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Apple TV Plus: What is it? Should you get it? Pricing, what to watch, and more
Apple helped to launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with the Mac, and revolutionized the music industry in the 2000s with the iPod and iTunes. It jump-started the smartphone craze with the iPhone in the late 2000s. It’s even led the tablet and smartwatch markets with the iPad and Apple Watch. More recently, though, CEO Tim Cook and the team at Cupertino have gone after one of the biggest tech success stories of all time: Netflix. Their answer is Apple TV Plus (officially labelled as “Apple TV+”), a streaming service with a small but mighty library of original titles. New shows and movies are being added regularly.
If you’re confused, it may be because Apple has another product in the market called the Apple TV 4K (no Plus), which is set-top streaming hardware. There’s also an “Apple TV” app that loads onto many smart devices, whether made by Apple or otherwise.
So what is Apple TV Plus, and what does it offer? This master guide has the answers to all your Apple TV Plus questions. Want to give Apple TV Plus a try? Get it via the button below.
What is Apple TV Plus?
Apple TV Plus is a subscription streaming service competing not just with Netflix, but the likes of Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others. It’s completely ad-free except for promotions for content and add-on streaming services within Apple TV Plus. The platform features a host of original shows and movies made (or bought) under the Apple Originals program.
As we mentioned, there are several products under the Apple TV banner. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the three:
- Apple TV 4K: A set-top box that allows you to stream video from iTunes, Prime Video, ESPN, Hulu, Netflix, and many other sources. It also supports games and various other apps, such as Apple Fitness Plus. There are currently two models: a vanilla 64GB box and a slightly more expensive one with Ethernet, Thread, and 128GB of storage.
- Apple TV app: A free app/service that serves as a hub for content from various streaming services, including Apple TV Plus. It also allows individual subscriptions to certain channels, along with movie rentals or purchases direct from Apple. It’s preloaded on the Apple TV 4K, but available on many third-party devices, albeit with less functionality.
- Apple TV Plus: A Netflix-like subscription service with Apple Originals, meaning series and films produced by and/or for Apple.
Is Apple TV Plus worth it?
Let’s be clear up front: if you’re not interest in Apple’s exclusive content, Apple TV Plus isn’t for you. You won’t find staple shows like Community, Seinfeld, The Office, or I Love Lucy here, nor will you find classic movies like The Thing or Casablanca. There is some older licensed content, but it’s almost a footnote.
The original content that’s available may justify the cost, though. Some examples include the sci-fi epic Foundation, based on Isaac Asimov’s classic novels; The Morning Show, a drama starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell; See, an epic sci-fi drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard; and Servant, a horror series produced by M. Night Shyamalan.
While Foundation is gaining some more attention, the service’s best-known titles are probably the workplace sci-fi mystery Severance, and the feel-good comedy Ted Lasso, about an American coach leading an English soccer team. Both have won or been nominated for many awards.
The service has a small slate of movies, but those do include acclaimed titles like the 2022 Oscar Best Picture winner CODA, and The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by Joel Coen. Consider movies a value-add rather than a primary reason to subscribe.
Apple’s real ace in the hole may be pricing (see current prices below). It’s cheaper than many other ad-free services, so some people might subscribe for a few months without even thinking about it. You may even be able to get the service for free, usually in conjunction with another service or buying an Apple device.
Apple also has a fairly generous family sharing plan, allowing up to six family members to use the same subscription. Even better, they can use their own logins, so you don’t need to share your password with anybody.
Where is the service available?
The service is available in 107 countries around the world. It’s not available in every country with the Apple TV app, though. That includes certain high-population countries like South Korea, Romania, and Turkey.
Apple has promised that each and every Apple Original will be subbed or dubbed (or both) in nearly 40 languages. There will also be closed captions on all titles for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Here’s a full list of all 107 countries where Apple TV Plus is supported:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cape Verde
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- The Gambia
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
How much does Apple TV Plus cost?
Apple TV Plus launched in November 2019 for $4.99 a month in the US, with a 7-day free trial. In October 2022, the company raised the price of the service to $6.99 a month. This only covers Apple Originals, mind — if you pay for third-party Apple TV Channel add-ons, those are extra, usually as much as they would cost in separate apps. Getting them through Apple only simplifies access and billing.
There’s only one tier, which supports up to six family members, 4K quality, and media downloads.
