Apple TV+ has been around for nearly 3 years now and has had its share of difficulties. Designed to compete against the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, Apple used its brand power to attract subscribers and win a piece of the streaming market. But is Apple TV+ finally ready for prime time? Find out more in our extensive Apple TV+.
Explaining our rating for Apple TV+
Overall, we think that Apple TV+ is a perfectly good streaming service. However, it's not really "essential." We think that most people could probably do without it, and would be better off with a competitor like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+.
That's because, even now, it still doesn't really have the depth or breadth of content that its competitors do. It simply has way less content, and if you try, you could burn through its top-rated shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Foundation, and Severance in just a few weeks of binge-watching.
If you ask us, this is a streaming service that you don't need all the time. If a new season of your favorite show drops or you see something interesting, you should subscribe to Apple TV+ and watch it. Then, when you're out of content to watch, you can feel free to cancel it again -- until something else interesting catches your eye.
Apple TV+ 60-second summary
Apple TV+ is Apple's entry into the on-demand streaming market. For just 5 bucks you can get access to a small handful of star-studded, original movies and shows. Apple promises to deliver an expanding array of original content across multiple genres, including kids and family, drama, thriller/horror, science-fiction and documentaries.
The service has a few gaps, however, especially for Android fans. Beyond the Amazon Fire TV, no true Android devices are supported, as Apple is trying its hardest to get subscribers to purchase Apple products. You can still watch on a web browser, but that's not exactly the best experience.
All the same, almost anyone can get a 7-day free trial to Apple TV+ (terms and conditions apply) to judge for themselves whether Apple's new service is a potentially good option to add to the ever-growing list of streamers.
Want more info? Read on, and we'll dive into the details of Apple TV+ and discuss its content, price, streaming device support, customer support, and everything else you need to know before you subscribe.
What is Apple TV+?
Source: Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is the on-demand streaming service that observers long expected Apple to bring to market. Apple TV+ officially launched in the US on November 1, 2019, although industry insiders had reported that Apple was working to bring such a service to market for several years.
In 2015, rumors of Apple working on its own on-demand streaming service designed to rival Netflix were confirmed in a few media reports. At the time, the company was courting various media companies with the hopes of securing licensing agreements and bundles to add content to its planned service.
Unfortunately for Apple, its efforts to get licensing agreements failed. According to news outlets, a mixture of Apple trying to throw its weight around to get sweetheart deals, combined with the abrasiveness of its negotiator, led to no media companies offering their content to Apple TV+. The result? Apple TV+ launched with a super-slim library of 100% original content.
That's the biggest hurdle that Apple TV+ faces today. It has a lot of great content, with some its top-rated shows including Ted Lasso and Severance. But compared to the competition, it just doesn't have as much to offer, since all it has is its original shows. Most other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have both original content as well as licensed favorites like Seinfeld, Friends, and Frasier.
Or, in the case of services like Peacock or Paramount+, they have decades of previously-aired shows that they can use to fill out their content libraries. Peacock has a huge number of NBC shows, and Paramount+ has shows from CBS, Paramount Network, BET, Comedy Central, and tons of others.
This is going to change in the future. Apple still isn't licensing content, but Apple TV+ has a content budget that's estimated at between $1 billion and $6 billion per year. And Apple has some of the deepest pockets of any technology company in the United States. Eventually, Apple TV+ will certainly have a huge library of top-notch content. But that day has not yet come. After you finish its top marquee titles like Ted Lasso, you won't have too much to watch.
Who is Apple TV+ for?
The service includes both kid-friendly content and mature, adult-oriented content. Apple plans to expand its content library across numerous different genres to ensure there's a little something for every type of audience.
And while Apple TV+ is ostensibly for everyone, its device limitations show it's not really for everyone. Apple has made it fairly clear that it wants to continue offering a preference for its own devices.
As such, you won't find Apple TV+ apps for Android mobile phones or tablets. Apple did at least extend support beyond its Apple family of products. You can also stream on Roku, Samsung smart TVs, Vizio smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV.
Apple TV+ pros and cons
There are some things to like about Apple TV+. However, the service has a fair number of legitimate criticisms weighing it down.
- Original content: The service offers high-quality original content with many well-known and well-liked actors and actresses, with some of the most buzzy titles including Ted Lasso, Severance, Foundation, and Mythic Quest, to name just a few.
- Apple's planned spending: Apple plans to spend billions of dollars per year on content, giving Apple TV+ a good amount of future potential.
- Shareable: Apple offers 6 simultaneous streams per account, which is far more than every other major competitor.
- No ads: Most other competitors at this price point have ads. That includes Paramount+, Hulu, and Peacock, to name just a few. However, Apple TV+ delivers an ad-free, premium experience.
- Too much buffering. The streaming experience is hurt by buffering shows and laggy menus, especially on older devices.
- Pricey for what you get: The cost of Apple TV+ seems high when compared to the libraries of similarly-priced competitors.
