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Is Apple TV free if you have an iPhone?

The short answer is – unfortunately, no. Simply having an iPhone does not entitle you to free access to Apple TV or Apple TV+.

While Apple does offer limited free trials for new device owners, you ultimately need a paid subscription to enjoy Apple‘s streaming video service. Read on for a detailed look at what parts of Apple‘s streaming ecosystem are free vs paid.

Apple TV+ Requires a Paid Subscription

Apple TV+ is Apple‘s Netflix-style streaming service featuring exclusive original content like Ted Lasso, Severance, and The Morning Show.

This premium service is NOT free. Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month after any promotional free trial periods expire.

As a fellow iPhone owner myself, I wish Apple TV+ was free! But Apple invested billions creating high-quality shows and movies, so they need to charge to turn a profit.

Rest assured there are still a few ways to access Apple TV+ for free, which I‘ll explain shortly. But generally, you need to pay if you want to watch Jason Sudeikis win an Emmy in Ted Lasso.

Free Trials Available with New Devices

The good news is Apple offers limited free trials for new product owners. Here are some of the current promotions:

  • New iPhone purchases – 3 months of Apple TV+ free
  • New iPad purchases – 3 months of Apple TV+ free
  • New Apple TV purchases – 3 months of Apple TV+ free
  • New Mac purchases – 3 months of Apple TV+ free

So if you just bought a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac, you can redeem this offer and watch Apple TV+ free for 3 months.

Apple also previously offered 12-month extended free trials for new device owners. Unfortunately, those long free trials are mostly phased out by now.

But still, 3 free months is a nice perk if you recently upgraded your hardware.

Just don‘t forget to cancel before the 3 months is up if you don‘t want to be charged $4.99/month automatically (set a reminder)!

Verizon Customers Get Apple TV+ Free

If you have a Verizon wireless plan, you may also score Apple TV+ at no extra cost.

Select Verizon unlimited plans include either 6 months or 12 months of Apple TV+ – check your account to see if you‘re eligible.

After the free period, you‘ll be charged the regular $4.99/month price, so set another reminder if you don‘t want to continue.

According to Verizon, here are the plans that qualify for Apple TV+:

  • Play More
  • Get More
  • Play More Unlimited
  • Get More Unlimited
  • Do More Unlimited
  • One Unlimited for iPhone
  • Start Unlimited for iPad

So if you have one of those Verizon plans, enjoy up to a year of free Apple TV+! For new and existing customers alike, it‘s a nice extra Verizon perk.

T-Mobile Also Offers Free Apple TV+ Access

Like Verizon, T-Mobile offers select plans that include Apple TV+ access:

  • Magenta MAX
  • Magenta Plus

As a T-Mobile customer myself, I can confirm Apple TV+ is free on the Magenta MAX plan – saving me $4.99/month!

However, T-Mobile only offers 3 months free, not a full year like some Verizon plans. Still, 90 days of free streaming is an awesome bonus.

Standard 7-Day Free Trial

If you don‘t have a new Apple device or the right mobile carrier plan, there is still one way to access Apple TV+ free for a short time.

Apple offers a standard 7-day free trial when you sign up directly on the Apple TV app.

While only 7 days is not a ton of time, you could easily binge watch a few episodes of Ted Lasso or check out buzzworthy shows like Severance during the trial.

Just be sure to cancel within 7 days if you don‘t want to be charged. Set a reminder on your iPhone so you don‘t forget!

Borrow a Friend or Family Member‘s Account

Have a generous friend or family member who already pays for Apple TV+? Ask nicely, and they may let you use their account credentials to stream free!

Apple TV+ allows simultaneous streaming, so multiple people can use the same login. While not exactly ethical, it is technically possible to "borrow" someone else‘s subscription.

Just keep it on the down-low, and offer to Venmo them a few bucks if you use it a ton. Shared logins are common, but owners pay for the service and should get priority.

