I Just Got an iTunes Gift Card, Now What?

One of the most popular iPhone- and iPod-related gifts—whether given for a birthday, the holidays, or any other occasion—is an iTunes Gift Card. If you’ve never used the iTunes Store, or App Store, or an iTunes Gift Card before, you may not be sure how to proceed. Luckily it's really simple.

This collection of steps and articles will get you up and running with your gift and shopping at the iTunes Store in no time.

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The Basics: Install iTunes

where to download itunes
The latest iTunes icon. image copyright Apple Inc.

If you've got an iTunes gift card burning a hole in your pocket, you're probably anxious to get started buying stuff right away. Before you do that, though, you need to make sure you've got the basics covered.

If you're using a desktop or laptop computer, the first thing you have to do is install iTunes. That program is your gateway to all the music, movies, books, and other great things you can buy with your gift card. If you don't already have iTunes, you can learn how to get it by reading these articles:

If you primarily use an iOS device—the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad—you can skip this step. The iTunes Store and App Store apps that come pre-installed with those devices are all you need.

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The Basics: Get an Apple ID

reset apple id password
image credit Richard Newstead/Moment/Getty Images

In order to buy things from the iTunes or App Store, whether using a gift card or not, you need an account. In this case, the account is called an Apple ID. 

You may already have an Apple ID. It's used for all kinds of things— iCloud, FaceTime, Apple Music, and much more—so you could have created one to use with those tools. If you've got one, great. You can skip this step.

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Redeem Your Gift Card

iTunes gift card
image credit: Apple Inc.

Now it's time for the good stuff! In order to add the money stored on the gift card to your Apple ID, you need to redeem the card. You can do this either on a desktop computer or use an iOS device, whichever you prefer. 

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Buy Something at iTunes or the App Store

buying at ibooks store, step 2

Part of what makes the iTunes Store so useful—and fun—is the huge amount of content in it. From 30 million-plus songs, tens of thousands of movies, TV episodes and ebooks, and over 1 million apps, the selection is virtually endless.

Get step-by-step instructions on how to buy different kinds of content at the iTunes and App Stores in these articles:

In this era of Spotify and streaming music, a lot of people don't buy songs anymore. Instead, they prefer to subscribe to streaming services. If that describes you, you can use your iTunes Gift Card to sign up for Apple Music and have it pay your subscription. Once the gift card funds are used up, you can cancel your subscription or keep paying for it with a debit or credit card. 

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Sync Purchases to Your Device

stop iphone auto sync in itunes
image credit: heshphoto/Image Source/Getty Images

Once you've bought content, you need to get it onto your iPod, iPhone, or iPad and start enjoying it! If you made your purchase using iTunes on a desktop or laptop computer, read these articles:

If you made your purchases directly on an iOS device, you can skip these. All of your purchases downloaded directly to the appropriate app on your device (songs are in Music, TV episodes in Videos, books in iBooks, etc.) and are ready to be used.