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Had a free Apple TV+ subscription for more than a year? You'll be charged £4.99/mth from July

Apple TV+ customers who've benefitted from a free subscription for more than a year will have to pay £4.99/mth to use the service from July - and you'll be automatically opted into the paid-for subscription, although you can cancel penalty-free at any point.  

The TV+ subscription service, which launched in November 2019, allows users to stream TV shows and films including original content, such as Ted Lasso and The Morning Show. Since its launch, Apple has offered a free one-year trial of TV+ to anyone purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac (that runs the latest operating system) either directly from Apple or from an authorised reseller. 

Apple customers are given three months from making their purchase to sign up to the free TV+ trial, which lasts a year, although it's been extended various times for some customers. The latest extension was in January 2021 when Apple warned that the free trial would end for these customers this July. Apple is also slashing the free trial for new subscribers who join from 1 July, from one year to three months. 

Below we explain what's changing, who's affected, and what you can do about it. For more top tips on how to slash the cost of your digital TV subscriptions, check out our TV MoneySaving Tricks guide.

Apple is shaking up its free TV+ subscription offer from July

Apple wouldn't tell us exactly how many customers are impacted by the shake-up, but it has confirmed the changes apply to both users with an individual account and to those with a 'Family Sharing' account, which lets you share your subscription with up to five other people. Millions of people subscribe to Apple TV+ worldwide.

Here's what's happening in the UK for those entitled to the free trial after purchasing an eligible Apple product, as listed above:

  • If you've had a free Apple TV+ subscription for more than a year, you'll be automatically rolled onto its £4.99/mth subscription in July 2021. Apple has confirmed this change will come in from your July billing date, which could be at any point between 1 and 31 July. You can check your first billing date by going into your 'Settings', which is listed under 'Subscriptions' in your online account. Some of these users who signed up at launch in November 2019 will have benefitted from the free service for 20 months by the time it ends. 
  • If you've had a free Apple TV subscription for less than a year, your free trial will end a year to the date from taking out the service. So there's no change for these customers, although it's best to diarise this end date and make a note to cancel if you don't want to pay £4.99/mth once the trial ends. 

  • If you sign up for Apple TV+ from 1 July 2021 onwards, you'll only get a three-month free trial, down from the previous one year. You will, however, still have up to three months from when you bought your device to claim the offer. 

It's important to note that the free trial begins from your Apple TV+ activation date, not from the date you purchased the Apple device. So if you activated your trial on or before 30 June 2021, you'll still receive a one-year free trial, but if you activate your trial from 1 July onwards, you'll receive three months free. 

Non-Apple users or Apple customers with a device purchased before November 2019 can also take out Apple TV+ but in this instance they will only get a seven-day free trial, after which it will cost the usual £4.99/mth.

If you're unhappy, you can cancel penalty-free at any time

When you claim the free offer, you agree to the £4.99/mth subscription in advance, which will begin immediately after your free trial period ends and will automatically renew each month until cancelled. You can, however, cancel at anytime penalty-free by going to the 'Settings' option of your online account.

If you're still within the free trial period, bear in mind you MUST cancel at least 24 hours before the trial ends otherwise you may still be charged. If you cancel during your free trial your access to Apple TV will end immediately and you will lose the remainder of the free trial. You also won't be able to reactivate the free trial, meaning if you re-subscribe, you'll have to pay the £4.99/mth fee straight away.

If you roll onto the paid-for service you can still cancel at any point penalty-free and continue to use the service until your next billing date, but you will pay for the month/s used in the meantime. 

You can only take out the free trial once - regardless of how many new Apple products you buy - as it's linked to your Apple ID account.

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