Last year, Apple added monthly payment options to some of its AppleCare+ protection plans on select devices, and now the company has decided to make them even more flexible: On Tuesday, it began offering rolling monthly subscription plans that automatically renew until canceled by the customer.
As reported by 9to5Mac, customers purchasing an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch can now continue to pay for monthly AppleCare+ coverage for as long as they like, or until Apple can no longer service the device.
The key change in the company's new AppleCare+ legal document was spotted in the following passage, which sets out the terms of Apple's monthly plans.
For Monthly Plans, your Plan Term is one (1) month. Your Plan will automatically renew each month unless cancelled as set forth in the "Cancellation" Section 9 below, including in the event that Apple is no longer able to service your Covered Equipment due to the unavailability of service parts, in which case Apple will provide you with thirty (30) days' prior written notice of cancellation, or as otherwise required by law.
When purchasing an Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone, or iPad via Apple's online store, the change is explicit. Customers who choose AppleCare+ are now asked if they want to "Pay monthly until canceled," as opposed to paying for two years of coverage outright.
However, the subscription-style monthly plans aren't universally available on the Apple Store. For Macs, Apple TV, HomePod, and other AppleCare+ eligible products, Apple is still only offering upfront fixed term payment plans.
It's also worth noting that the monthly AppleCare+ plans do cost more than paying an upfront price. For example, an AppleCare+ plan for Apple Watch Series 5 totals $95.76 when paid monthly for two years, whereas paying for 24 months of coverage upfront costs $79.
Still, it does mean customers who want coverage beyond the two (or in some cases three) years now have the ability to subscribe and the flexibility to cancel whenever they choose.
Apple has yet to open orders for the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, so the AppleCare+ options don't show yet, but we do know that upfront pricing is going to be $149 and $199, respectively, for those models, and we can be fairly sure that the new monthly rolling plans will be extended to them, too.
Update: Apple has options to renew AppleCare+ for the iPhone SE, 6s, and 6s Plus, even though these are iPhones that Apple no longer sells, though they're not eligible for theft and loss coverage at renewal.
AppleCare renewal options are not available for older iPhones, including the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 6 and 6 Plus, but all iPads are eligible for AppleCare+ renewal.
Apple Watch Series 3, 4, and 5 models are eligible, but Apple Watch Series 0, 1, and 2 are not. More information on renewal options is available through Apple's support document on the subject.