After months of hype and years of planning, Apple’s new TV+ streaming service finally debuts today. Maybe you’ve seen the endless promos and Instagram ads for The Morning Show, or you’ve read the numerous analyses of whether it can work. (We like this one.) But are you still wondering exactly what Apple TV+ is, what it costs, and how you get it? Fear not, regular Vulture reader or person who Googled “how to watch Apple TV shows”: We’ve got you covered with an essential FAQ for all things Apple TV+.
What can I watch right now on Apple TV+?
A handful of original series and movies, the revival of Oprah’s Book Club and a smattering of kids’ shows. Highlights include Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s #MeToo–themed drama The Morning Show, Ronald D. Moore’s alt-history space race For All Mankind, and the Hailee Steinfeld–led Dickinson, which our Kathryn VanArendonk described as “part queer teen romance, part silly literary revisionism, part high-school comedy, and part pure absurdism.” Expect a couple new shows or movies to drop every month or so. Most new shows will debut with three episodes, with new episodes then released every week. There will be exceptions: Comedies such as Dickinson will drop all at once. If you want to see trailers for the shows debuting today, as well as some stuff rolling out later, they’re here.
How much does it cost?
$4.99 a month is the list price. Apple is offering the first week free to new users, but that’s not the only way to get the service at no cost. (Read on.)
Can I get Apple TV+ for free?
You can — sort of. Per Apple, you’re eligible for a full year of TV+ at zero cost if you’ve purchased a “new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac capable of running the latest iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS” after September 10 from Apple or an Apple-authorized reseller. Apple hasn’t said how long this offer will last, so don’t yell at us if it decides to suddenly change its mind. Also, if you’re a college student and have access to the discounted $4.99 per month Apple Music subscription, good news: You’re automatically getting TV+ free, too, Apple says. (It’s not clear how long it plans to keep this de facto bundle going, kids, so enjoy it while you can.)
How did I get that free year?
Starting today, if you’re running the latest version of your device’s operating system and have updated the TV app, Apple says as soon as you open the app, you’ll be automatically prompted to accept the free year offer — assuming you’ve purchased an eligible Apple device from an authorized source. You might have to enter an Apple ID or credit card, but after that you should be good to go. (The reason you might need to enter a credit card or Apple ID? Because the subscription auto-renews at the end of the year. Mark you calendar accordingly.)
Enough small talk. How do I actually watch Apple TV+ shows?
If you’re an Apple home, it’s pretty easy: All shows live in Apple’s TV app, which is built into the Apple TV streaming box and comes standard on most iPhones, iPods and iPads and, as of earlier this year, Apple computers. You should make sure you’ve got the latest update to make sure everything works, but once you do, Apple’s originals will have their own prominent section on the app’s home screen.
And if you don’t have any Apple-branded devices? There’s also an app for that. In recent weeks, Apple released a version of the aforementioned TV app for select Roku and Amazon Fire streaming boxes and sticks. Download the TV app the way you’d add any app to a streaming device, sign up (or sign in), and stream away. We’ve tested it on Roku and it looks almost identical to the app you get on an Apple TV box. (Bonus: If you have episodes of The Office you downloaded years ago on iTunes, they’ll show up on your Roku or Fire device via the Library section of the app, though only if you sign in with your Apple ID.) The TV app is also available on newer Samsung smart TVs (made in 2018 or 2019), and Apple has said some Vizio, Sony, and LG TVs will soon support the service.
But not everyone will have full access to Apple’s newest product. While Apple TV+ is easy to use on iPhones and iPads, there’s currently no TV app for Android phones or tablets. However, Android users (and anyone without the right device) can still stream on the web via tv.apple.com, as long as you use Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.
How many people can use my subscription?
Each membership supports up to six simultaneous streams. If you’re an Apple home with family sharing turned on, “Each family member can watch with their own Apple ID on their own device,” the company says, adding there’s “no need to share your account or password.” If you’re watching some other way, though, you’ll presumably have to share log-in information.
Do I need to live in the U.S. to watch?
Nope. Apple TV+ is available in over 100 countries, including Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Can I watch The Office on Apple TV+?
No, that’s Netflix, at least through next year.
What about Friends?
No, that’s also Netflix, at least through next month.
So, what old TV shows can I watch on TV+?
None! Apple is spending all its money making original shows rather than paying someone else for their library titles. You can always buy movies and old seasons of shows on iTunes — including the complete series collection of The Office for $70 — and then watch on the TV app. Or, if you’re not on a strict streaming budget, remember: Disney+, which costs $6.99 per month, debuts November 12. And it will have a lot of old TV shows and movies.
But is there a Tim Apple show?
We’re done here, wise guy.