Download Movies From the iTunes Movie Store

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Although iTunes morphed into the Music app with the release of macOS Catalina, plenty of Mac users still run iTunes on earlier versions of the operating system.

You need an Apple ID and iTunes on your computer in order to buy or rent movies from Apple, but if you have both, searching for and downloading movies is easy to do.

Instructions in this article apply to iTunes 12.7 through 12.9 in macOS Mojave (10.14), macOS High Sierra (10.13), or macOS Sierra (10.12).

Follow these simple instructions to download movies from the iTunes Store.

Locating and Downloading a Movie From iTunes

Although streaming movies is popular, downloading them makes sense when you won't be near a reliable high-speed network connection.

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.

  2. Select Movies in the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the iTunes screen to go to the Movies section of iTunes. Click Store in the top-middle of the screen if it isn't already selected.

    iTunes Movies screen
  3. Browse the available movies or enter a movie title into the search field.

  4. When you find a movie that interests you, click its thumbnail image to open an information screen. The information screen contains a description of the movie, an iTunes review, trailers, and iTunes Extra when available. It also includes a button with a price to buy and, sometimes, a button with a price to rent the movie.

    Movie information screen in iTunes
  5. Click the back arrow at the top left corner of the information screen to return to the iTunes Store, where you can select other movie thumbnail images to check out additional movies.

  6. On the information screen, click the Buy or Rent button of the movie you want to download when you find the one you want. Sign in with your Apple ID and password if prompted to do so.

  7. Click the Download button located in the same area as the Buy or Rent buttons. Wait for the movie to download before you go offline. Apple charges your account immediately.

    Movie download screen in iTunes

Difference Between Buying and Renting a Download

When you buy a movie at iTunes, it is yours forever, whether you download it or stream it. When you rent a movie, you have a 30-day window to begin watching it, after which your rental expires. However, once you start watching the rental for the first time, you have only 48 hours to finish watching, after which it disappears from your computer. You can watch it multiple times within those 48 hours.

Use the Search Function

If you know what movie you're looking for, you can enter a keyword from the title into the Search box in your iTunes window. When you're connected to the iTunes store, the Search box returns results from the iTunes store only, instead of from the media that's already in your iTunes library. However, if you enter a keyword, the iTunes store returns all results with that keyword, including music and TV shows.

Watch Your Movie

When you are ready to watch your movie, click Unwatched at the top of the screen for purchased downloads or Rented for rented downloads. The Rented tab only appears when you have a rented movie.

On this screen, look in the upper right corner. If you see a circling icon, the download is ongoing. Wait for it to stop before disconnecting from the network or turning off your computer.

iTunes Download screen showing a rented movie

To watch your movie, open iTunes, select Movies in the drop-down menu in the left corner, and choose either Rented or Unwatched to find your movie. Click the movie thumbnail image to expand the screen and press the Play arrow that appears on the larger movie image.

Play screen for an iTunes movie

The movie starts playing full-screen with the usual play/pause, fast forward, fast back, and volume controls. If you want, you can reduce the size of the movie screen.

If you have other Apple devices on your Wi-Fi network and sync them with the same Apple ID, you can watch the downloaded purchased or rented movie on any of them.

iTunes for Windows 10 computers is still available.