An increasingly popular way to stream music, Apple Music has a lot going for it. While rival Spotify is still yet to launch its promised HiFi tier, Apple has casually improved its offering extensively to include Lossless audio support across more than 90 million songs, as well and Dolby Atmos in many of them, plus music videos and exclusives – including Sessions. Aimed at helping users discover new tracks and artists, there's plenty to like here, even if you just end up playing your old favorites all the time.
However, unlike Spotify (and Tidal, if you live in the US) Apple Music doesn't have a free tier. Unlike some of the other best music streaming services, you'll need to pay up to see what the tech giant has to offer. That's where we come in, helping you with the best ways to save money on Apple Music while thoroughly enjoying the service.
Read on as we guide you through some surprisingly simple ways to save big on Apple Music.
1. Get the right plan for you
Apple Music offers four different plans, so it's essential you find the right one for you. All plans provide access to 90 million songs, curated playlists, ad-free music and exclusive content, but some fundamental differences exist.
The cheapest option is the Apple Music Voice plan. It's only $5/£5 per month, and it's Apple's most affordable plan, but there's a catch. You can only use it with Siri. That means only Siri-enabled devices can operate your subscription, and you're solely dependent on your voice to do anything. You can access the whole Apple audio library, but can't watch music videos or look up lyrics. There's also no support for lossless audio or spatial audio. It's a good bet in the car though, or when using HomePod mini.
The option most people will be comfortable with is the individual plan. For $10/£10 per month, you get everything that Apple Music offers, right down to being able to download 100,000 songs to your library.
Students can take advantage of the same plan for $6/£6 per month, so there's a considerable saving here.
The best saving? The Family plan. For $15/£15 per month, you gain unlimited access for up to six people and personal music libraries for each family member. This is an excellent money-saver even for two people, and it just gets better value from there.
2. Commit to an annual plan
As with most subscription services, Apple Music rewards you for signing up for it annually, rather than using it monthly. But unlike other options, it's somewhat hidden away.
On the Apple site, you're shown four subscription plans, each listed with its monthly price. Once you sign up (and activate your 1-month free trial), you can change your Apple Music subscription by looking up Subscriptions on your Apple account and changing it to a one-year plan.
By doing so, you'll save some money. For an individual plan, you pay $99/£99 saving you $21/£21 on paying each month. It means the payment is in one lump sum, but it's well worth doing if you're here for the long haul.
3. Sign up for Apple One
You'll save a fair amount if you use many Apple services by bundling them together with Apple One. Again, there are different plans here. The basic Individual plan offers Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud with 50GB of storage. It costs $15/£15 per month, so it's not much more than standard Apple Music alone.
There's also a Family plan with Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud storage for $20/£20, while the Premier plan adds on Apple Fitness and Apple News+ for $30/£30 each month – again, for the whole family.
Not everyone needs all of these services, but even if you just need a couple, you could save a fair bit each month by consolidating into an Apple One plan. And again if there's more than one of you, it becomes a major money saver very quickly.
4. Buy a new device and get six months of Apple Music
Apple often bundles in six months' worth of Apple Music free when you buy certain Apple products – so while buying a whole pair of earbuds just to get streaming music isn't exactly money-saver in itself, if you're thinking of buying anyway, it
Certain retailers bundle in a free six-month trial when you buy a relevant product too. You can get the offer in the US via Best Buy, Verizon and Target. In the UK, EE and O2 offer three or six months of Apple Music for free with certain products.
5. Use discounted Apple gift cards
You can pay for Apple Music using Apple gift cards, which can be helpful. Often, retailers have sales on gift cards, and if you stockpile, then you can save a little on your Apple Music subscription.
It's a bit more effort than other options, but the savings soon add up – especially since you could stack them with other discounts. If you get the gift cards for 10% off and you're saving 20% by paying annually, you're a double winner.
6. Get up to 3 months free using Shazam
The music identification app Shazam is now owned by Apple, and so often has Apple Music deals that mean you can get up to three months of Apple Music for free once you scan a QR code on the service.
There's no need to commit to Shazam for any length of time, and the app is free anyhow. The catch? The offer isn't always available, so it's not necessarily one you should rely on as always there for you.
Time it right, though, and you can get a very easy few months of Apple Music for free…
Between all of these tips (or a combination of them), you should be able to find a way to make some real savings on Apple Music – and don't forget to check out our guide to the best AirPods deals if you to save some money there, too.
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