How to Take Control of Your Apple TV Subscriptions

Apple TV channels and apps
Ian McKinnell

Apple TV offers a rapidly expanding catalog of all the world’s TV channels (in the form of apps), for a fee. While many of these apps/channels make it super easy to sign up for trial periods you still need to know how to prevent or cancel your subscription. The future of television may well be apps, but these personalized content bundles come at a price and you need to keep that spending under control.

What Are Subscriptions?

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, MLB.TV, MUBI and many others offer a wide range of content in the form of apps on Apple TV.

You can choose the programs and shows you most want to watch and make them easily accessible just by installing the relevant app on your Apple TV. This puts all your favorite content within easy reach, even as Apple develops useful features such as Universal Search in order to improve your experience. The latter is a great example of how Apple TV can make watching great TV shows much better: “You can search for what you want and watch it when and where you want. And you can interact with it in powerful new ways,” as Apple CEO, Tim Cook​ said on launching the device.

The snag is that while many apps are free and most offer free trial periods, most providers want to charge a monthly or annual fee in exchange for the content they provide.

This is acceptable because broadcasting is a business but while signing up for new services is incredibly easy through your Apple TV, it isn’t always clear how to stop paying for services you no longer want or need. That is what we explain here, including how to control subscriptions from other devices.

Managing Subscriptions Through Apple TV

It is relatively straightforward to manage your subscriptions on your Apple TV. You access the ones you are signed up to in Settings>Accounts>Manage Subscriptions. You’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID password.

  • You’ll be shown a page detailing all your active subscriptions; these will include all your active TV, video, gaming and other subscriptions associated with your account.
  • You must review each one manually, setting the appropriate renewal options for each one, once you are done, click ‘Confirm’.

Using an iPhone or iPad

You can manage your subscriptions (including those you have begun using an Apple TV) from your iOS device. To do so you’ll need to open Settings>iTunes & App Store and then tap your Apple ID where it appears at the top of the display. Now follow these steps:

  • Choose ‘View Apple ID’
  • Enter your Apple ID password
  • In the Subscriptions section, you’ll see the word Manage, tap this word.
  • Now you will be able to review all your active subscriptions by tapping each one, where you will be able to switch the Automatic Renewal toggle to off.
  • A prompt will appear reminding you of when your existing subscription period ends and offering you the chance to cancel the step.
  • If you want to end Automatic Renewal of the subscription, just tap Turn Off.

Using iTunes on Mac or Windows

Because all your Apple transactions are associated with your Apple ID, you can also manage/cancel subscriptions you’ve made on Apple TV using iTunes on your Mac or PC.

  • Launch iTunes and click ‘Account’ in the iTunes menu bar.
  • Select ‘View My Account’ in the drop-down menu that appears.
  • You’ll be asked for your password, enter this and you’ll be directed to your account details
  • Scroll down to ‘Settings’ and look for ‘Subscriptions’ at the bottom of the list.
  • Tap ‘Manage’.
  • The Manage Subscriptions page lets you edit the settings for each of your subscriptions and lets you turn auto-renewal off.
  • You’ll be asked to confirm the instruction.

Armed with this information you should be able to try out new services without fear of future fees.

In the future, you can anticipate most TV will be made available through apps, with Apple watchers speculating the company may launch its own subscription-based TV streaming service at some point.