Everything You Need to Know About iTunes Movie Rentals

iTunes movie rental rules
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If you own an Apple device, iTunes is maybe the simplest and most flexible way to rent the movies you want to see the most. But, like everything, there are rules for iTunes Movie Rentals. Learn all about them here.

What Are the Requirements for Using iTunes Movie Rentals?

In order to rent movies from the iTunes Store, you'll need the following:

  • The latest version of iTunes (to rent on a computer)
  • The latest version of the iOS (to rent on an iOS device)
  • The latest version of tvOS (to rent on Apple TV)
  • High-speed Internet connection
  • An Apple ID with a valid credit or debit card in it. 

What Devices Can I Watch Rented Movies On?

To watch your rented movies from iTunes, you'll need:

What Do Movies Rented from iTunes Cost?

There are a number of factors that determine what a rental costs, including how new the movie is, whether the movie has hit theaters or not, whether it's a special promotion, and if it's high definition or standard definition. 

  • The latest movies: usually US$5.99-$6.99 
  • Regular movies: $3.99-$4.99
  • Special promotions: $0.99
  • Movies currently in theaters/digital release only: $6.99-$9.99
  • Standard definition: $2.99

The exact prices are determined based on Apple's agreements with movie studios and its own choices about pricing.

Why Do Some Rentals Cost More?

The most expensive rentals are priced the way they are because they offer something special. In many cases, this means that the movie is available at iTunes while it's still in theaters or can be rented before it comes to theaters. In both cases, you're paying a premium to see the movie early or to see it without leaving home.

When Do iTunes Rentals Expire?

There are two-time limits you need to be aware of when it comes to iTunes Movie Rentals.

The first comes in once you start playing your rented movie for the first time. After hitting play, you have just 24 hours to finish watching the movie (in the U.S.; it's 48 hours in the rest of the world). If you don’t finish watching in that time, the movie will expire and you'll need to rent it again. On the up side, you can watch the movie as many times as you'd like in that period.

The second time limit controls how long you have to watch the movie after download but before you hit play. You have 30 days from the day you rented the movie to watch it. If you don’t watch the movie in that 30-day window, your rental will expire and you'll have to rent the movie again.

Can You Get Around the Time Limits on Movie Rentals?

No.

Do I Have to Delete Movies After I Watch Them?

No. After you watch a movie and its rental period expires, it will be automatically removed from your device or computer.

Do I Need to Download the Whole Movie Before Watching?

No. Movies rented at iTunes download progressively, so once you've downloaded a set percentage of the movie (chosen by Apple), you can begin watching.

The rest of the movie downloads in the background while you watch. When you've downloaded enough of the movie, you'll see a message letting you know it's ready to be watched.

Are iTunes Movie Rental Downloads Interruptible?

Sometimes Internet connections get lost during the download of purchased content. When it comes to iTunes Movie Rentals, just because your download didn't complete properly doesn't mean you're stuck. If you lose your Internet connection during the download, you can restart the download once your connection comes back and get your movie. Here's how:

  1. If your connection goes out, fix it.
  1. Once you’re connected to the Internet again, open iTunes
  2. Go to the Movies tab
  3. Click the Unwatched button beneath the playback window
  4. Your rented movie should be listed there, ready for redownload by clicking the cloud icon.

The Movie I Want Is Out on DVD/Blu-ray, But It's Not on iTunes. What's Up?

New movies released on DVD/Blu-ray aren't always available on the iTunes Store right away. Instead, some new releases come to iTunes 30 days (or more) after they have been released on DVD/Blu-ray.

Can I Sync Rented Movies to My iOS Device?

Yes. If you rent a movie on your computer, you can sync it to your iOS device to watch on the go. Just sync the rented movie the same way you would sync any other content to your device. In fact, you can sync a movie back and forth between your computer and your device as many times as you like during the rental period.

It's worth noting, though, that if you sync a rented movie to your iOS device, it disappears from the computer.

Can I Sync Movies Rented on my iOS Device or Apple TV?

No. If you rent a movie on one of those devices, it can only be watched on that device. This can be a frustrating restriction sometimes, but it's the one Apple has imposed.

Can I Watch the Same Movie on Multiple Devices Simultaneously?

No. You can watch a rented movie on only one device or computer at a time.