How to Watch Apple TV Plus

Get your favorite shows and movies on any device

Apple TV Plus is Apple's answer to Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max, among other services. Apple TV Plus differs from those services in its content and from other Apple services because it can be used on so many kinds of devices. Read on to learn how to watch Apple TV Plus on any compatible device.

This article focuses on the Apple TV Plus streaming service. That's different from the Apple TV device and the Apple TV app. Confused? We untangle the mess in What Is the Apple TV App?

family using devices
Hero Images / Getty Images

What Devices Are Compatible with Apple TV Plus?

It's no surprise that you can watch Apple TV Plus on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Macs via the web or the Apple TV app. But you can also stream Apple TV Plus on many other kinds of devices.

The Apple TV app is available on Samsung and LG smart TVs, Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, and Windows PCs via the web. Find out if your device is supported on Apple's full list of Apple TV Plus-compatible devices.

If your smart TV isn't on that list, check out the LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio AirPlay 2-compatible TVs further down that page. They support screen mirroring using AirPlay 2. You can watch Apple TV Plus on your iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device and then mirror your device's screen to one of those compatible TVs.

How Do You Get Apple TV Plus on Your Device?

To access Apple TV Plus, you need the Apple TV app, which comes pre-installed on Apple devices, and an Apple ID account. If you've got a smart TV or streaming device, here's what to do:

  1. If you don't have an Apple ID, learn how to create an Apple ID here.

  2. Next, on your smart TV or streaming device, download the Apple TV app from the app store on your device.

  3. After the Apple TV app is installed, launch the app and then select Start Watching > Settings > Accounts > Sign In.

  4. There are two ways to sign into your Apple ID:

    • Sign In On Mobile Device: Use your phone camera to scan the QR code shown on the TV and sign into your Apple ID on your phone.
    • Sign In On This TV: Use your TV or streaming device's remote to sign into your Apple ID.
  5. After you sign into your Apple ID, follow any remaining onscreen prompts and you'll be ready to start watching.

How to Sign Up for Apple TV Plus

Once you've installed the Apple TV app on your device as described in the last section, sign up or sign into Apple TV Plus by following these steps:

  1. Open the Apple TV app.

    Screenshot of Apple TV homescreen
  2. If you've already got a subscription, simply go to Settings > Accounts > Sign In and sign in with your Apple ID to start watching.

  3. If you don't have an Apple TV Plus subscription, click Watch Now > scroll down to Channels > click Apple TV+.

    Screenshot of Apple TV+ in My Channels section
  4. Select the Free Trial offer.

  5. Sign in with your Apple ID.

  6. If the app asks you, confirm the billing information for the the credit or debit card on file in your Apple ID and/or add a valid payment card. Once your free trial expires, this card will be billed each month. Select Confirm and start watching.

Apple TV Plus costs US$4.99/month, or $49.99/year, for up to 6 family members and includes a 7-day free trial.

How to Share Apple TV with Friends and Family

Apple makes it easy to share your subscription with up to 5 other family members or close friends (for a total of 6 users) using its Family Sharing feature. Family Sharing can only be set up from your iOS or iPadOS device, or a Mac. You can't set it up from a smart TV or streaming device.

To use an iPhone or other iOS device to set up Family Sharing, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings app > [your name].

  2. If you have't used Family Sharing before, tap Set Up Family Sharing > Get Started.

  3. Confirm the Apple ID you want to use to create your Family Sharing group (this will probably be the Apple ID you use for everything else, including subscribing to Apple TV Plus) and confirm the payment method you'll use for any purchases made using Family Sharing.

    Three screenshots to follow to set up family sharing.
  4. Tap Invite Family Members and send invitations to friends or family via text message or have them join directly on your device.

  5. Once a person has joined your Family Sharing group, they can log into Apple TV Plus on their own devices using their Apple ID and watch using your subscription.

