Love or loathe Apple, their iPhone launches always provoke discussion. This time around we've debated the loss of the tried-and-tested headphone jack but regardless, social media was alive with people using and celebrating their shiny new gadgets at the weekend.
With prices for the iPhone 7 starting at £599 though, these are expensive pieces of kit to be walking around with. And if you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you'll want to take good care of it. Stephen investigates options to protect against damage, loss and theft.
Dropping phones is not the exclusive preserve of the clumsy. It happens to the best of us. A cracked screen is commonly the result, but any damage sustained to the body of your phone can cause upset. And it can be expensive to repair. A replacement screen can set you back more than £140 through Apple.
So consider a screen protector. It won't stop your screen from breaking, but will save it from scratches that could be sustained in pockets or bags. It'll also hold your screen in place should it get cracked and could prevent the phone being rendered useless by the damage. If nothing else, it could buy you enough time to book a repair. Be sure to read reviews and get get a decent one and fit it as per the instructions.
A phone case will also add a degree of protection against knocks and scrapes. The negative is that you hide much of the lovingly-crafted design of the phone, so this is something of a personal choice. They're available in a huge range of designs and materials though, so you should be able to find one to suit your tastes. Cases also add a degree of protection from splashes, not that that should be a problem for the new waterproof iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus!
Mobile phones are so much more than pieces of hardware these days. We store all sorts of personal data on them which - if your phone breaks or is stolen - could be lost forever. So make sure that you use tools like iCloud Drive, Google Photos or Dropbox to regularly back up your photos, contacts and anything else on your phone that you'd miss if you couldn't access it.
Apps and music downloaded from legitimate stores can always be downloaded again, but photos of family might be irreplaceable.
All Apple hardware comes with a one year warranty. For iPhone, this gives 90 days of telephone support and will cover you for any workmanship or material defects to the phone or any of the original accessories supplied with it. This is provided that you've used the iPhone in accordance with the instructions and haven't plugged in any non-Apple approved accessories. It doesn't include accidental damage, cracked screens or water damage.
All you need to do to claim on your warranty is make an appointment at your local Apple Store and take the phone in to the Genius Bar.
You can extend the protection offered by Apple's warranty by taking out AppleCare+ for iPhone. This is an insurance product, bought directly from Apple. This gets you telephone support for your iPhone and Apple's own apps (such as FaceTime, Mail, Safari and Calendar) and extends your hardware warranty to two years. But also adds up to two incidents of accidental damage (subject to excess). It doesn't cover for lost or stolen devices though.
As with warranty claims, all you need to do to claim is make a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store.
Credit card protection
If you buy your new iPhone offline and pay on a credit card, your new purchase will be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if you've ordered your new iPhone from a company and it doesn't turn up or it arrives broken and the supplier won't resolve the situation to your satisfaction, you can make a claim to your credit card provider.
Some credit cards also offer Purchase Protection, which could give you the option to make a claim for damage sustained within a certain period after purchase. Check with your card provider to see if you have this additional protection.
Your home insurance may provide a degree of protection for your iPhone. Your contents cover is likely to provide help should your home be burgled and your iPhone stolen. Similarly, you should be able to claim if it's damaged in a house fire or flood. If you have accidental damage cover, that could provide for any unfortunate iPhone accidents at home. If you have cover for items taken out of the home, check whether your phone is included.
As always, you need to read your policy document to understand exactly what level of cover you have - there are often specific conditions with phones and other gadgets. Keep an eye out for exclusions related to data and apps stored on the phone and how your phone will be repaired or replaced should the worst happen.
Insurance from mobile networks
If your iPhone was bought with a network contract, you'll probably have been given the option of adding insurance. This is likely to be paid monthly with your line rental and any other fees. There are usually levels of cover available, one for damage and another covering all eventualities including theft and loss.
These products are all underwritten by insurance companies, so check to make sure that they meet your needs. If you travel abroad regularly, check whether you're covered worldwide. And see if there are any limits to the number of claims you can make on the policy.
Insurance bundled with other financial products
You may already have mobile insurance that covers - or could cover - your iPhone. Many added value bank accounts (ones that charge a fee and come with additional benefits) offer mobile insurance as part of the package. If you have this, be sure to check whether or not you're required to register your handset with the insurer when checking through all the usual policy details.
Mobile or gadget insurance
If you've got multiple phones or gadgets in your home, a standalone mobile or gadget insurance policy might be an option to consider.
Gadget policies can be slightly more expensive than other options, but you'll be able to get cover for all your gadgets and phones rather than just one, so it could work out better value than taking out separate insurance policies for each.
Remember to check that the cover is adequate for your needs and remember to check the policy excess - sometimes this can be higher for "premium" phones, which the new iPhone definitely is!
Regardless of how you buy your iPhone - up front offline, or from a network - it's worth a lot of money. Would you be able to replace yours if it was damaged or stolen? One - or a combination of - these options may help. If you're the type of person who takes great care of their phone and upgrades to the latest iPhone every year, perhaps the warranty and a case would be sufficient. But if you're a butterfingers who drops their phone with alarming regularity, you may need something more than AppleCare+!
Our mobile phones are becoming increasingly important to the way we live our lives - and the iPhone is pioneering much of that change. And the more we come to rely on them, the more we need to guard against the possibility of damaging or losing them.
If you have any other tips for how to protect an iPhone, let us know via Twitter.
Image credit: Bulatnikov / Shutterstock.com
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