Apple has joined the ranks of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, and HBO Max with its own exclusive streaming service. Apple TV +, which launched on November 1, 2019, offers a wide assortment of TV shows funded by Apple’s mountainous treasury.
Below you’ll find a compendium of everything we know about this ambitious service, and we’ll keep it updated as we come across credible rumors and hear from Apple itself.
Updated on 08/20/21: Updated the FAQ with the latest information on Apple TV +.
How do I access Apple TV +?
You can sign up and watch Apple TV + content through the TV app, available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. It’s also available on many game consoles, smart TVs, Roku devices, and Fire TVs. You can also watch Apple TV + in a browser at tv.apple.com.
The TV app experience, however, varies from device to device. On a Roku, smart TV, game console, or in a browser, you’ll only see content from Apple. This includes TV + content as well as Apple TV channels and any movies or TV shows purchased through iTunes or the TV app.
On iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV hardware, you’ll also see shows from other streaming services like HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The TV app extracts content from supported third-party apps on the device (Netflix unfortunately does not support the feature).
Can I watch Apple TV + shows on non-Apple devices?
Yes! You can watch Apple TV + through the TV app, available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, as well as many game consoles, smart TVs, and other streaming devices. If you have a new bundle from Samsung, LG, Sony, or Vizio, you should also be able to use AirPlay 2 to stream content directly from your iPhone or iPad to the bundle.
You can also watch the web using Safari, Chrome, or Firefox by going to tv.apple.com.
How much does Apple TV + cost?
Apple TV + costs just $ 4.99 per month, and that includes Family Sharing. This makes it one of the cheapest streaming services out there. You can renew your subscription for one year for $ 49.99.
Apple TV + is included in all three tiers of the Apple One service plan, which ranges from $ 14.95 per month to $ 29.95 per month.
Does Apple TV + offer a free trial?
Yes, but it only lasts seven days.
For a limited time, you can also get a free three-month trial if you purchase a new iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac from Apple or an authorized Apple reseller. Keep in mind, however, that canceling the free trial also cancels the service, so you can’t cancel immediately and then expect to watch Apple TV + for free for three months.
Do Apple TV + shows contain ads?
No. Although, sometimes you may see a trailer for another Apple TV + show before the show you intend to watch. This is similar to many other streaming services, and it is skippable.
What shows and movies are available now?
Apple TV + is focusing on a new library of exclusive content rather than buying access to a large catalog of TV shows or movies, so there aren’t as many of them as some other services. That said, the content is finally starting to pile up.
We maintain a detailed listing of all Apple TV + content currently available.
What are the upcoming shows and movies?
Apple has nothing but deep pockets and a desire to win. The company has spent a small fortune to acquire exclusive shows and movies from other production companies and even launched its own (Apple Studios) to produce its own.
It’s safe to say there’s plenty to do, but the pace of new releases is pale compared to rivals like Netflix.
We maintain a list of all upcoming shows, series, and movies on Apple TV +.
Does Apple release episodes once a week or drop entire seasons at once?
Apple’s approach varies. With brand new shows, Apple will often release three episodes at a time, with the rest of the season being one episode per week. Second and later seasons can start with just one per week, and some limited series (especially documentary series) make all episodes available immediately.
New releases on Apple TV + usually take place on Fridays at midnight (so you can watch the latest episode of Ted lasso at 9 p.m. Thursday night Pacific Time).
Can I download shows to watch them offline?
Yes, with a few caveats. Apple appears to place no limits on downloads of the same content on iPhones, iPads, and Macs with the same account. For example, we downloaded the same episode of Servant on these three devices via the TV app without problems.
But that’s where freedom ends. Apple does not allow you to download Apple TV + content to Apple TV, other streaming devices, smart TVs, or when watching shows in a browser.
Shows you download to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac will be available for 30 days, after which your devices will automatically delete them. You can also delete them manually through the TV app.
Unfortunately, there is no way to change the picture quality of the downloads, which can be overwhelming as some episodes can take up more than 3GB of space.
Does Apple TV + allow simultaneous streaming?
Apple TV + allows six simultaneous streams at a time, which is more than what you’ll get from any other on-demand streaming service on the market. Multiple family members with Family Sharing can all stream their own content at the same time.
How can I modify the quality of the streaming so as not to burn my data?
A single episode of an Apple TV + show like See can use more than 2 GB of your mobile data. You can prevent Apple service from hogging so much data on your iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > TV. You will see options to use cellular data or not, you will be able to switch between automatic and high quality streaming, as well as the quality of downloads on cellular.
Can you use Family Sharing with Apple TV +?
Yes. A single Apple TV + subscription can be shared with up to five additional family members.
Each family member has their own watch history and recommendations, it’s like having their own individual subscription.
Are all Apple TV + shows available in 4K?
Yes. Right from the start, Apple announced that all shows would be available in 4K HDR / Dolby Vision and that “most” shows would have Dolby Atmos sound, but that just didn’t say How? ‘Or’ What good that would be. According to Rasmus Larsen of FlatplanelsHD, Apple TV + offers the best 4K streaming quality of any service on the market. It’s so good, in fact, that 4K bitrates are better than what you’ll see in some iTunes movies.
When Larsen wrote his post in November 2019, See had the highest bit rate of all Apple TV + shows, with an average bit rate of 29 Mbps and a peak of 41 Mbps. Snoopy in space 13Mbps on average, which is impressive for a cartoon. Netflix’s 4K bitrates, by comparison, tend to peak at 16 Mbps.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire working adult life – over 20 years. I like to understand how complicated technology works and explain it in a way that everyone can understand.