Since you can only have 5 people in your Family Sharing group at a time, you may need to learn how to remove a person from Family Sharing or turn off Family Sharing entirely.

How to Watch Apple TV Plus

Screenshot of Apple TV app homescreen

Once you've got the Apple TV app installed, sign-in to your Apple ID, and have an Apple TV Plus subscription, it's time to start watching.

Open the app and browse for Movies, TV Shows, and Kids programming in the menu bar at the top of the screen. You can also look for content using the Search menu.

Scroll down the screen to see featured sections, including Up Next—which lists the next episodes in shows you're already watching and recommendations based on your watching history—and promoted items from the Apple TV library.

What Content Can You Watch on Apple TV Plus?

Apple TV Plus provides original TV shows and movies only available through Apple. These are high-end programs featuring big-name stars like Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, and Oprah Winfrey.

Unlike streaming other services, Apple TV Plus doesn't have a huge library of programs. So, while Netflix and Hulu offer tens of thousands of things to watch, Apple TV Plus offers dozens (as of this writing; the service adds new programming all the time).

Apple TV Plus has a small library of content, but the Apple TV app offers other content, including movies and TV shows that you can rent or buy from iTunes. The app is also a central hub for compatible streaming apps, so shows from Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other services appear in the Apple TV app, too. You can watch them in the app by clicking on them.

Does Apple TV Plus Have Live TV or DVR?

Apple TV Plus doesn't offer live TV (though if you have a compatible streaming app with live TV, you can watch it using the Apple TV app). Since there's no live TV in the service, it doesn't offer a DVR.

Can You Download Apple TV Plus Shows and Movies to Watch Offline?

Downloading for offline watching works on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and the Mac. To download something to watch offline, follow these steps:

  1. Find the show or movie by browsing or searching for it and click on it to go to screen about the show or movie.

  2. Click the Download icon (it's the cloud with the down arrow in it in the lower right corner, just under the image). Not all content or streaming services support downloading, so this won't always be available.

    Screenshot of the Apple TV app showing the download icon on a show
  3. After the item is downloaded, watch it by going to the Library menu in the Apple TV app, clicking Downloaded, and then clicking on the program.

    Screenshot of downloaded shows on the Apple TV app

Can Rent or Buy Movies or TV with Apple TV Plus?

Not within Apple TV Plus. However, the Apple TV app—which houses the Apple TV Plus streaming service—is integrated with Apple's movie and TV stores. So, throughout the Apple TV app, you'll see movies and TV you can rent or buy. When you rent or buy them, you'll watch them using the Apple TV app (but technically they're part of that app, not Apple TV Plus).

Can You Block Purchases in the Apple TV App?

Yes. This is handy if you have kids who use the Apple TV app and don't realize the difference between streaming Apple TV Plus and buying something separate. To block purchases in the Apple TV app, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Settings menu.

    Screenshot of Apple TV home screen
  2. Click Restrictions.

    Screenshot of Apple TV restrictions screen
  3. Click Turn on Restrictions.

  4. Enter a four-digit passcode. This is the code that will be used to turn restrictions on and off.

    Screenshot fo creating an Apple TV restrictions passcode
  5. Toggle the Purchase and Rental menu to Restrict.

    Screenshot fo creating an Apple TV restrictions blocking movie rentals

Can you Subscribe to Other Streaming Services with Apple TV Plus?

Not in the Apple TV Plus streaming service itself, no. That's limited to original programing from Apple. However, you can use the Apple TV app's Channels feature to subscribe to other services and then watch their content in the Apple TV app. To do that:

  1. Go to the Available Apple TV Channels section of the Apple TV app and select a service.

    Screenshot of Apple TV channels in Apple TV app
  2. Select the free trial button and follow the onscreen prompts to subscribe. Most services offer a short free trial.

    Screenshot of CBS All Access in Apple TV channel
  3. Your monthly subscription will be billed by Apple using your Apple ID.