(Pocket-lint) - Apple offers its own TV and movie streaming service called Apple TV+ (or Apple TV Plus). Pitched as Apple's direct rival to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, the new service presents original programming only - all through the existing Apple TV app for multiple devices. Here is everything you need to know.
What is Apple TV+?
Apple TV+ is Apple’s home for original films and series. It is available on a monthly subscription and available across several platforms through the latest version of the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ offers ad-free, exclusive content that's been either green-lit or produced in-house by Apple itself. To help ensure the success of its first foray into original content, Apple has partnered with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, JJ Abrams, and even Big Bird.
Where is Apple TV+ available?
Apple TV+ is available in over 100 countries, including the US and UK.
How much does Apple TV+ cost?
Apple TV+ costs just £4.99 / $4.99 per month for a family subscription. However, you can save a bit if you subscribe to Apple One, launching autumn 2020, which bundles other Apple streaming services together at a discount. Interested users can further get a seven-day trial period to Apple TV+ to watch content for free.
Finally, Apple gives anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV one year of Apple TV+ for free.
How do you sign up for Apple TV+?
You can subscribe to and watch Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app available across multiple devices.
Get one free year of Apple TV+:
Any new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, or Mac purchased after 10 September 2019 is eligible to activate a one-year free subscription.
- Turn on your Apple device and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Open the Apple TV app. Make sure your device is running the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS.
- Apple said the offer should be presented immediately after launching the app. If not, scroll down in Watch Now until the offer appears.
- Tap "Enjoy 1 Year Free."
- You might be asked to enter your Apple ID password, confirm your billing information, or add a valid payment method.
What devices support Apple TV+?
Apple TV+ is available inside the Apple TV app on iOS/iPadOS devices and Mac. It is also part of the Apple TV set-top-box user interface. It's available on select smart TVs, too, as well as Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. Unfortunately, there's no Android app at present.
You can subscribe to Apple TV+ and watch it on:
- An iPhone or iPod touch with the latest version of iOS.
- An iPad with the latest version of iPadOS.
- An Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD with the latest version of tvOS.
- An Apple TV (3rd generation) with the latest Apple TV software update.
- A smart TV or streaming box that supports the Apple TV app.
- A Mac running the latest version of macOS.
- The site tv.apple.com in a Safari, Firefox or Chrome web browser.
Which formats does Apple TV+ support?
You can watch Apple Originals in 4K HDR / Dolby Vision. Most titles also offer Dolby Atmos sound.
Apple Originals shows and films
Apple TV+ launched with just nine Apple Originals available to view, but it's been adding more over the past few months. You can find the majority of them here with trailers:
Greyhound is a hotly anticipated World War II movie starring Tom Hanks. Captain Ernest Krause (Hanks) leads an international convoy of 37 ships across the Atlantic to deliver troops and supplies to the Allied forces.
Based on the life of famous American poet Emily Dickinson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, this is a comedic look into her world. Jane Krakowski, known for roles in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and 30 Rock, also stars as Emily's mother.
A ghost has moved into the local neighbourhood's bookshop and is releasing fictional characters into the real world. It is up to a gang of four children to return them back to their homes. This kid-friendly drama is from the Sesame Workshop.
For All Mankind
Apple picked up this science fiction space saga developed by Ronald D Moore, best known for the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica. The show explores "what would have happened if the global space race had never ended" and stars several actors, including Joel Kinnaman.
The second of the two kids shows from the Sesame Workshop, Helpsters is a fun, colourful edutainment programme for younger children. Think Sesame Street in 4K and Dolby Vision.
Oprah's Book Club
Oprah Winfrey hosts this interview programme, themed around authors and their books, as part of an extended partnership with Apple. She is also working on two upcoming documentaries that is released on Apple TV+. The first is about sexual harassment and has a working title of Toxic Labor, while another is about mental health in collaboration with Prince Harry.
See is an epic world-building drama set in a dystopian future where humankind has been almost wiped out by a virus. Jason Momoa stars in the role of Baba Voss, a warrior, leader and guardian who fathers twins born with a rather special power.
Snoopy in Space
Snoopy and the gang star in an all-new animated adventure.
The Morning Show
Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell star in a series about what goes on behind the cameras of the various morning shows that millions of Americans wake up to every day.
This coming-of-age story stars Geraldine Viswanathan as a Muslim teenager finding her way in the US.
Servant is a psychological thriller written by Tony Basgallop and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, who is best known for Signs. The first episode of the series has been directed by Shyamalan himself. Apple ordered 10 episodes for the first season, and each one is a half-hour long.
Truth Be Told
Apple ordered 10 episodes of this drama, based on the novel Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. It explores how the reopening of a murder case affects the victim's daughter. It stars Octavia Spencer, known for Hidden Figures, and Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad.
"Amazing Stories" is a sci-fi and horror anthology series created by Steven Spielberg. It's a revival of the 80s show that had the same name.
Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
This series follows a team of video game developers. Rob McElhenney plays the company's creative director, while other cast members include F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, Imani Hakim, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Ashly Burch, and Jessie Ennis. Charlie Day is a producer, too.
"Little America" is an anthology series that looks at the lives of immigrants in America. Every episode is written by a different writer, with the content collected by Epic Magazine. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, known for "The Big Sick," are writing the show.
The Banker is a true story starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson as two businessmen who bucked the trend against the racially oppressive establishment in the 1960s, by helping African Americans get a foot on the property ladder. It hits Apple TV+ on 20 March.
This is an animated musical comedy series that tells the story of a family of caretakers who live in Central Park. It'll star Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, and Titus Burgess as voice characters. It premieres 29 May.
Home Before Dark
Home Before Dark is a drama series about Hilde Lysiak, a child journalist who publishes a newspaper called the Orange Street News in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. It premieres 3 April and stars Brooklynn Prince, Jim Sturgess, Abby Miller, and Kylie Rogers.
Is all Apple's content family-friendly?
Apple is targeting a broad audience. Apple has reportedly stated that it will avoid content with nudity, raw language, and violence. The company even shelved Vital Signs, an autobiographical show about hip hop artist Dr. Dre, as Apple CEO Tim Cook was said to be "troubled" by its use of guns, sex, and drugs.
What about Apple TV channels?
The Apple TV app also allows you to sign up for third-party services.
This is thanks to an Apple TV Channels feature that is separate from an Apple TV+ subscription. Apple partners with Showtime, HBO, CBS All Access, and others in the US, as well as BFI Player, Starzplay, Arrow TV, and several others in the UK. You can pay extra to access those add-on channels using your iTunes account for all payments and billing.
Want to know more?
Check out our other guide on the Apple TV app here.