If you already subscribe to a few other Apple services, like Apple Music, it might be worth merging them into an Apple One subscription. The Individual tier includes Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $16.95 a month. A Family plan expands all of those services to six people for $22.95, simultaneously boosting iCloud storage to 200GB. The most expensive plan (Premier) costs $32.95, boosting storage to 2TB while adding Apple News Plus and Apple Fitness Plus.
Around the world, other countries have similar costs, but you can find the list of international prices below:
- USA: $6.99/month
- Canada: $8.99 CAD/month
- UK: £6.99/month
- Europe: €6.99/month
- India: Rs. 99/month
- Australia: A$9.99/month
How do you get Apple TV Plus for free?
To inflate subscriber numbers in face of tough competition, Apple initially offered a free year of the service to anyone who had recently purchased an Apple device. This included iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV set-tops, and even iPods.
Apple stopped offering that in July 2021. Since then the company has provided no more than 3 months of free access, and more typically limits new subscribers to a 7-day trial. There various ways to get Apple TV Plus for free, though — learn more in our dedicated guide.
How do I get Apple TV Plus?
Signing up for Apple TV Plus is easy, and can be done from both the web and the Apple TV app. In fact, it’s usually the first thing you see when you open the app. Just tap Try It Free and confirm your purchase to get started. After your trial period, you’ll automatically be charged $6.99 a month. Be sure to cancel at least 24 hours before your trial ends if you don’t intend to subscribe.
On the web, simply navigate to the Apple TV Plus website, then click Start Your Free Trial. You’ll have to log into your Apple account if you aren’t already logged in, but the entire process takes less than a minute.
No matter how you sign up, you’ll get a pop-up letting you know if you have three months to claim due to a recent purchase.
Once your free period with Apple TV Plus is over, you can also opt for an Apple One subscription if you use other Apple services such as Apple Music, iCloud Plus, and Apple Arcade. The bundle saves money compared to what you pay for all those services individually.
What devices does Apple TV support?
Apple TV Plus is available on any Apple device with the Apple TV app. If a device is compatible, the app is usually pre-installed. That includes iPhones, iPads, Macs, iPod touches, and of course Apple TV set-tops from the 3rd gen onwards.
In the event that a smart TVs isn’t compatible with the Apple TV app, you may still be able to access the service using AirPlay. This allows you to cast from any Apple device. You can see a list of supported smart TVs on Apple’s website.
Android phones and tablets are technically excluded, but should be able to stream via the web, just as on Macs and Windows PCs. Don’t worry — you’re all good if you have a TV or set-top with Android TV or Google TV.
Here’s the full list of Apple TV-compatible devices:
- Apple TV (4K, HD, and 3rd generation)
- Roku (most models)
- Amazon Fire TV (most models)
- Google TV (with Chromecast)
- Samsung smart TVs (2018 or newer)
- Sony smart TVs
- Vizio smart TVs
- LG smart TVs (2019 or newer)
- Panasonic smart TVs
- VIDAA smart TVs
- Mac (macOS Catalina 10.15 or higher)
- PC (browser only)
- Android (browser only)
- Android TV (version 8 or higher)
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series S
What’s on Apple’s streaming service?
Apple TV Plus is mostly about content under the Apple Originals program. This includes shows, movies, and documentaries, some starring the biggest names in Hollywood. The company’s deep pockets and relationships with other industries give Apple’s streaming service an advantage over some competitors.
By this point there are many great shows and movies on Apple TV Plus, with new content monthly, and in many cases you can watch the first episode of a series for free before you even start your 7-day trial.
As mentioned, there’s very little third-party licensed content. What is there is generally intended to boost Apple’s continuations, such as Fraggle Rock and Charlie Brown.
We won’t list everything on Apple TV Plus in this article, but here’s a brief list of some of our favorites so you know what to expect.
Best Apple TV Plus shows
Apple has invested heavily in original shows, although not many have managed to capture the hearts and minds of the general public (Ted Lasso and Severance being the major exceptions). Check out our full list of the best Apple TV Plus shows with trailers and descriptions. In the meantime, here’s a quick list of some of our favorites.
- The Morning Show – A drama centering on behind-the-scenes antics at a national morning news TV show. It stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell.
- See – An epic sci-fi drama set on Earth centuries after a worldwide cataclysm has rendered (nearly) all humans blind. It stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard.
