In a surprising shift that has caught many by surprise, Apple TV+ has abruptly terminated its seven-day free trial for new UK subscribers.
This isn’t just a minor tweak – it marks the end of an era for the streaming service, which had offered this trial since its grand debut in November 2019.
While Apple TV+ still dangles a few carrots – like three complimentary months with the purchase of eligible Apple gadgets – the seven-day free trial has quietly vanished from its UK marketing arsenal.
And here’s the kicker: many of the other promotional offers from recent months have also expired, making this a rare moment where snagging a free taste of Apple TV+ in the UK is harder than ever (but there are still ways to get it for free – see below).
Read on to discover what this means for the future of streaming, how Apple TV+ stacks up against its rivals, and why the golden age of “try before you buy” might be coming to a close.
What Is Apple TV+?
Apple TV+ was not meant to be just another streaming service – it’s Apple’s ambitious entry into the world of original programming, aiming to compete with established giants like Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, and Disney+.
Unlike other streaming platforms that offer a mix of original and licensed content, Apple TV+ has taken a unique approach by focusing solely on original programming.
This means that every show, movie, or documentary you watch on Apple TV+ is an Apple original, crafted (at least in theory) to meet the company’s high standards for storytelling and production quality.
Apple TV+ has made a name for itself by producing a number of critically acclaimed shows that have caught the attention of both viewers and critics alike.
Shows like Ted Lasso, which has garnered a massive following for its heartwarming story and humour, Severance with its psychological twists, Silo, a dystopian sci-fi series, and more recently The Crowded Room starring Tom Holland, have all contributed to the platform’s reputation for quality content.
In the UK, Apple TV+ is available on most Smart TVs, as well as on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
It’s also accessible on streaming devices (such as Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku) and game consoles, but – in a typical Apple fashion – there’s no Android app, so those with an Android mobile phone or tablet can only stream via a browser.
Apple TV+ UK Pricing
Apple TV+ comes with a monthly subscription fee of £6.99/month. This was after a price hike last year, which adjusted the cost from its initial £4.99/m price point.
Customers who buy an iOS device, can get 3 months of Apple TV+ for free (this used to be a full year, until it was reduced to three months).
Until this week, Apple TV+ offered a no-strings-attached seven-day free trial to new subscribers, but this has now been discontinued.
How To Get Apple TV+ For Free
Since its launch, Apple TV+ has offered countless free months, via a long list of partners – in fact, I know people who’ve been watching Apple TV+ for months and even YEARS without ever paying.
In the past year alone, for example, Sky subscribers were able to get 6 free months of Apple TV+, Roku owners were offered free months, there were offers for PlayStation owners, certain banks, and the list goes on and on.
For the time being, it looks like the offers have become more scarce – many have expired, and new ones haven’t been introduced yet.
But that might be temporary, and we may see new Apple TV+ offers as the holiday season gets closer.
Meanwhile, Apple users can still get a full free month of Apple One – Apple’s monthly subscription service that includes several services from Apple – including Apple Music, iCloud+ and Apple TV+.
After the free months, Apple One starts from £16.95/mo.
Also, new users can currently get three free months of Apple TV+ via the Currys Perks Club.
The Vanishing Act Of Free Trials In Streaming Services
In the early days of streaming, free trials were almost a given – a way to entice potential subscribers to sample a platform’s offerings.
However, the landscape has been changing, and the once-ubiquitous free trials are becoming increasingly rare.
Netflix: The Pioneer of Change
Netflix, one of the pioneers in the streaming world, was also among the first to discontinue its free trial offer in the UK.
The platform used to offer a generous 30-day free trial but decided to axe it in late 2019. The move was seen as a bold step, given that Netflix was already a dominant player in the market.
Disney+: Following Suit
Disney+ initially launched with a seven-day free trial to attract a broad audience, especially families interested in its vast library of Disney classics, Marvel movies, and Star Wars content.
However, Disney+ eventually followed Netflix’s lead and discontinued its free trial, focusing instead on exclusive releases and bundled packages to attract subscribers.
Sky’s NOW: A Local Example
Closer to home, Sky’s NOW streaming service also decided to discontinue its long-running seven-day free trial.
Special trials are sometimes still available as part of specific bundles – but the free-for-all trials for new users have disappeared, at least for the time being.
Amazon’s Prime Video: The Exception to the Rule
Interestingly, Amazon Prime Video remains one of the few major streaming services that still offer a full month as a free trial.
This could be because Amazon views Prime Video as part of a larger ecosystem that includes shopping perks, music streaming, and more.
The free trial here serves not just as a gateway to video content but also as an introduction to the broader range of Amazon services.
The disappearance of free trials from major streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and now Apple TV+ marks a significant shift in the industry’s approach to customer acquisition and retention.
As streaming services continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see if other platforms will follow suit or if some will buck the trend to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.