- No Android support: With no Android support for mobile, Apple is intentionally blocking out a huge segment of the market. Watching in a web browser is your only option if you're an Android user and you want to watch Apple TV+ on the go. It also doesn't support Android TV.
- Poor UI: The small amount of content means this isn't a huge deal, but Apple TV+ could use a make-over, which would make it easier to find new shows and movies to watch.
Apple TV+ plans and pricing
Source: Apple TV+
There's just one package available through Apple TV+:
As stated earlier, your Apple TV+ account comes with full access to all of Apple's original content. That's grown a lot since launch, but it's still far less than what any other service offers. You can check out our full article about Apple TV Plans and Pricing for more info.
Can I get Apple TV+ free for three months?
The answer is "yes" -- with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or macOS device. After your purchase, you can register your new product. Once you do, Apple will send you a promotional offer, and give you Apple TV+ for free for three months.
All you need to do is claim your offer within the Apple TV+ app within three months of setting up your new device for the first time and signing in with your Apple ID. You'll need to provide your credit card info.
Once you start your free trial, you can watch Apple TV+ for free for three months. However, once your free trial ends, you'll automatically start paying for a monthly subscription.
You can cancel before your free trial ends to avoid being charged. But there's a catch -- if you cancel during your free trial period, you lose access to your three-month trial immediately. So if you want to make the most of your trial, you'll need to cancel just a day or two before your Apple TV+ subscription is set to renew. Make a note of this if you want to avoid being charged!
Apple TV+ stream quality
Source: Apple TV+
Apple TV+ content streams in HD, 4K, and HDR, and supports Dolby Atmos for high-quality, immersive sound. The overall experience, however, requires patience.
Videos often take a long time to load and start streaming. There's also no scene preview available if you're trying to skip through content, which is pretty much ubiquitous across streaming services these days. In some instances, when resuming a show that's been watched partway through, it had failed to save my progress.
Some content didn't load at all when I attempted to stream it. For example, I was able to stream The Morning Show and For All Mankind, but when I attempted to open a stream for See, nothing happened. I even had to completely close my browser window and reload Apple TV+, as the "X" button to exit out of the stream failed to work.
Apple TV+ device support
As one might expect, Apple TV+ offers full support for its own device family. According to Apple, you should be able to stream on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and macOS computers. Plenty of other devices are supported, too.
- Streaming devices: Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku
- Smart TVs: Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Roku TVs, Vizio
- Mobile: iOS devices including iPhone and iPad
- Gaming: PlayStation, Xbox
- Computers: Most common Mac and Windows browsers, such as Safari, Chrome, and Firefox
Apple TV+ on Roku
Thankfully, Apple offers strong and wide support for Roku devices. You can stream Apple TV+ on most Roku devices and Roku smart TVs, though it may not be supported on some older models as the years go by.
Apple TV+ on Amazon Fire TV
Although it's an Android-based device, Apple decided to extend support for the popular Amazon Fire TV line of TV-connected streaming devices and smart TVs. You can download and stream the Apple TV+ app on every modern Amazon Fire TV device and smart TV.
Frustratingly, though, this support doesn't extend to Amazon's popular Kindle Fire line of tablets. You can't watch Apple TV+ on any Kindle Fire devices, even though it's supported on Amazon Fire TV.
Apple TV+ on Apple TV
Apple TV+ works natively on the Apple TV device. According to Apple, you should be able to access its Apple TV+ content through the Apple TV app already available on your Apple TV or Apple TV 4K device.
Apple TV+ on iPhones and iPads
Apple TV+ is also made to work immediately on iPhones and iPads. As with the Apple TV tv-connected streaming device, you should be able to find Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app.
(As noted earlier, I struggled to find the Apple TV+ original content on a fully updated iPhone SE, so older iPhone versions may not be supported. Apple, however, does not make any indication of this being the case in its online knowledgebase materials.)
Apple TV+ on Android phones, tablets, and TVs
Apple TV+ still refuses to support Android phones or tablets. There's no official device support. You can watch via a web browser if you want, but this drains your battery really fast, and is definitely a sub-part user experience.
Honestly, this is one of our biggest problems with Apple TV+. If Apple truly wants to compete with giants like Netflix and Hulu -- which support just about every streaming device under the sun -- shouldn't the company want to reach the widest possible audience? Only about 28% of people worldwide have iPhones, while more than 70% of them have Androids. Those numbers don't lie. If they had Android support, I'm certain that more people would subscribe to Apple TV+.
Sure, you could argue that more people are interested on watching Apple TV+ on devices like Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV, or on a smart TV. But Android TV is the fastest growing smart TV platform out there, and Apple TV+ doesn't support Android TV, either. T
Apple TV+ streaming library
Source: Apple TV+
One major addition to Apple TV+'s lineup is Friday Night Baseball, the exclusive live broadcast of Major League Baseball's weekly doubleheader on Friday nights. Apple signed a 7-year deal worth nearly $600 million, so at least that's proof that the company is dedicated to investing in the platform.
