Some Apple Stores test extended AppleCare+ initial eligibility

Right now, per Apple’s rules, if you buy a new Apple product that can be covered by AppleCare+, you have 60 days to sign up for the extended coverage service. But it sounds like Apple may be considering a change to the rule.

MacRumors has the report this Thursday, citing several unnamed sources familiar with the matter. According to those folks, Apple is currently testing an extended AppleCare+ initial eligibility window. The tests are currently underway at select retail Apple Stores in the United States, and the test apparently extends the initial sign-up date for the service between 61 days and up to a full year after the initial purchase date.

Apple apparently kickstarted the test just this week. Unsurprisingly it involves an extra step to be considered eligible. But the good news is that this extra step actually makes sense. According to the report, if a device owner wants to enroll in AppleCare+ beyond the initial 60 days, they will need to bring in the device for a Genius Bar appointment.

The technician assigned to the case will run some diagnostics tests, and make a visual inspection of the device, all in an effort to make sure it’s eligible for coverage. Basically, Apple wants to make sure the device isn’t already broken in some way that AppleCare+ would normally cover before the person enrolls.

We were initially told the extended eligibility was for up to two years, but another source said the period was shortened to one year.

The pilot program is rolling out to 50 or so Apple Stores in the United States, as well as all 29 locations in Canada, one of our sources said. It is unclear how long the program will remain available.

The pilot program definitely covers the iPhone, but it sounds like it also covers the iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and other devices that are normally covered by AppleCare+. This is a pilot program, though, and it sounds like only select Apple Stores are currently trialing it, so it’s possible that your local store might not be participating (for now). If you want to check it out for yourself, give your store a call and ask about the pilot program before you make the trip over there.

AppleCare+ is Apple’s extended warranty option for a variety of products, including the brand new AirPods Pro. It provides between two and three years of additional coverage beyond the standard one year warranty.

Historically, the AppleCare Protection Plan – the “original” AppleCare – was available for the Mac any time during the first year (well, first 364 days) of ownership. Apple changed that with the introduction of AppleCare+ for the Mac, aligning it to 60 days as with other devices.

This is a nice change to AppleCare+, so hopefully it rolls out into a wider launch and just becomes the default. Do you plan on checking in with your local Apple Store and trying to take advantage of the pilot program? If you do, let us know how it goes in the comments below.