Understanding the iTunes Season Pass: What It Is & How to Buy One

iTunes Season Pass
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Buying your favorite TV shows at the iTunes Store is easy, but who wants to go to iTunes every week and buy one episode at a time? That's annoying and a waste of time. If you'd rather pay for all episodes of a season at once and then have them automatically delivered to you when they're released, you need an iTunes Season Pass.

iTunes Season Pass Explained

The Season Pass is a lesser-known feature of iTunes that lets you purchase a full season's worth of a TV show at the iTunes Store before all episodes have been released (often before the season has even begun, though some shows have Season Passes available even after they've begun airing, too).

Season Pass allows users to pre-pay for the season's worth of content, often at a slightly discounted price, and then have the episodes delivered from the iTunes Store as they become available. If the season has already started when you buy a Season Pass, all currently available episodes automatically download. Later episodes are then automatically added to your iTunes library as they are released and you are notified by email that a new episode is waiting for you. Notifications are usually sent the morning after the latest episode has aired on TV in that user's country. In some cases, users who purchase a Season Pass receive some bonus downloadable content, such as behind the scenes interviews and making-of content.

iTunes Season Pass Requirements

In order to use an iTunes Season Pass, you'll need:

  • To choose a TV show currently being broadcast on traditional TV or cable. Shows that are no longer producing new episodes, or whose seasons are over, are not eligible for Season Pass (shows created by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu generally won't be available as a Season Pass, either).
  • A Mac or Windows PC running iTunes, an iOS device, or an Apple TV.
  • An Apple ID with a valid payment card on file

How to Buy an iTunes Season Pass

If you're ready to buy a Season Pass, follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes on a desktop computer, launch the iTunes Store app on iOS or launch the TV Shows app on Apple TV.

  2. To access the TV section, in iTunes, select TV Shows from the drop-down in the top left corner and then click on iTunes Store. On iOS, tap the TV Shows button at the bottom of the app. On Apple TV, skip this step.

  3. Navigate through the iTunes Store until you find a season of a TV show you're interested in (if you're on the overview page for an entire series, you'll need to choose a single season). Select it — depending on your device, you'll do this with a tap or a click.

  4. On the page for the TV season, look for a price button to check whether a Season Pass is available. On iTunes, the button will show the price for the Season Pass and will read Buy Season Pass. On iOS, you'll just see the price (information that makes clear that this is a Season Pass is at the bottom of the screen. Look for the Season Pass heading at the bottom of the screen, just beneath Information).

  5. Click or tap the price button. On some devices, the button changes to read Buy Season Pass. Click or tap it again to continue.

  6. If you're asked to log into your Apple ID, do so.

  7. When the purchase is completed, any available episodes will download.

How to Get Episodes From Season Pass

Once you've bought a Season Pass and new episodes are released, you can get them in the following way:

  1. Click the link in the email sent by iTunes when a new episode is available.

  2. Go to TV Shows in iTunes and Apple TV, or the TV app on iOS, and download the new episode.

  3. Go to iTunes or TV > Purchased > TV Shows on any device and download the new episode.

Like other iTunes purchases, TV seasons purchased via Season Pass are also added to the user's iCloud account and can be re-downloaded later.

Watch out for "Buy Season"

When trying to buy a Season Pass, watch out for the Buy Season button. You may see this on some TV show pages in iTunes. This isn't the same thing as a Season Pass. When you use it, you're buying all currently available episodes of a season, but will have to pay separately for any new ones that are released later. To make sure you only pay once (and get any savings, if there are any to be had), always make sure the buy button reads Season Pass.