All of the original scripted content is high quality, such as the 2022 Oscar winner for Best Picture, CODA. But there might not be enough quantity for some people to justify keeping their subscription all year long.
Some popular Apple TV+ series include:
- Dickinson (Comedy)
- For All Mankind (Sci-Fi Drama)
- Foundation (Sci-Fi Drama)
- The Morning Show (Drama)
- Servant (Thriller)
- Severance (Thriller, Black Comedy)
- Slow Horses (Spy Thriller)
- Ted Lasso (Comedy)
- Truth Be Told (Drama)
- Mythic Quest (Comedy)
- See (Sci-Fi Drama)
The original family content you'll find on Apple TV+ includes:
- Ghostwriter (Kids and Family)
- Helpsters (Kids and Family)
- Snoopy in Space (Kids and Family)
- The Snoopy Show (Kids and Family
Apple TV+ original movies that have received positive reviews and awards include:
- Beastie Boys Story (Documentary)
- Coda (Drama)
- The Elephant Queen (Documentary)
- Finch (Sci-Fi)
- Hala (Drama)
Upcoming projects include Napoleon, a Ridley Scott-directed epic historical drama starring Joaquin Phoenix, and a documentary about Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.
A couple other highlights include Killers of the Flower Moon, a western starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese, as well as Causeway, a new drama film about a soldier with a traumatic brain injury, which stars Jennifer Lawrence. Check out our Apple TV+ content library list for more.
Apple TV+ customer support
If you're an Apple TV+ subscriber, there are four main avenues for customer support:
- Searchable knowledge base and articles
- Phone support
- Chat support
- Community forum
Source: Apple TV+
Whichever option you use is up to your personal needs. However, our testing shows the knowledge base isn't the greatest. Apple simply does not have a lot of information regarding issues with its Apple TV+ service, at present. Your best option is to either use chat support or phone support.
Chat support is not always available, however, so phone support may end up being your only option. If you can't find chat support, but you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, you may be able to use the Apple Support App instead.
How to cancel Apple TV+
If you signed up to Apple TV+ only to find the offering was too lackluster to justify the price, you can cancel quite easily. Simply do the following, or check out our full guide on cancelling Apple TV+.
1. Go to your settings (top right corner profile pic)
Source: Apple TV+
2. Click on the “account settings” label
3. Scroll to the bottom and locate “subscriptions”. Then, click “manage”
Source: Apple TV+
4. Under “edit your subscription” select “cancel subscription”
Source: Apple TV+
5. Under “confirm cancellation” select “cancel subscription"
Source: Apple TV+
5. Finally, click “done” to confirm you’ve canceled your account
Source: Apple TV+
Apple will allow you to continue using your TV+ account until the end of the paid-for term if you're a paid subscriber. But if you have a free trial, you'll lose access to it immediately, so keep this in mind.
Apple TV+ refund policy
You cannot get a refund after paying for Apple TV+. You can still watch until the end of the term, but you won't be able to get your money back following payment. That's pretty standard for streaming services, though.
However, this is something to keep in mind if you're choosing between an annual and a monthly subscription. If you get an annual subscription and change your mind about Apple TV+, you won't get a refund.
So if you're not sure about Apple TV+, we'd recommend starting out with a monthly subscription. If you like it, you can upgrade to a yearly subscription later on. That way, you'll avoid wasting money if it turns out that this streaming service isn't right for you.
Apple TV+ has some good things going for it. Lots of its recently-released shows and movies, like Severance and CODA, have been critical darlings, and they've got a lot of great content coming out in the next few months.
Overall, it has some of the best original content out there. But that's also a big problem with Apple TV+. It just doesn't have that much to watch. If you're a frequent binge-watcher, you'll find that you've exhausted its content library within just a few months.
The price, while still a little expensive for what you get, also hasn't gone up since Apple TV+ launched -- while competitors like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ have all raised prices within the last couple of years. Apple TV+ also doesn't have ads, unlike Peacock and Paramount+.
Still, Apple's policy of not supporting Android is frustrating, Apple+ doesn't have that much content, and the "needs-work" user interface and occasionally-sluggish streaming experience mean that it's hard to recommend wholeheartedly.
So, what do we think? Sign up for a month long subscription. If you like what you see, keep it for as long as you’d like. And once you (inevitably) run out of content, cancel your Apple TV+ subscription -- and come back when there's something new to watch in a year or two.
Sam Cook • Author
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming.
Lisa Holden • Editor
Lisa Holden is an editor and creative based in Houston, TX. Lisa holds a BA in African-American Studies from Temple University and has spent her career working in news publications and magazines, even founding a magazine herself. She began working as an editor for Flixed in 2023. When she’s not editing or working on one of her many creative endeavors (whenever that is), she enjoys traveling to new places and biking on sunny days.