- For All Mankind – A sci-fi series set in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union landed a man on the Moon before the US.
- Dickinson – A comedy centering on a fictional version of the poet Emily Dickinson, as played by Hailee Steinfeld.
- Ted Lasso – A fish-out-of-water comedy starring Jason Sudeikis as an American football coach who moves to the UK to coach a soccer team, despite not knowing the sport.
- Foundation — Characters across vast stretches of space and time fight over the fate of a dying empire in this adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s classic works.
- Helpsters – A children’s series that teaches kids about various topics and helping out in general. It comes from the Sesame Street producers at Sesame Workshop.
- Shining Girls — A woman’s perception of reality changes as history is rewritten by a time-travelling stranger who attacked her in this horror series.
- Ghostwriter – A new version of the children’s series, which focuses on four kids who have to battle creatures based on literature.
- Oprah’s Book Club – This show brings back the highly popular virtual book club created by Oprah Winfrey.
- Servant – A thriller series executive-produced by M. Night Shyamalan, who also directed several episodes.
- Mythic Quest – Two of the three creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, team up once again for this comedy series about a video game development studio.
- Silo — In a dystopian future, after a toxic event has made Earth uninhabitable, a group of humans lives in an underground silo defined by strict rules to protect them. But a group slowly begins to suspect they’ve been lied to.
- Amazing Stories – A revival of the classic sci-fi anthology TV series, which is once again produced by Steven Spielberg.
- Home Before Dark – A mystery-drama inspired by the real-life of Hilde Lysiak, who at 11 years old investigated a cold case murder for her own neighborhood newspaper.
- Central Park – An animated series with a voice cast that includes Josh Gad and Kristen Bell.
- Severance — Employees at a mysterious company undergo a procedure to separate their work lives from their home lives.
- Tehran – An Israeli espionage thriller about a Mossad agent in Iran.
Best Apple TV Plus movies
Apple TV Plus doesn’t have nearly as many movies as most of its competitors, but it does have a respectable selection, and Apple is pushing hard to establish its credibility. Check out our list of the best Apple TV Plus movies for trailers and more, but here’s a brief list of what you can expect:
- The Banker – A drama inspired by true events about two black businessmen in the 1950s who find creative ways to combat racism in pursuit of the American dream. It stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
- Beastie Boys Story – A Spike Jonze documentary about the eponymous hip-hop group’s rise to fame.
- Hala – A coming-of-age drama about a Pakistani-American teenager who struggles to balance her cultural and religious heritage with her American friends and desire to fit in.
- CODA — This Academy Award winner for Best Picture tells the story of a teen girl, the only hearing member of a deaf family, following her dreams of becoming a singer.
- Greyhound – A WWII drama starring and written by Tom Hanks about a captain who leads a fleet of ships across the U-Boat-infested waters of the North Atlantic.
- Causeway — An injured combat veteran tries to get used to her life back home in New Orleans while she plans for her future.
- Wolfwalkers – A stunning animated film about a girl who learns to turn into a wolf, the animal her father is tasked with hunting in Ireland.
- The Tragedy of Macbeth — Joel Coen of the Coen brothers offers his unique take on the classic Shakespeare play, with performances by Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
Major League Baseball and MLS Season Pass on Apple TV Plus
Apple hosts two live Major League Baseball games every week, plus some miscellaneous related content, such as highlights and daily recaps. It’s not a substitute for a service like ESPN or MLB.tv, but there’s no extra cost for Plus subscribers.
You will need to pay if you want to access the MLS (Major League Soccer) Season Pass. This is treated as another Channel subscription (see below), but Plus subscribers can get it for $12.99 per month or $79 for the full season, which is cheaper than it would be otherwise. There may be midseason discounts available.
Apple TV Channels and other content
Although they’re not technically part of Apple TV Plus, Apple TV Channels are a great way to get more out of your experience with the Apple TV app. It turns the service into something more like traditional cable TV, but without all the bloat.
The Channels program is essentially an à la carte selection of TV channels/streaming services that you can subscribe to within the Apple TV app. This allows you to consolidate most (if not all) of your services into one place, with Apple getting a cut of every Apple TV-based subscription.
It’s easy and convenient to subscribe using your Apple account, but existing subscriptions outside of the app can’t be transferred over. You’ll need to cancel them and resubscribe through Apple TV.