Limitations of Free Streaming

While there are a few opportunities to stream Apple TV+ free, it‘s important to set proper expectations:

  • Free trials eventually expire – you‘ll have to pay to continue watching
  • Selection may be limited – some new releases may require a paid account
  • Video quality reduced – free accounts often get lower resolution streams
  • Account sharing discouraged – the owner deserves priority access
  • No offline downloads – free accounts usually can‘t save shows to watch later

The free experience will likely involve some compromises vs being a full paying subscriber. But a free trial can help you evaluate if you like the service enough to pay long term.

Apple TV+ Pricing and Plans

Since most people do need to pay to enjoy Apple TV+ long term, what are the pricing options?

Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month after any free trials end. For less than $5 a month, you get instant access to all Apple original shows, movies, and documentaries.

That‘s quite affordable compared to competitors:

ServiceStarting Monthly Price
Apple TV+$4.99
HBO Max$9.99

For the quality of Apple exclusives like Ted Lasso and The Morning Show, $4.99 is a steal!

You can also pay $49.99 per year for an annual Apple TV+ subscription. That brings the effective monthly price down to just $4.16!

One subscription allows sharing with up to 5 family members through Family Sharing. Everyone gets their own personal watchlist and recommendations.

For casual viewers, monthly makes sense. But frequent streamers can save ~17% annually.

Apple TV+ Content Library

What shows and movies can you watch with an Apple TV+ subscription?

While smaller than catalogs at Netflix or Hulu, Apple keeps adding more high-quality original programming:

Ted LassoComedyFeel-good sports comedy starring Jason Sudeikis
The Morning ShowDramaNewsroom drama starring Jennifer Aniston
SeveranceSci-FiCreepy office thriller directed by Ben Stiller
For All MankindSci-FiAlternate reality look at NASA space race
TryingComedyBritish couple attempts to adopt child
ServantThrillerM. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller
SwaggerDramaYouth basketball drama inspired by KD‘s life
The Problem with Jon StewartTalkCurrent affairs show hosted by Jon Stewart

Apple TV+ has earned over 250 awards nominations and counting for its original programming – not bad for a young streaming service!

Expect the content library to keep expanding over time. Apple has committed billions to develop over 80+ original shows and movies annually.

How Apple TV+ Compares to Other Streamers

How does the overall Apple TV+ experience compare to competitors like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video?

Apple TV+

  • Costs $4.99/month
  • Smaller content library with ~50 exclusive originals
  • Highest quality original programming
  • Limited licensed back catalog of older shows
  • Available on all major platforms
  • Offline downloads on mobile apps
  • No ads


  • Starts at $9.99/month
  • Massive content library with ~1,500 shows & movies
  • Mix of high-quality originals and licensed shows/movies
  • Available on most platforms besides Apple TV boxes
  • Offline downloads on mobile
  • No ads on Premium plan


  • Starts at $6.99/month with ads
  • Large on-demand library with over 80,000 episodes
  • Includes many current TV shows day after air
  • Modest slate of original programming
  • Available on most platforms
  • Ad-free plan costs $12.99/month

Amazon Prime Video

  • Included with $14.99/month or $139/year Prime membership
  • Large catalog of shows, movies & originals
  • Original quality hit or miss compared to Netflix/Hulu
  • Available on most platforms except Apple TV
  • Option to add premium channels like HBO

Apple TV+ is newer with fewer titles, but focuses on premium originals. Netflix offers a much deeper library while Hulu covers current TV. For award-worthy exclusives, Apple TV+ holds its own – even if you need other services too for a complete entertainment package.

