Apple is competing with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max with its own exclusive streaming service, Apple TV+. The new service features a wide assortment of TV shows funded by Apple’s mountainous cash pile, and the Cupertino company is sparing no expense in its attempt to lure viewers with some of the best-known actors, writers, and directors.
Below, you’ll find a compendium of everything we know about the ambitious service, and we’ll keep it updated as we encounter credible rumors and get news from Apple itself.
Updated 11/01/19: Apple TV+ has been released worldwide. There are seven shows available and one movie, together with a single episode of Oprah’s Book Club.
How do you access Apple TV+?
Once it launches, you’ll sign up for and watch Apple TV+ content through Apple’s recently redesigned TV app, which will be available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and the Mac—in addition to some supported third-party smart TVs, Roku, and Fire TV devices.
The TV app redesign introduced Channels for HBO, Starz, and other services, and Apple TV+ will technically count as one of these, although Apple will no doubt emphasize its own content in the app.
Can you watch Apple TV+ shows on non-Apple devices?
Fortunately, yes. In some cases, anyway. You’ll be able to watch Apple TV+ through the TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and the Mac, but you’ll also be able to use the TV app on Amazon Fire TV and Roku along with some new sets from Samsung, Roku, LG, Vizio, and Sony. If you have a new set from Samsung, LG, Sony, or Vizio, you should also be able to use AirPlay 2 to broadcast content straight from your iPhone or iPad to the set.
You can watch in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox by heading to tv.apple.com.
When did Apple launch Apple TV+?
The first Apple TV+ shows were made available on November 1, 2019. Additional shows will roll out over time.
How much does Apple TV+ cost?
During its “By innovation only” event on September 10, Apple shocked the audience by announcing that the service would cost only $4.99 per month. That includes Family Sharing. You can renew your subscription for one year for $49.99.
What’s more, customers who buy an Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, or Mac will get one year of Apple TV+ for free, although this is only for a “limited time.”
You also won’t have to pay anything for Apple TV+ if you’re on the student plan for Apple Music, which costs $4.99 per month. According to 9to5Mac, Apple says the student promotion will only be available for a limited time.
Does Apple TV+ have a free trial?
Yes, but it only lasts for seven days.
For a limited time, if you buy an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, you can get a one year free trial.
Does Apple TV+ have ads?
No. Apple says that content will have no ads and will be available on demand.
Will Apple bundle Apple TV+ with other services (like Apple Music)?
Yes, in a very limited fashion. Apple will bundle Apple TV+ for a limited time with the student plan for Apple Music, which currently costs $4.99 per month.
For non-students, Apple provides a free year of Apple TV+ with any purchase of an Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, or Mac—which makes this more of a hardware bundle than the Apple service bundle some might imagine.
How many shows are available at launch?
Apple is at a disadvantage compared to Disney+ and existing services like Netflix and Amazon Prime because it’s essentially starting from scratch. Fortunately, Apple has a diverse lineup of shows ranging from science fiction and “real-life” dramas to documentaries.
However, there are 7 shows and one movie available at launch on November 1, 2019.
For months, we’ve maintained a list of every Apple TV+ show we know about, and you should check that out for a better look at what Apple has up its sleeve.
Does Apple make movies in addition to TV shows?
Yes. One of the launch features will be The Elephant Queen, a documentary film about an elephant matriarch and her family making their seasonal migration. Additional films include Hala, which will launch in theaters on November 22 and in December for Apple TV+; and The Banker, which arrives in theaters on December 6 and on January 31 on Apple TV+. Many of Apple’s movies will see a similar limited theatrical release, as this is a requirement to qualify for certain prominent awards.
According to a June report from the New York Post, Apple wants to make six “small-budget” movies every year, and it wants these films to be so good that they’ll be nominated for Academy Awards.
Apple was reportedly inspired by the stunning success of Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 monochrome drama Roma, which won 2019 Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best International Feature despite being made for Netflix. The company then started approaching “elevated” directors in the hopes of producing Oscar-worthy films of its own, each with a budget of around $5 million to $30 million.
These Apple-produced films would be in addition to the multiyear agreement Apple has with A24, the studio behind the 2016 drama Moonlight. The first film to come out of that agreement is On the Rocks, directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.
Will you be able to download shows for offline viewing?
Yes, shows will be downloadable to play offline. Apple will probably place limits on how many shows you can download at once or how many times you can download a show. For example, if you already have a show downloaded on one device, Apple TV+ might ask you to delete it when you try to download it on another one.
Does Apple TV+ allow simultaneous streaming?
We were able to successfully stream two different Apple TV+ shows at the same time on the same account, on different devices. There will probably be some upper limit to how much of this Apple allows, however.
Multiple family members with Family Sharing can all stream their own content at once, however.
How much money is Apple spending on Apple TV+?
According to an August 2019 report from the Financial Times, Apple has expanded the budget for Apple TV+ to more than $6 billion. The service reportedly originally started with a budget of $1 billion for 2018 and $2 billion for 2019.
The same report claims that Apple is even spending huge amounts of cash for each episode of its most highly anticipated shows. The Morning Show, for instance, has apparently exceeded its $15 million-per-episode budget. For perspective, that’s more money per episode than HBO spent during the last season of Game of Thrones.
Apple’s budget still falls short of the whopping $15 billion that Netflix is on track to spend this year, but $6 billion is still a vast number for such a new and untried service.
According to NBC’s Dylan Byers, though, Apple is actually paying “significantly less than” $6 billion. Unfortunately, Byers didn’t elaborate.
Will Apple release episodes once a week or drop entire seasons at once?
Apple’s approach varies. At least at first, most shows on Apple TV+ will release three episodes at once out of a given series like The Morning Show or See, and after that, Apple will roll out the rest of the season at a rate of one episode per week. With some shows, though, Apple will take a cue from Netflix and release an entire season all at once.
Hopefully—as this strategy seems to see it—three episodes is just enough binging to get you hooked.
Can you use Family Sharing with Apple TV+?
Yes. Just as with Apple Arcade, a single Apple TV+ subscription can be shared with up to five additional family members.
Each family member has their own watch history and recommendations—it is as if they had their own individual subscription.
Are all Apple TV+ shows available in 4K?
Apple is promoting that Apple TV+ shows will be available in 4K HDR/Dolby Vision and that “most titles” offer Dolby Atmos sound. It’s possible that some shows, like animated features, would not have all the fancy bells and whistles. But for the most part, expect 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos to be the standard baseline for Apple TV+ content.
Shows that are downloaded to watch offline are not at full quality, however.