From now until April 3, iTunes and App Store customers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and a few other countries can get an extra 10 percent in store credit when adding up to $200 to their Apple ID (or the equivalent in local currency).
While it may seem like sort of an odd deal with everything else that’s going on in the world right now, it’s actually pretty timely when you think about it, since with more folks staying home it’s a good incentive to rent or purchase media content from the iTunes Store, or perhaps even take the plunge into a subscription to Apple Music, Apple Arcade, or Apple TV+, since you’re effectively getting a 10 percent discount on any spending up to $200 — provided of course you add the money to your account in advance.
Apple last offered this deal prior to Black Friday last year, although we didn’t really see it as a Black Friday sale, but rather a similar opportunity for customers to stock up on iTunes media and App Store apps in preparation for the holiday season.
What Can I Use It For?
Adding money to your Apple ID is basically the same as purchasing an iTunes or App Store Gift Card and redeeming it. The funds are added as a credit balance on your account that can be used for all digital purchases from Apple.
This not only includes individual purchases of things like apps, movies, TV shows, music, and books, but also any subscriptions that are billed through your Apple ID, including not only Apple’s own services like Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+ but also third-party subscriptions that are billed through iTunes and even in-app purchases.
Basically, when it comes to digital purchases from the iTunes Store or App Store, any credit balance on your Apple ID is used up first. Once that credit balance runs out, whatever is left over goes to your normal payment method, even if that ends up being a split payment combining store credit and a credit/debit card payment (in fact, the Amazon trick for splitting payments that we shared earlier this year can also be used on the iTunes Store and App Store in a similar manner by converting your smaller gift cards into Apple ID credit).
What It Can’t Be Used For
Note that in the same way that Apple differentiates between iTunes Gift Cards and Apple Store gift cards, an Apple ID balance can only be used for digital purchases, not purchases of physical items.
This means that you won’t be able to put this 10 percent bonus toward a new iPad Pro or MacBook Air, and there’s no way to convert it back to cash either. Once it’s on your account, you’ll have to spend it on digital items through the iTunes Store, App Store, or Apple subscriptions. There’s no time limit on your Apple ID balance, however, so you could conceivably just top it up and let it be whittled away to pay for a monthly Apple Music subscription over the course of a year or two, still effectively resulting in a savings of 10 percent by pre-paying.
An Important Note on Family Sharing
If you’re part of a Family Sharing group, it’s important to keep in mind that Apple ID credit is not shared among family members. This is true even if you’re the family organizer.
Despite the fact that it’s the family organizer’s payment method that’s normally used to pay for purchases for everyone in the family, this does not apply to the family organizer’s Apple ID Balance. Any Apple ID Balance on any family member’s account, including the organizer’s, is used only by that family member.
So in other words, if you add $200 to your Apple ID Balance (and get the $20 bonus), it will only be used for items purchased with your own Apple ID; purchases made by your spouse, kids, or other family members will still be billed directly to your credit or debit card. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you plan to use it, but it’s important to be aware of this limitation; if you’re expecting to top up a balance for your kids’ gaming subscriptions, you’ll need to add it directly to their Apple ID and not your own.
That said, because of the way this works, it does allow you to take advantage of the 10 percent bonus promotion for each of your family members, since their credit will be used only by them. So you could, for instance, add $200 to your family organizer Apple ID to cover the cost of an Apple Music subscription for a couple of years, and then also add another $100 (with another $10 bonus) to a kids’ account to keep their Roblox subscription going at a discount.
How To Add Funds to Your Apple ID (and Get the Bonus)
So with all of that in mind, here’s how to top up your Apple ID and take advantage of the bonus money that Apple is giving away right now.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap your name at the top of the Settings screen.
- Tap iTunes & App Store.
- Tap your Apple ID at the very top of the next screen.
- Tap View Apple ID from the dialog box that appears.
- Authenticate using Face ID, Touch ID, or your password, as necessary.
- Tap Add Funds to Apple ID.
- The next screen should show the bonus offer. If it doesn’t that means it’s either not available in your country or you’ve already redeemed it once.
- Tap the amount you want to add, either a pre-set amount or “Other” for a custom amount. The bonus amount should be shown to the right.
- Confirm your payment with Face ID, Touch ID, or your password.
- Enjoy your free money.
As noted, you’ll only be able to take advantage of this offer once, and it’s only good for up to $200 (which is the maximum you can add to your Apple ID in a single transaction anyway), so if you want the maximum $20 bonus you’ll need to put $200 on in a single transaction.
Once you’ve added money to your Apple ID Balance, you can check how much is left by repeating steps 1 through 6 above and looking for the “Apple ID Balance” line above the Add Funds to Apple ID option. You can also see it by tapping your photo in the top-right corner of the App Store or iTunes Store apps.
On macOS Catalina you can find your Apple ID Balance prominently shown in the bottom left corner of the Mac App Store or by clicking on the Account menu in the Music or TV apps.