There can be potential benefits to using Channels, such as higher bitrate streams and media downloads. Many subscriptions can also be shared with up to six family members, just like Apple TV Plus.
Here’s a full list of confirmed Apple TV Channels:
- Acorn TV
- A&E Crime Central
- Allblk (formerly Urban Movie Channel)
- AMC Plus
- Apple TV Plus
- Arrow Video Channel
- Bet Plus
- BFIPlayer Classics
- CBS All Access
- CollegeHumor Dropout
- Comedy Central Now
- Eros Now Select
- Hallmark Movies Now
- HBO (limited)
- History Vault
- IFC Films Unlimited
- Lifetime Movie Club
- Moonbug Kids
- MTV Hits
- Out TV
- Paramount Plus
- PBS Living
- Smithsonian Channel Plus
- Sundance Now
- The Great Courses Signature Collection
- Up Faith & Family
Subscription fees vary by channel but typically start at $5 or more. Channel availability varies by region.
You’ll also see select non-Channel services appear in the TV app, but generally only as Up Next content, and launching a video will switch you to an outside app.
Here’s a list of external streaming services supported within Apple TV:
- Amazon Prime Video
- ESPN Plus
- Disney Plus
A number of cable and satellite apps are integrated, along with some internet-only TV platforms. Check with your provider if this matters to you. Usually, it’s best to access live services within their native apps.
Apple TV Plus vs the competition
Apple TV Plus is part of an increasingly crowded online streaming landscape. That includes the leader in the industry, Netflix, which has the advantage of having years of experience and an impressive catalog of both original and licensed content. You might be able to swing from Stranger Things to Indiana Jones in the same night.
While the service can’t compare to Netflix on sheer volume of content, it is significantly cheaper. A $6.99 Plus subscription gets you 4K and up to six simultaneous users, while Netflix asks $19.99 per month for 4K content and just four simultaneous streams.
Amazon Prime Video is another a major Apple TV Plus competitor. While Netflix is typically thought to have a better catalog, there are still choice picks, such as The Rings of Power and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s typically bundled with Amazon Prime, too, so it might not cost you a dime extra. It even offers 4K streaming by default.
For American viewers, Hulu can also be a solid alternative. The base ad-supported plan is only a dollar more expensive at $7.99, and provides access to more conventional movie and TV content along with its exclusives. You’ll have to bump pricing up to $14.99 to go ad-free, though, and still higher to enable Live TV.
Finally there’s Disney Plus, which launched less than two weeks after Apple TV Plus. The main attraction is access to every Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars title, along with Muppets content and Disney’s century-spanning library under its own name. Depending on the market, you may also see shows and movies from other sources such as Fox.
Perhaps the toughest challenge to Apple in the US is actually the Disney Bundle. You can combine Hulu and Disney Plus for as little as $9.99 per month with ads, and add ESPN Plus to the mix for $12.99 per month. You’ll have to pay $19.99 per month to get all three without ads (on Disney and Hulu, that is), but that’s still an incredible bargain.
This is highly subjective, but the TLDR is that it’s only worth it if you’re interested in its original shows. There aren’t many movies or documentaries, and there’s very little third-party content of any kind.
There are a few different ways, such as a 7-day trial, bundling with Apple One, or the three free months you get with the purchase of an Apple device.
You and up to five family members can enjoy access through Family Sharing.
Apple TV Plus mostly offers access to a library of original movies and shows, such as Ted Lasso, Foundation, Severance, and The Problem With Jon Stewart.
Yes, Apple TV Plus allows you to create as many as six profiles.
Yes, all Apple TV Plus shows and movies are available to stream or download in 4K.
No, Apple TV Plus does not have any ads.
Yes, there are parental control options for the Apple TV app, web portal, and set-top box.
Apple TV Plus subscriptions can be shared with up to five other accounts (six total), although officially the program is limited to just family members.
Yes. The app is available on most Roku devices, and in fact the only ones that don’t support it are generally outdated regardless. If it’s not preloaded, search the Channel Store.
Yes. The app is available on most Fire TV devices, and anything recent should have no problem running it.
Yes, there’s an official client for Google TV. You can even choose to install the app during first-time setup.
Yes, you can watch Apple TV Plus on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.
This seems to be at least a part of its growth strategy, but mostly in service of new originals. Don’t count on Seinfeld showing up anytime soon.
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