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There are already a lot of companies giving away free services in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, including several major streaming services, some of which, like HBO and AMC, are making hours of original programming available without a subscription, while others like CBS All Access are offering extended free trials.
Now it appears that Apple is getting in on the game too, unlocking several of its popular Apple TV+ original shows so that users who are spending considerably more time at home during this ongoing health crisis can enjoy them without needing to pony up for an Apple TV+ subscription.
However, Apple isn’t quite granting access to its entire Apple TV+ collection, which is perhaps a bit odd considering how relatively small it is. Viewers will be able to stream Little America, Servant, For All Mankind, and Dickinson, along with the documentary The Elephant Queen, and the kids shows Snoopy in Space, Helpsters, and Ghostwriter. These will be available to anybody, regardless of whether you currently or have ever subscribed to Apple TV+.
To be clear, you’ll still need to sign in to the TV app on your device with an Apple ID, but you won’t actually need to take out a subscription to watch any of these shows, which are now appearing in the Free for Everyone section — an areas which also includes content from other Apple TV Channels Services like HBO and Epix, many of whom are offering their own promotions.
You’ll still need a subscription if you want to watch some of Apple’s more popular shows like The Morning Show or Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, or movies like The Banker, but if you haven’t already tried Apple TV+, the standard seven-day trial is still available, which would likely give you more than enough time to binge-watch those shows for free too, especially right now. Apple’s other most recent Apple TV+ releases also still require a subscription. However, while only seven shows and a single movie may not seem like much, it does represent a third of Apple’s catalog of original content.
The timing is also interesting as it’s already expected to be a big month for Apple TV+, with five new shows set to debut in April, which is kind of a record for the company. This includes the new Chris Evans-led Defending Jacob, which Apple teased last month, plus a new Beastie Boys documentary, and a new British romcom, Trying.
While the offer is a nice gesture on Apple’s part, those who bought almost any new Apple device since last fall already get a one-year free trial of Apple TV+, so it may not be as big of a boon as the similar offers from networks like HBO, AMC, and PBS Kids, but it could help to pass the time for those who have already burned through the other catalogues, and the Apple TV+ app is actually available in a lot more places than you might expect, including Samsung and LG smart TVs, Roku devices, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as on the web.