On November 1, 2019, Apple finally entered the hot streaming market with Apple TV +. A subscription service that offers original content from everyone’s favorite lifestyle brand. Given that you’ve probably already subscribed to Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, or a combination of the above, yet another content provider seems like a stretch.
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’ll go over the most important things you need to know so you can start running 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 Apple hardware, you probably already have an Apple ID. If not, you will need to register one before proceeding. You can subscribe from the Apple TV app on any device that supports it.
The service costs $ 4.99 a month, but everyone gets a 7-day free trial which, as you’ll see, is more than enough to give the content a fair shake. If you recently purchased an Apple device, you may also be eligible for a 1-year free trial.
Log into your Apple account on that new device and when you open the Apple TV app, you should receive the offer. Even better, all members of your Family Sharing group have access on their own devices.
Users currently using the Apple Music Student subscription can also qualify for the free Apple TV + addition. So Apple has made it easy for potential subscribers to try out their entertainment offering for little or no money.
Apple’s other two main services, Music and Arcade, have proven to be both popular and good. However, at present, there is no indication that a bundling of value of the three services will occur.
Where can I watch Apple TV +?
Apple TV is available on all Apple devices with a screen. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and macOS all support the service. However, Apple had the foresight to provide versions of the Apple TV app for non-Apple devices as well.
Some recent Samsung Smart TVs have the app, but you will first need to confirm that your smart TV brand and model have the app. Roku and Amazon streaming devices also have the app, but Android users are currently out of luck.
However, Apple has ported its music app to Android, so never say never!
What content is on offer?
At launch, the amount of content is pretty small on the ground. Apple is focusing heavily on original content, which has been very successful for market leader Netflix. It is entirely possible to gorge on the launch content during the free trial. However, new shows and episodes will be released regularly.
As for the quality of the content offered, it is largely subjective. Reviews of shows like For all of humanity have been mixed. However, since you can try this programming for free, the best strategy is to simply try out a few episodes of the shows currently on offer.
The list of upcoming releases is also pretty respectable, so if you subscribe beyond the trial period it might be worth sticking around.
Using the app
We’re using the app on an iPad Pro here, so expect some layout differences on Smart TVs and iPhones. However, the general functioning of the Apple TV app is the same.
Apple TV + does not have its own application. Instead, it’s simply a channel added to the existing Apple TV app. This probably saved Apple a bundle when it comes to development costs, but it leaves the user experience a little on the stick.
It also means that you should be careful where you touch. Most of what you see inside the app is not currently included in the Apple TV + subscription. These are mostly rental titles or outright purchases, which means you need to be careful when handing your tablet or phone to kids. Be sure to require a password for each purchase or enable Ask to buy on a child’s device, if they are using a child’s Apple ID.
Assuming you’ve completed activating your Apple TV + subscription, launch the app and you should see a screen like this.
Now scroll down until you see available channels. This may vary by region.
Touch Apple TV +.
Here you will see which programs are currently on offer on the channel. There isn’t much at the moment, but other programs are in the works. The interface works well given the number of titles available, but it could get a little tricky once the library starts to expand.
Note that the “search” function at the bottom of the screen not only searches for content on Apple TV +, but also for content that you will have to pay extra for!
To start watching, tap on one of the shows you’re interested in and you’ll be taken to its page.
Now tap to play or resume and enjoy your show.
Wait and see
This is just the beginning for Apple TV +. With a huge mountain of cash invested in original content and second seasons for preview shows already confirmed, it will definitely bring something worth watching on the table.
It’s entirely possible to binge all of the launch content within the 7-day trial for new subscribers, which doesn’t seem like an accident. So you can literally experience everything Apple TV + has to offer at launch without paying a dime.
Again, remember that if someone in your family sharing plan bought Apple hardware close to the Apple TV + launch, they might even be entitled to a full year free.