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If you were quick to take advantage of Apple’s one free year of Apple TV+ last fall, it seems that these subscriptions won’t yet be coming to an end after all, as Apple is now offering a bonus extension into February 2021 for all of those early free Apple TV+ subscriptions.
Apple shared the news of the decision with Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch yesterday, noting that basically any subscriptions that would otherwise be ending before January 31, 2021, will now be extended into February.
It’s actually an interesting move, as Apple isn’t necessarily giving away a full three months to everybody who signed up for the free year. Rather, it’s simply extending the end date for early adopters to ensure that nobody’s subscription ends any sooner than next February.
To recap, last year, Apple announced that it would be offering a free year of the Apple TV+ service to anybody who purchased a new Apple device after Sept. 10 that was capable of being used to watch the service — in other words, just about any Apple device with a screen, with the obvious exception of the Apple Watch.
When Apple TV+ went live on Nov. 1, 2019, users who had already purchased devices were ready to go with the offer of a free year. However, Apple didn’t close the floodgates at that point either, and in fact, the offer is still available even today, although it can only be redeemed once per family, so it’s only available for those who have purchased an eligible Apple device in the past three months and haven’t had anybody in their family group sign up for a free year already.
In fact, users could even still sign up for the free year even if they’d already started paying for Apple TV+, as long as they met the conditions.
So those who took advantage of the offer later on — after February, that is — won’t actually see any extension at all. Of course, they’ll still get their entire free year, so some users will still have free subscriptions that run well into 2021 anyway.
As Panzarino notes, Apple is also extending the subscriptions of those users who are actually paying for Apple TV+, as long as they subscribed before November 1st, 2020.
With most of Apple’s new programming on hiatus due to the ongoing pandemic, Apple is likely making this move to ensure that subscribers have an opportunity to catch the new seasons of the latest shows before their subscriptions might otherwise expire.
For example, Apple announced this week that season 2 of Dickinson would be premiering on January 8, 2021. Still, it’s quite likely that it would have arrived much sooner had the novel coronavirus not slowed everything down. Likewise, it sounds like season 2 of Apple’s flagship series, The Morning Show, has only just recently gone into production.
How It Works
In short, it looks like Apple is making sure that nobody’s Apple TV+ subscriptions will expire before next February, whether they’re paying for them or not.
Subscribers who are still on the free one-year plan will simply have their end date extended to February 2021, while those who are paying monthly will receive store credit for $4.99 (or whatever your local currency equivalent is) for each of the three additional months. Like any other Apple credit, this can be spent on anything in the iTunes Store, App Store, or any other Apple subscription.
Notably, you don’t need to do anything to take advantage of this. Panzarino notes that Apple should be sending out emails to customers to announce the details very soon. Still, for the most part, it’s just going to happen automatically — free subscribers will see a new end date. Those who are paying for Apple TV+ already will see the credits added automatically to their accounts.
However, users whose free one year offers already extended beyond February won’t see any changes at all. Again, Apple isn’t so much giving away three free months in general as it’s just making sure that nobody’s subscriptions end before February of next year.
The Free Year Deal Will Continue
Interestingly, Panzarino also shares that Apple has no plans to stop offering up a free year of Apple TV+ for those who purchase new Apple devices, and it will likely continue along the same lines as before.
Even right now, if you purchase any Apple device that can be used to watch Apple TV+ — whether it’s a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or even just an iPod touch — you’re eligible for one free year of Apple TV+, as long as neither you nor anybody else in your Apple Family Sharing group has already taken advantage of the offer.
As the plan stands right now, any device that Apple still sells is considered eligible, so even if you had purchased an iPhone 8 last September, you qualified for the free year of Apple TV+. This same policy will likely continue, meaning that both buyers of the latest iPhone 12 Pro models and those purchasing last year’s iPod touch will both still be eligible to claim a free year of Apple TV+.