First Line of Defense: Tempered Glass

These days my iPhones go into a protective case on day one, but only after I apply a tempered glass screen protector.

I tried a number of expensive name brand glass screen protectors that came with free replacements. But I soon realized that it was a lot less expensive to buy a multi-pack of off-brand glass protectors at For example, I recently ordered a three-pack of JETech Screen Protector Tempered Glass Film, which had a 4.5-star rating and 1,600 reviews, for just $3.98.

At less than $3 each, glass protectors like these have saved my bacon countless times.
At less than $3 each, glass protectors such as these have saved my bacon countless times.

So far they work at least as well as more expensive products at a fraction of the price. (Note that the current deal is the same price but for only two protectors… still a bargain in my humble opinion.)

Screen Replacement is Expensive

With Apple’s screen replacements starting at $129 (for iPhone SE, 5S, or 5C) to a whopping $329 (for iPhone XS Max or 11 Pro Max), I am convinced that my inexpensive glass screen covers have saved me hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in broken screens. I’ve cracked or broken a handful of these inexpensive protectors, but so far have had no damage whatsoever to my iPhone’s screen.

Save Money Tomorrow; Buy AppleCare+ Today

But, while glass screen protectors have saved my bacon several times over the years, there is one other precaution I take with all of my iPhones (and other small devices)—AppleCare+. While I don’t get it for my desktop Macs, I do get it for most of my portable Apple products, especially iPhones.

AppleCare+ is Apple’s insurance plan for its products. You can buy it for your iPhone at any time within the first 60 days for $130–$200 (one-time payment) depending upon your iPhone model.

The main reason I recommend it is that if you do break your iPhone’s screen, you’ll pay just $29 to have it repaired, instead of the $129–$329 it would cost without AppleCare+.

And, other repairs are a flat $99 per incident rather than the $149–$599 they’d cost without AppleCare+.

Finally, if you add the additional loss and theft protection for a one-time payment of $70–$100, you’ll pay only $199–$269 your iPhone is lost or stolen. With iPhones now selling for as much as $1,449, it’s a small price to pay if you are likely to lose or destroy your iPhone.

So… while I usually recommend against extended warranties, which are often a huge money-maker for the manufacturer, I recommend AppleCare+ for iPhones for all of the reasons above.

If, on the other hand, you’re careful with your iPhone and don’t ever break or lose them, you could save a small fortune over the years by not buying AppleCare+.

On the other, other hand (assuming you have three hands), a single accident or theft could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Which is why I get AppleCare+ for all of my iPhones.

4 thoughts on “Protecting Your iPhone

  • I agree on both. I didn’t see a reason to get a screen protector. I had one on my SE, but early on we parted ways. Since then the phone has been fine without one. But the 11 I’m planning on getting has a much bigger screen, a bigger target. Also, just this week I noticed some fine scratches in the screen of my two year old iPad. Not a clue where I picked those up, the iPad has a case with a screen cover and is carried in a padded nylon protective bag when I’m not using it. Somehow though it got scratched. My Phone on the other hand is out in “the wild” more and is often carried in a pocket with keys, cough drops, and who knows what else. A screen protector is definitely going to be on my list of accessories, along with a good protective case.

    And yes, I used to never get AppleCare. Saved a lot of money back when I was getting a new desktop Mac every few years. But now with the advent of small, portable, painfully expensive, devices that travel with me I always get AppleCare. One slip and fall accident might not hurt me, but could very well be exceedingly expensive anyway.

    1. I am careful about my iPhone into a pocket with my keys or my change purse which as zipper. I will usually put into a pocket by itself, or the inside pocket of my sports or suit coat. When wearing my Levi’s I usually have the iPhone in a belt pouch.

      1. I’ll probably go with a belt pouch as well. Plus a case. Below you mentioned the OtterBox. I have my SE in one of those, the older design thick rubber and hard plastic frame one. It’s done a great job of protecting the phone. Not sure if I will get an OtterBox for my 11, but it is the leading candidate right now.

  • Today we upgraded my wife’s iPhone 7 to an iPhone 11. She wanted a clear case to show of the phone’s color and she picked an Apple one. It is too slick so will return it for a clear Otter Box which has a grippy edge.

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