If you‘re an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV user who enjoys mobile games, you may be interested in trying out Apple Arcade. Apple Arcade grants you unlimited access to over 200 premium and exclusive games across all your Apple devices, with new games added regularly.
While Apple Arcade normally costs a monthly subscription fee of $4.99, there are several legit ways you can access Apple Arcade for free, either through an extended trial period or bundled with another service.
In this guide, I‘ll walk you through step-by-step how to take advantage of these deals and start playing Apple Arcade games without paying anything. I‘ll also provide some expert tips to maximize your free access once you have it set up. Let‘s dive in!
Claim the 1 Month Free Trial
If you‘ve never tried Apple Arcade before, you‘re eligible for a 1 month free trial which will grant you full access to all the games.
Here‘s exactly how to get it:
Open up the App Store app on your iPhone, iPad or other Apple device.
At the bottom, tap on the Arcade tab with the joystick icon.
On the Arcade main page, look for the "Try it free" button and tap on it.
A pop-up will ask you to confirm with your Apple ID password. Enter your password.
The free trial will now be activated! The App Store will prompt you to download any Arcade games you want.
That‘s all it takes. You now have 30 days of unlimited gameplay across the entire Apple Arcade catalog. Be sure to add reminders on your calendar to cancel before the month ends if you don‘t plan to continue the subscription.
Redeem the 3 Month Free Trial (New Device)
Did you recently purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or other Apple device? If so, you‘re eligible for an even longer 3 month free trial of Apple Arcade!
Follow these steps to activate it:
Finish setting up your new device and make sure you‘re signed into the Apple ID you want to use.
Launch the App Store, then go to the Arcade tab.
Look for the "Redeem 3 months free" button and tap on it.
Hit confirm to activate the trial.
You now have a full 3 months to play to your heart‘s content. Amazing for long trips or keeping kids entertained during school breaks. Don‘t forget to turn off auto-renewal if you don‘t want to be charged when the trial period ends.
Get Apple Arcade with Apple One (Free Trial)
Apple now offers bundled service plans called Apple One, which include Apple Arcade along with other services like Apple Music, iCloud storage, Apple TV+ and more.
If you redeem a free trial of any Apple One plan, you can access Apple Arcade at no cost during the trial. Here‘s how:
Go to the App Store and tap on your profile icon in the top right.
Scroll down and tap "Try Apple One free."
Select the Apple One bundle you want to try (Individual, Family, Premier).
Follow the prompts to start your 7 day free trial.
Once you complete the steps, Apple Arcade will be included in your free trial. You‘ll have 7 days to play as many games as you want before you‘ll need to pay to keep the subscription.
Check for Apple Arcade Promotions
Keep an eye out for special deals or promotions that offer free access to Apple Arcade. For example:
Wireless carriers: Service providers like Verizon sometimes include Apple Arcade as a perk with certain data plans. You may be eligible for 3-12 months free.
Other subscriptions: Streaming TV services like Epix occasionally bundle Apple Arcade incentives with new sign-ups.
Hardware bundles: When purchasing iPads or Apple TV devices, retailers may throw in free Apple Arcade trials.
It never hurts to chat with sales reps and check for any available promos. Taking advantage of a bundle deal is a great way to enjoy Apple Arcade at no extra cost to you.
Use Family Sharing to Access Existing Subscription
If someone in your Family Sharing group already pays for Apple Arcade, you can access it for free as long as they maintain the subscription.
To set this up:
Have the family organizer enable Family Sharing and add you as a member.
Ask the family member with the paid Apple Arcade subscription to share it with the family.
You can now download and play any Apple Arcade games at no personal cost to you!
As long as just one person keeps paying, everyone else in the family gets to enjoy the benefits. Family Sharing is an amazing way for families with kids to save money.
Okay, let‘s say you‘ve now gotten Apple Arcade for free through one of the above methods. Here are some expert gaming tips to take full advantage of your free subscription period:
Download Games for Offline Play
Since Apple Arcade is a paid service, you can download any games for offline play even without an internet connection.
When you find a game you want, tap on the cloud icon to download it directly to your device so you can play with no WiFi needed – perfect for plane rides or other offline situations.
Explore Hidden Gems
Don‘t just stick to the most popular games. Part of the fun is digging up those hidden gems!
Sort the Apple Arcade catalog by release date and try out some of the newest or least-reviewed games. You may discover some underappreciated indie titles you‘d otherwise never know about.
Coordinate Games with Family
If you have family members on your Apple Arcade plan, browse the catalog together and coordinate which games each person will download. That way you don‘t all end up installing the same few games.
It‘s a great way to discover new genres and game types you may not try on your own. Take advantage of the variety.
Play Across All Your Devices
Apple Arcade allows play across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV so long as you use the same Apple ID.
Start playing a game on your iPhone, then pick up right where you left off on your iPad or Apple TV. Transition seamlessly between screens for the best experience.
Use Screen Time Controls
If kids have access to Apple Arcade, set Screen Time limits to block gaming during specific hours, restrict mature game titles, disable in-app purchases, and more.
