Apple TV Plus: The Insider's Guide to Apple's Streaming Service

The inside scoop on Apple's streaming service

After years of speculation, Apple TV+ arrived in November 2019, bringing high-quality original programming and a star-studded lineup. If you're wondering about Apple TV+, its content, and how it all works, read on to learn more about Apple's streaming video service.

What Is Apple TV Plus?

Apple TV+ is Apple's streaming TV and movie platform. Think of it as Apple's answer to Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+. It's a service that you subscribe to that gives you access to original content available only on Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ shows on a TV, Mac, iPhone, and other devices
Apple Inc.

Apple TV Plus Is Different From the Apple TV App

This is a bit confusing since they have very similar names, but Apple TV+ is not the same thing as the Apple TV app. The Apple TV+ service can be used from within the Apple TV app, but the app provides many other features and options.

The Apple TV app is a place to watch content from many different services that you subscribe to. For instance, if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime, the Apple TV app shows the latest episodes of your favorite shows from all of those services, plus recommendations for other things you may enjoy. It also offers content from the iTunes Store and lets you buy and rent movies and TV shows there. You can use the Apple TV app without subscribing to Apple TV+.

Apple TV+, on the other hand, is one source of content (Apple's content) that can be accessed from within the Apple TV app.

For a deeper look at how the Apple TV app and Apple TV+ service differ, check out What Is Apple TV?

Apple TV Plus Is Also Different From Apple TV Channels

Apple TV Channels is a feature of the Apple TV app that lets you subscribe to streaming services through the Apple TV app. Services available via Channels include things like HBO, Showtime, and Paramount+. You can subscribe to Channels through the Apple TV app using your Apple ID. You can use Channels without subscribing to Apple TV+, or in addition to it.

Apple TV Plus Requires No Special Hardware to Use

Apple's set-top streaming device called the Apple TV is certainly one way to access the Apple TV+ streaming service (and the Apple TV app, and Apple TV Channels), but it's not the only option.

Apple TV+ is available on a wide range of devices, including:

  • iOS devices (iPhone and iPod touch)
  • iPadOS devices
  • Apple TV
  • Macs
  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Roku devices
  • Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and more
  • Android TV devices, such as Nvidia Shield and Phillips TV
  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • PlayStation 5

Content Available on Apple TV+

Apple TV+ offers a library of TV series and movies, including:

Apple TV Plus TV Series

  • Ted Lasso, a heartfelt comedy about an NFL coach who gives English football a try.
  • Central Park, an animated musical comedy about a family who lives in Central Park.
  • Defending Jacob, an intense drama based on the 2012 New York Times bestseller.
  • Palmer, starring Justin Timberlake as a former high school football star-turned-felon.
  • Losing Alice, a complex drama about an unfulfilled woman.
  • The Me You Can't See, a powerful mental health documentary with Oprah and Prince Harry.
  • Lisey's Story, adapting the Stephen King novel, produced by J.J. Abrams and starring Julianne Moore.
  • Visible: Out on Television, which explores LGBTQ representation in the media.
  • Dickinson, a series focusing on the young life of poet Emily Dickinson.
  • For All Mankind, a science fiction series from Battlestar Galactica creator.
  • Ghostwriter, a continuation of the children's series.
  • Helpsters, another children's series in which monsters solve problems.
  • The Morning Show, a look at morning television news shows starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell.
  • An Oprah Winfrey series of conversations with authors.
  • See, a series about a world in which humans have lost the ability to see, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard.
  • Snoopy in Space, a Peanuts animated show.
  • Amazing Stories, a fantasy anthology series produced by Steven Spielberg

Apple TV Plus Movies

  • The Elephant Queen, a documentary about elephant extinction.
  • Wolfwalkers, an ethereal, mesmerizing, animated Celtic fantasy.
  • On the Rocks, written and directed by Sophia Coppola, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.
  • Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, a documentary that explores how meteorites, shooting stars, and deep impacts pique interest in what's out there.
  • Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You, A mesmerizing documentary about how The Boss makes music.
  • Boys State, a powerful documentary about Texas teens and politics.
  • Hala, an intimate coming-of-age drama about a Pakistani teen.
  • Greyhound, starring Tom Hanks as an intense WWII captain.
  • Beastie Boys Story, an unfiltered look at the controversial band.

A full list of all announced programming for Apple TV+ can be found on Wikipedia.

Many streaming services release all episodes of their TV series at the same time to let users binge-watch the entire series. Apple TV+ takes a different approach when releasing new episodes.

For most TV series, the first three episodes will be released in a group. After that, new episodes will be released once a week. That schedule may change for some series, which will be released all at once for binging, but most will work that way. New series debut frequently.

Does Apple TV Plus Offer a Deep Library of Content like Netflix?

No. Apple TV+ takes a very different approach to content than Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Those services have huge libraries of TV and movies, mixing new releases with large selections of material released in the past. Apple TV+ only offers material created for (or acquired for release on) Apple TV+.

This means that the library of content available on Apple TV+ at launch is much smaller than on other services. The library will grow over time as Apple launches new shows and movies, and as it acquires other material.

Can You Watch Apple TV Plus Offline?

Yes. As long as your subscription is valid, you can download Apple TV+ content to mobile devices to watch even when you're not connected to the internet.

Apple TV Plus Subscriptions and Free Trials

Apple TV+ costs $6.99/month, or $69/year, for up to six family members in a Family Sharing group. You can try it out for 7 days before you have to subscribe or cancel.

Also, if you buy a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac, you'll get one free year of Apple TV+ included with your device. After that free first year, you'll have to either continue the subscription or cancel. You have 90 days after purchase to activate the free subscription.

Apple TV+ is also included if you subscribe to Apple One.

How to Subscribe to Apple TV Plus

You'll need the Apple TV app running on a compatible device and an Apple ID with a credit card on file. If you have those things, just go to the Apple TV app, find the Apple TV+ content, and follow the onscreen prompts.

The monthly cost of Apple TV+ will be billed to your on-file credit card, just like any other services you've subscribed to through your Apple devices.

  • How do you cancel Apple TV+?

    On an iOS device running iOS 13 and up, navigate to Settings > [Your Name] > Subscriptions > Apple TV+ and tap Cancel. Follow our step-by-step guide for more information.

  • What is free on Apple TV+?

    When you sign up for Apple TV+, its entire catalog is free to stream, like any other streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. However, Apple TV+ itself has a monthly subscription fee just like those other services.

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