Free One-Year Apple TV+ Trials Are Coming to an End (Act Fast If You Haven’t Claimed Yours Yet)

Apple TV Plus summer 2021 preview Credit: Apple
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If you’ve been holding off on cashing in your free year of Apple TV+ you may want to act fast, as Apple is preparing to reduce the free trial period to only three months.

When Apple launched Apple TV+ almost two years ago, it came with a rather generous offer of a free year of service for customers who purchased any currently sold Apple device capable of viewing the service. This meant not only the then-new iPhone 11, but even the iPhone 8 (which Apple was still selling back then), or more affordable devices like the Apple TV and iPod touch.

Basically, if you bought an Apple device with a screen and the Apple TV app on it, you could opt in to get Apple’s fledgling streaming service for a full year at no extra cost. In fact, even paying users could convert to the one-year free trial promotion after buying a qualifying Apple device.

Apple has continued this promotional offer until now, but it looks like the free ride may be coming to an end — or at least getting a lot shorter.

This week, Apple updated its website with a note that only Apple devices purchased before June 30 will quality for a free year of Apple TV+. According to the fine print, devices purchased after that will only quality for a three-month offer instead.

Eligible devices activated July 1, 2021 or later will qualify for offers of 3 months free Apple TV+, while those activated on June 30, 2021 or earlier will qualify for offers of 1 year free Apple TV+.

That said, it seems to be pretty clear that this is based on when a device is first activated, and not necessarily when you choose to redeem the free trial. This means that as long as you purchase a new Apple device before June 30 and take it out of the box and set it up, you’ll still be able to quality for a free year.

As before, however, you’ll still only have up to three months to claim the offer. This means that the latest anybody can sign up to get a free year of Apple TV+ would be September 30, 2021 — and only for those users who activated a new device right on the last eligible date of June 30.

This list of qualifying devices does remain basically the same, however, which includes “Any new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac capable of running the latest iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS, from Apple or an Apple authorized reseller.” Basically, if you can watch Apple TV+ on it, you’re good.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a one-per-family offer, so if you or anybody in your family has previously claimed the one year of Apple TV+ service, you technically won’t be able to take advantage of it again, no matter how many new Apple devices you’ve purchased in the last year.

Only one offer per Family, regardless of number of devices purchased.

That said, we have heard some reports from users who have been able to sign up for another free year using a different Apple ID on the same Family Sharing plan, but only if there is no active Apple TV+ subscription.

In other words, if the first person cancels their Apple TV+ free trial, another user in the same Family Sharing group may be able to claim the free trial under their Apple ID, and continue sharing it with the entire family. This is definitely not officially permitted by Apple, so your mileage may vary.

The Free Ride Is Also Ending

For those who have already been taking advantage of Apple’s extended free trial period, it looks like this will be coming to an end around the same time.

Although Apple is still offering a full year for anybody who purchases an eligible Apple device before June 30 and signs up within three months, the company had actually extended the original one-year trial period to the point where anybody who took advantage of the offer when Apple TV+ debuted on November 1, 2019 has been enjoying it for free ever since.

In a move that was almost certainly inspired by the global health pandemic, Apple automatically extended all free trials into February 2021, giving users up to four extra months of Apple TV+ for free, depending on when they first signed up.

Then, earlier this year, Apple offered yet another extension, this time by handing out $4.99 monthly credits to anybody who would have had a free trial expiring before the end of June. In this case, the use of account credits was intended to ensure those users who had already opted into Apple One subscriptions would also be fairly compensated.

At this point, however, it’s fair to say that we won’t be seeing any more extensions to Apple TV+. Presumably during the pandemic it was not only a nice gesture on Apple’s part to give people something to do, but it also helped to compensate for the lack of new material, since so many studios have been shuttered in the midst of lockdowns, and therefore unable to produce new shows.

That’s already set to change, though, with a fairly exciting slate of Apple TV+ content on the near horizon. Earlier this month, Apple shared a special preview of new Apple Originals coming throughout the remainder of 2021, which will see a return of critically acclaimed favourites like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso alongside several highly anticipated new shows such as Foundation and Invasion.

Here’s a quick list of what’s coming and when:

  • The Morning Show returns for its second season on September 17.
  • See gets its second-season premiere on August 27, and it’s also been renewed for a third season.
  • Truth Be Told comes back on August 20, adding Kate Hudson to the cast as a media mogul who is a childhood friend of the Octavia Spencer’s character.
  • Central Park will return on June 25.
  • Invasion, a new sci-fi drama series, will premiere on October 22.
  • Who Are You, Charlie Brown?, a documentary on the origin of the Peanuts’ gang and their creator, Charles M. Schultz, will debut on June 25.
  • Schmigadoon!, and original musical comedy series by Lorne Michaels will debut on July 16, with a cast that will include Martin Short, Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenowith, and more.
  • Mr. Corman, a comedy series created by, directed by, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt will make its global debut on August 6.

Meanwhile, Apple has already released series and season premieres for Home Before Dark, For All Mankind,The Mosquito Coast, Trying, Mythic Quest, and Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story, plus the Oprah and Prince Harry led mental health documentary, The Me You Can’t See and the David Attenborough Earth Day documentary The Year Earth Changed.

Plus, there’s a lot more to come, including the epic Isaac Asimov Foundation series, which could be Apple’s “Game of Thrones” moment, plus Masters of the Air, and the next instalment in the critically acclaimed Band of Brothers and Pacific WW2 series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO back in 2001. Apple is also working on several films with such big names as Martin Scorsese, Will Smith, and more.

With Apple’s collection of original content now hitting its stride, it’s clear that the company feels that it’s no longer necessary to lure viewers in with lengthy free trial periods, and that there’s enough here now that many more users will be willing to start paying for the service, whether directly or simply as part of an Apple One bundle.

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