Taking advantage of these parental controls ensures that gaming doesn‘t interfere with more important responsibilities.
Once your free trial period for Apple Arcade ends, you‘ll be charged $4.99 per month if you take no action. Here are some tips for cancelling:
You can disable auto-renewal at any time through your Apple ID account settings to prevent being charged monthly.
If you cancel mid-period, you‘ll still have access until your next billing date. So you get the full value even if cancelling immediately.
Make sure kids delete any downloaded Arcade games before ending access to avoid pop-ups asking them to renew.
Your gameplay progress is stored in Game Center online, so if you resubscribe in the future, your saved data will still be there.
If you got Apple Arcade through an Apple One or carrier bundle, you‘ll need to cancel the entire package, not just Arcade.
Knowing how to cancel makes it easy to try Apple Arcade risk-free. And you can always resubscribe later if you miss it!
Okay, so once your free trial ends, should you pay the $4.99 monthly charge to keep Apple Arcade? Here are some pros and cons to weigh:
- Huge catalog of over 200+ exclusive games not available elsewhere
- No annoying ads or microtransactions in games
- New exciting games added every month
- Play on multiple Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV through cloud syncing
- Share one subscription with family up to 6 members
- Unlimited access for one flat rate – an amazing value!
- Monthly fee adds up over time
- Selection still trails platforms like Xbox and PlayStation
- Lacks flashy graphics and processing power of consoles
- Appeal limited mostly to casual iOS gamers
For avid mobile gamers and families with kids, Apple Arcade offers tremendous entertainment value for just $5 a month. But it may not be worthwhile if you only play casual games occasionally.
Try it out free first, then decide if you want to continue the subscription. For many users, it‘s absolutely worth the small monthly investment!
With over 200 games and counting, it can be hard to know where to start with Apple Arcade. Here are 10 fantastic titles I highly recommend checking out across different genres:
Oceanhorn 2 (Action RPG)
This sweeping, console-style action RPG looks and feels like playing a Legend of Zelda game. It has a engrossing 20 hour story, gorgeous graphics, and satisfying gameplay – an epic Apple Arcade exclusive.
What the Golf? (Sports/Puzzle)
A quirky parody of golf games featuring inventive physics-based gameplay. With ridiculously creative levels, no two are alike. Hilarious to experience the surprises.
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Rhythm)
Fuses high-speed racing with rhythm gameplay, all wrapped in a pop album soundtrack and stylish visuals. Challenging levels test your coordination skills.
LEGO Brawls (Action/Fighting)
Who doesn‘t love LEGOs? This game lets you assemble a minifigure and battle in fun 4v4 online multiplayer matches. Great for younger kids.
The Oregon Trail (Simulation)
A modern remake of the classic edutainment game taking settlers along the Oregon Trail in 1848. Nostalgic and educational, now with fresh new visuals and mechanics.
The Pathless (Adventure)
Majestic open world movement as a hunter traversing forests and misty plains, with clever puzzles and boss battles. Soaring movement feels magical.
Mini Metro (Puzzle/Simulation)
Endlessly addicting subway map puzzle game where you connect stations and design efficient rail lines. Simple to play but challenging to master.
Unique combination of hack-and-slash combat with spellcasting as you fight monsters. Great storyline with puzzles to solve between battles.
Cooking Mama: Cuisine (Simulation)
Super popular cooking simulation series where you chop ingredients, stir pots, and complete recipes against the clock. Great family fun.
Jenny LeClue (Adventure)
A charming, story-driven adventure following mystery-obsessed Jenny as she tries to solve a murder in her small town. Beautiful art style.
Give some of these stellar Apple Arcade games a shot during your free trial. They really showcase the diversity, quality and fun available!
Where is Apple Arcade headed? Based on industry analysis and developer interviews, experts predict:
Bigger franchise games – Huge series like Final Fantasy and Sonic coming soon. Apple investing heavily to attract top developers.
More online multiplayer – Competitive and co-op multiplayer modes will increase, using Game Center integration.
New genres – Apple will expand into underrepresented categories like MMORPGs, fitness, music/rhythm games.
Console ports – Developers porting successful console titles to Apple Arcade as exclusives.
Augmented reality – More location-based and camera AR gameplay to utilize iPhone/iPad tech.
Platform expansion – Potentially bringing Apple Arcade to Android phones, smart TVs, and game consoles.
Price unchanged – Apple seems committed to the affordable $4.99/month. Great for consumers.
With Apple continuing to make big investments, the future looks bright for Apple Arcade establishing itself as a major force in mobile/casual gaming. Exciting times ahead!
Hopefully this guide provided you with all the tips and info you need to explore Apple Arcade for free. Taking advantage of the available trials and deals is a great way to experience the service firsthand.
With its giant catalog of exclusive games, fun new releases every month, multiplayer integration, and availability across Apple devices, Apple Arcade offers tremendous value, especially for families.
If you have any other questions about getting or using Apple Arcade free, feel free to reach out anytime. Enjoy all the awesome games!