I know what you’re thinking. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, you’re right. Apple TV+ is not completely free in the strictest sense of the word, but if you purchased some Apple products or services recently, you may be able to get it at no additional cost. Why? Apple is releasing its TV streaming service at a very competitive time. Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Hulu, HBO, and others are already well established in a crowded marketplace, so Apple decided that a good way to get to win eyeballs, (and future subscribers), is to give the service away for free. Here’s how that works.
Method 1: Buy Apple Devices
If you bought a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod Touch on or after September 10, 2019, you are eligible for a free year of Apple TV+. This doesn’t just apply to the latest devices like the iPhone 11 Pro, or the new 10.2-inch $299 iPad, it works for all new Apple devices, including Apple Refurbished devices and iPhones that were upgraded as part of the iPhone Upgrade program.
After you activate a new device, you have three months to start your one-year free trial of Apple TV+. At the end of your one-year trial, Apple TV+ will automatically renew at a cost of $4.99 per month. You can cancel at any time during the first year, but if you do so before your year is up, you will lose the remaining months on your subscription. So, even if you don’t like the initial offering of shows, I would recommend you set a reminder in your calendar and delay making a decision until a year from now because new shows are slated to be added on a regular basis.
To activate your free one-year subscription of Apple TV+, open the TV app on your iOS or Mac and sign up for your free subscription. Once activated you can share your subscription with up to six family members. However, this is not like sharing your Netflix password. These family members need to be part of Apple’s Family Sharing and have Apple IDs of their own so that they can log in and access the content.
Method 2: Get an Apple Music Student Subscription
Another way to get free access to Apple TV+ is via an Apple Music subscription, or to be more precise, an Apple Music Student subscription. In order to qualify for an Apple Music Student subscription, you need to be studying a bachelor degree, post-graduate degree, or equivalent Higher Education course at a University, College (U.S. only) or Post-Secondary School (Canada only). K-12 students are out of luck because they need to be on family plans.
An Apple Music Student subscription costs just $4.99 a month and can be used for up to four years at this discounted rate. To start a new subscription, you open the Music app on iOS or Mac and sign up for a free trial as a student. At the end of the trial, you will be asked to verify your student status with UNiDAYS. Once you are verified, your Apple Music Student subscription will be activated and you can sign up for your free subscription to Apple TV+ via the TV app on your device. Family sharing is not available for students who sign up for Apple TV+ via their Apple Music Student subscription. More info here.
If you already have an individual account and would like to convert it to a student account, Apple has instructions on how to do that. If you’re no longer a student or if you complete 48 months of a student subscription, your subscription automatically becomes an Apple Music Individual subscription and you lose free access to Apple TV+.
How to Watch Apple TV+
Apple have gone to great lengths to get Apple TV+ on as many devices as possible. You won’t be surprised to learn that you can watch it on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. However, you can also view it on Roku, on some Fire TV devices, and even on newer Samsung TVs. You can also watch Apple TV+ online at tv.apple.com.