How to Watch Apple TV+

Get your favorite shows and movies on any device

Apple TV+ is Apple's answer to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max, among other services. Apple TV+ differs from those services in its content, which is original programming, 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+ on any compatible device.

This article focuses on the Apple TV+ streaming service. The service is different from the Apple TV device and the Apple TV app. Confused? We untangle the mess in What Is Apple TV?

family using devices
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What Devices Are Compatible With Apple TV+?

It's no surprise that you can watch Apple TV+ 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+ 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. Apple TV is also available for many Android TV OS devices, including Nvidia's Shield TV, Phillips TVs, and more. Find out if your device is supported on Apple's full list of Apple TV+ 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+ 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+ on Your Device?

To access Apple TV+, you need the Apple TV app, which comes installed on Apple devices but can be downloaded to other supporting devices, and an Apple ID account. If you have 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. 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 select Start Watching > Settings > Accounts > Sign In.

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

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

How to Sign Up for Apple TV+

Once you install the Apple TV app on your device, sign up or sign into Apple TV+ by following these steps:

  1. Open the Apple TV app.

    Screenshot of Apple TV homescreen
  2. If you already have a subscription, 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+ subscription, click Watch Now, scroll down to Channels, and 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 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+ costs $4.99/month, or $49.99/year, for up to six family members and includes a seven-day free trial. You'll also get a free year of Apple TV+ when you buy a new Apple device, and Apple TV+ is included if you subscribe to Apple One.

How to Share Apple TV With Friends and Family

Apple makes it easy to share your subscription with up to five other family members or close friends (for a total of six 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+) 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 in to Apple TV+ 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+

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+ 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, as well as promoted items from the Apple TV library.

What Content Can You Watch on Apple TV+?

Apple TV+ 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+ doesn't have a huge library of programs. So, while Netflix and Hulu offer tens of thousands of things to watch, Apple TV+ offers dozens and is adding new programming all the time.

Apple TV+ has a comparatively 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+ Have Live TV or DVR?

Apple TV+ 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+ 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.

    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.

    Downloaded shows on the Apple TV app

Can You Rent or Buy Movies or TV With Apple TV+?

Not within Apple TV+. However, the Apple TV app, which houses the Apple TV+ 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+).

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+ and buying something separate. To block purchases in the Apple TV app, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Settings menu.

     Apple TV home screen with Settings highlighted
  2. Select General.

    Apple TV Settings menu with General highlighted
  3. Choose Restrictions.

    Apple TV General Settings with Restrictions highlighted
  4. Click Restrictions to turn it on.

    Apple TV General Settings with Restrictions highlighted
  5. Enter a four-digit passcode. This is the code you will be us to turn restrictions on and off. Enter it a second time when requested to do so.

    Set passcode screen in Apple TV settings
  6. Toggle the Purchase and Rental menu to Restrict.

    Apple TV restrictions settings with Purchase and Rental Restrict highlighted

Can you Subscribe to Other Streaming Services With Apple TV+?

Not in the Apple TV+ streaming service itself, no. That's limited to original programming 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.

    Available 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.

    CBS All Access in Apple TV channel with free trial offer highlighted
  3. Your monthly subscription will be billed by Apple using your Apple ID.

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