How to Get Apple TV+ Free Trials

If you are eligible for a free Apple TV+ trial, here is how to sign up:

New device purchase:

  1. Make sure your new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac is updated to the latest OS version
  2. Open the Apple TV app
  3. Select the Apple TV+ tab
  4. Tap "Enjoy 3 Months Free" and sign in with your Apple ID

Verizon customer:

  1. Install or open the Verizon Messages+ app
  2. Find the offer for Apple TV+
  3. Tap "Activate Now" and sign in with your Apple ID

T-Mobile customer:

  1. Install or open the T-Mobile Tuesdays app
  2. Find the Apple TV+ offer
  3. Tap "Activate 3 Months Free Apple TV+" and sign in

Standard 7-day trial:

  1. Open the Apple TV app on any device
  2. Select Apple TV+
  3. Start any free trial and provide Apple ID login

Enjoy streaming popular shows like Ted Lasso for free during the trial! Just don‘t forget to cancel if you want to avoid being charged.

Is Apple TV Hardware Free?

We‘ve focused on the Apple TV+ streaming service so far. What about the physical Apple TV boxes that let you watch on a big screen TV?

Unfortunately, Apple TV boxes are not free. The latest models cost:

  • Apple TV 4K (latest model): $179
  • Apple TV HD (1080p): $149

Apple has never offered free Apple TV hardware, even with new device purchases. You need to pay upfront, though 0% financing is available.

Compared to rivals, Apple TV 4K costs a premium:

DeviceStarting Price
Apple TV 4K$179
Roku Streaming Stick 4K$49
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K$49
Nvidia Shield TV$149

You‘re mostly paying for the polished Apple software experience, tight integration with other Apple devices, and the sleek Siri remote.

But the hardware itself requires an upfront purchase – having an iPhone doesn‘t unlock any special deals.

Buying a Used or Refurbished Apple TV

Since brand new Apple TV boxes are pricey, I recommend considering used and refurbished deals.

Sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace often have lightly used Apple TVs at steep discounts. For example, an Apple TV HD for ~$80 versus $149 new.

Amazon also sells refurbished Apple TV models at reduced prices. You can typically find an Apple TV 4K for around $120-$150 refurbished – saving roughly $30.

Refurbished Apple TVs come cleaned, inspected, and with a 1-year warranty from Apple. It‘s like getting new at a discount!

I actually bought my Apple TV 4K refurbished on Amazon last year and have had no issues. It arrived looking and working like new – I‘m very happy with it.

Buying used or Apple Certified Refurbished is a smart way to get Apple TV hardware without paying full price. An iPhone alone won‘t lower the cost, but shopping smart will.

Using AirPlay Instead of an Apple TV Box

Here‘s one sneaky free option for iPhone owners – stream Apple TV+ to your TV using AirPlay without buying any Apple hardware!

If you have a smart TV compatible with AirPlay, you can:

  1. Open the Apple TV app on your iPhone
  2. Start playing any show
  3. Tap the AirPlay icon in Control Center
  4. Select your smart TV

Voila! Apple TV+ will now stream wirelessly from your iPhone to the big screen.

The catch is you need a TV with AirPlay, like models from Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony. But if so, you can forego the Apple TV box entirely.

Picture quality and reliability may decrease versus using an actual Apple TV. But for basic streaming, AirPlay works in a pinch!

Closing Thoughts

While Apple TV+ is not free just for being an iPhone owner, there are still ways to stream on a budget:

  • Redeem free trials when buying Apple devices
  • Check for free access through Verizon, T-Mobile or other partners
  • Use a friend/family‘s subscription (with permission!)
  • Buy a used/refurbished Apple TV box to save money
  • Try AirPlay streaming as a free alternative to Apple TV hardware

The bottom line is Apple hopes the award-winning original programming will convince you to pay for Apple TV+. But look for deals and you can likely stream for free or cheap in the short term.

Long term, I recommend biting the bullet and paying the reasonable $4.99 monthly fee. That unlocks instant access to top shows like Ted Lasso without any headaches.

As an Apple lover myself, I find the premium ad-free content worth the small investment. Apple TV+ is perfect for fans of high-quality, innovative storytelling. Hopefully this breakdown helped explain what‘s free versus paid – enjoy streaming!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.