Apple has extended its year-long free trials of the Apple TV Plus streaming service that were set to expire starting on November 1. Now, it will extend your free TV Plus membership up to three months to (at least) February 1, 2021, assuming your trial was set to expire before then.
If, for instance, your trial began on November 16, 2019, your free trial would end on February 16, 2021 — three months after the original renewal date. However, if your original trial began in January 2020, your trial will still end sometime in February 2021, giving you only one free month of streaming instead of three.
If you're unsure when you signed up or when your trial will end, you should be able to check your official upcoming renewal date on Apple's Manage Subscriptions page (opens in new tab).
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We also learned via TechCrunch (opens in new tab) that this extension also applies to anyone who paid out of pocket for an annual Apple TV Plus subscription during the same November 2019 through January 2020 window, pushing their renewal payments into February 2021.
Moreover, current monthly Apple TV Plus subscribers will also benefit from Apple's extension: reportedly, anyone who starts paying for Apple TV Plus before November 1st, 2020, will get a $4.99 credit per month applied automatically to their account until February 2021, which will offset the cost of the service.
As of right now, signing up for an Apple TV Plus free trial (opens in new tab) will get you just seven days before you have to pay. However, if you buy an Apple device, the offer for a free year of TV Plus still stands. Buy the new iPhone 12, for instance, and you should be able to get Apple TV Plus through November 2021 for free.
Will Apple TV Plus justify a 2021 subscription?
Apple TV Plus has struggled to differentiate itself among an increasingly crowded field of streaming platforms. And while we can laud Apple's decision to give users a few free months of content, it's first and foremost a business decision that keeps its subscriber base intact for a few more months.
The longer users get the service for free, the more likely they'll actually watch content on it, and ideally become hooked on shows with Season Twos incoming in 2021. The Morning Show, Dickinson, For All Mankind, Mythic Quest, Ted Lasso, and See are just some of the shows with a planned second season for 2021.
Unfortunately, shows like The Morning Show have had filming delayed for over half a year due to the pandemic, so extended free memberships are a way for Apple to tide users over while they rush to create new content compelling enough to keep them onboard.
Apple will also be launching Apple One — the all-in-one subscription bundle that includes TV Plus along with iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus and Apple Fitness Plus. Apple undoubtedly hopes that it will lure some of its current free subscriber base into trying out the new, comprehensive service instead.