On November 1, 2019, Apple finally entered the vibrant streaming market with Apple TV+. A subscription service that delivers original content from everyone’s favorite lifestyle brand. Since you may already have a subscription to Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, or some combination of the above, another content provider seems like an attempt.
The good news is that you probably won’t have to spend any money to try the service. The even better news is that we’re going to go over the most important things you need to know so you can get going if you choose to give Apple a chance.
How to get Apple TV +
You will need an Apple ID to become a subscriber. If you own any Apple hardware, you probably already have an Apple ID. Otherwise, you will have to sign up for an account before continuing. You can subscribe from within the Apple TV app on any device that supports it.
The service costs $4.99 per month, but everyone gets a 7-day free trial, which, as you’ll see, is more than enough time to give the content a fair share. If you purchased an Apple device recently, you may also be eligible for a 1-year free trial.
Just sign in to your Apple account on that new device, and when you open the Apple TV app, you’ll receive the offer. Even better, everyone in your Family Sharing group has access on their own device.
Existing users with an Apple Music Student subscription may also be eligible for a free Apple TV+ addition. So Apple has made it easy for potential subscribers to try out its entertainment service for a low or no cost.
Apple’s other two main services, Music and Arcade, have proven to be both popular and good. For now, however, there’s no indication that the three-service’s value pack will happen.
Where can I watch Apple TV+?
Apple TV is available on any Apple device with a display. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and macOS all support this service. However, Apple had the foresight to also offer versions of the Apple TV app for non-Apple devices.
Some recent Samsung smart TVs have this app, but first you need to confirm that your smart TV brand and model has it. Roku and Amazon streaming devices also have the app, but Android users are currently out of luck.
However, Apple brought their Music App to Android, so never say never!
What content is being favored?
At launch, the amount of content on the ground was pretty slim. Apple is focusing heavily on original content, which has been very successful for market leader Netflix. You can fully enjoy the launch content during the free trial period. However, new shows and episodes will be released regularly.
As for the quality of the content provided, that is largely subjective. Reviews of shows like For all mankind has been mixed. However, since you can sample this show for free, the best strategy is to simply try out a few episodes from the shows that are currently on offer.
The list of upcoming releases is also quite respectable, so if you signed up outside of the trial period it could very well be worth keeping an eye on.
Use the app
We’re using the app on an iPad Pro here, so expect some layout differences on smart TVs and iPhones. However, the overall operation of the Apple TV app is the same.
Apple TV+ doesn’t have its own apps. Instead, it’s simply a channel added to the existing Apple TV app. This probably saved Apple some development costs, but it made the user experience feel a bit clunky.
It also means that you should be careful when touching it. Most of what you see in the app isn’t currently included with an Apple TV+ subscription. Those are mostly rental or outright purchase titles, which means you have to be careful when handing over your tablet or phone to the kids. Make sure to require a password for every purchase or enable Request to buy on the child’s device, if they’re using an Apple ID for kids.
Assuming that you’ve finished activating your Apple TV+ subscription, launch the app and you’ll see a screen like this.
Now scroll down until you see available channels. This may vary by region.
Knock on Apple TV +.
Here you will see what programs are currently offered on the channel. Right now, there aren’t many, but there are more programs in development. The interface works well because of the limited number of titles, but it can get a bit complicated as the library starts to expand.
Be forewarned that the “search” function at the bottom of the screen not only searches for content in Apple TV+, but also content for which you will pay extra!
To start watching, tap on any show that interests you and you’ll be taken to its page.
Now just tap to play or continue and enjoy your show.
Wait and see
This is just the beginning for Apple TV+. With a huge mountain of money invested in original content and a second season of early screenings confirmed, it is sure to offer something to watch.
You can totally get hooked on all the content that comes out within the 7-day trial for new subscribers, which doesn’t sound like a coincidence. So you can try everything Apple TV+ has to offer at launch without paying a dime.
Again, keep in mind that if anyone on your Family Sharing plan purchased Apple hardware near the launch of Apple TV+, they may also be eligible for a full year of free use.