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.

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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… Read more »

Lee Dronick

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.


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.

Lee Dronick

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.