What is Apple TV+? Everything you need to know

If it seems like every major media organization has a streaming platform, well, that’s not far off. Like Disney and AT&T before it, Apple joined the streaming wars in November of 2020 with the release of Apple TV+. While the service was largely unheralded at first — a repository for generally overlooked original content — Apple TV+ has used an aggressive promotional model to grow membership to 25 million people (with 50 million people on temporary promotional access).

The streaming service has also made waves with Oscar-nominated originals like the Denzel Washington vehicle The Tragedy of Macbeth and the comedy/drama series Ted Lassowhich took home seven Primetime Emmy awards out of its whopping 20 nominations in 2021. Other popular shows on the platform include the Emmy-winning The Morning Showas well as Defending Jacoband one of its current hits, Severance.

Interested in signing up for Apple TV+? Here’s everything you need to know.

Apple TV Plus Show Line-up
Julian Chokkattu /

Cost and availability

Apple TV+ is one of the more affordable streaming services, costing just $5 a month. That’s $5 cheaper than Netflix’s bottom-tier subscription and a lot less than its maxed-out $20-per-month Premium membership.

Better yet, Apple has adopted an extremely aggressive acquisition model for Apple TV+. Anybody can try it free for seven days, or you can get three months for free with the purchase of any eligible iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV device, or Mac. You just have to remember to redeem the offer within 90 days of purchase.

Additionally, if you haven’t already signed up, you can get a one-month free trial as part of an Apple One subscription.

Supported devices

Naturally, Apple TV+ is available on all modern Apple hardwareincluding all iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices capable of running the latest operating systems, the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, and third-generation Apple TVs. You can access Apple TV+ via Safari, Chrome, or Firefox web browsers.

The Apple TV+ app is available on Smart TVs from Samsung, Vizio, LG, Sony, Panasonic, and HiSense. You can also get the app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, or Google TV devices, as well as on PlayStation 4 and 5 and Xbox One, Series X, or Series S consoles.

An Apple TV 4K sits on a media stand.

How do you get Apple TV+?

As we alluded to above, there are several ways to get Apple TV+ for free, whether you’re a first-time Apple device owner or a long-time Apple fan. Either way, here are the basic steps for getting in on the streaming service.

Step 1: Head to AppleTV.com and select the Start free trial button. It’s easiest to do on a desktop browser, but you can do this on pretty much any device.

Step 2: Sign in with your Apple ID (or create one first, if necessary).

Step 3: If you haven’t already set this up with your Apple ID, you may have to enter your credit card information. Once this is done, click Confirm.

Step 4: You’re done. You should be able to start watching immediately, but you might have to sign in on any of the devices you’re using to watch.

Note: Keep in mind, though, that with the free trial, and with most free trials, once the term is over, it will automatically renew, charging you the $5 per month fee thereafter. If you find that it’s not for you, you may want to cancel it before it’s too late.

Audio and video

All Apple TV+ original series are available in 4K HDR, and most also support Dolby Atmos sound. Apple TV+ supports up to six simultaneous streams across one subscription, and up to six family members can create their own profiles using their own Apple login credentials. Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users can also download Apple TV+ content to watch offline.

Apple TV+ content

As we mentioned above, Apple TV+ is all about original movies and TV series. And while they launched with only a handful of titles, their roster is now much more respectable and growing every month. The Apple TV+ lineup features shows and movies from many high-profile actors and filmmakers, and covers everything you can watch on a monthly basis with our streaming guides, including our what’s new on Apple TV+, best shows on Apple TV+, and best movies on Apple TV+. In the meantime, here’s a brief glimpse of some of what Apple TV+ has to offer:

TV shows

Ted Lasso: Jason Sudeikis stars in this Emmy-winning fish-out-of-water comedy about an American football coach who moves to the U.K. to coach a struggling English football (soccer) team.

For All Mankind: Now in its third season, this sci-fi fantasy series depicts an alternate reality on Earth where the Soviets have beaten the U.S. to the moon, and a group of astronauts led by Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) race to catch up.

Severance: One of Apple TV+’s newest hits, Severance is a brilliant sci-fi, fantasy series starring Adam Scott, who plays Mark, an office worker at Lumon, a company with the unique practice of having employees mentally “sever” their work selves from their home selves where one is unaware of the experiences of the other.

WeCrashed: A miniseries chronicling the rise and fall of WeWork founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann (Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway).

Physical: Rose Byrne stars as bored, desperate housewife Sheila Rubin in this 1980s period comedy-drama about a woman on the verge who finds solace in aerobics and uses it to build a workout-era empire.

Movies

CODA: A major win for Apple TV+, this three-time Oscar-winning film stars Emilia Jones as 17-year-old Ruby, a CODA, or a Child of Deaf Adults, whose love of and talent for singing sends her on a personal journey away from her family to pursue her dreams.

The Tragedy of MacBeth: Denzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the titular Shakespeare character, with the film shot in black and white by esteemed Coen brother Joel.

The Velvet Underground: Some great docs are available on Apple TV+, too, including writer-director Todd Haynes’ deep dive on the iconic rock band The Velvet Underground.

Wolfwalkers: A beautifully animated family adventure film, Wolfwalkers is a folk tale come to life as farmer’s daughter Robyn discovers a mystical secret about herself and her connection to the wolves struggling to survive in the nearby forest.

Of course, you can also access all of your other main streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and more through the interface of the Apple TV, and while the Apple TV+ lineup might not compete with the sheer volume of titles of these main competitors, the value for the price of Apple TV+ might be worthwhile if you enjoy the increasingly high-quality content they’ve been churning out lately.

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