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How to manage iTunes Store and App Store Subscriptions

Posted on November 16th, 2020 by

There are lots of subscriptions you can purchase from Apple. They may be for services that Apple sells, such as Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, or the new Apple One bundle, as well as any subscription you have for additional iCloud storage above the free 5 GB that you get. You may have subscriptions for specific apps that function on a monthly or annual payment. Or you may have subscriptions to third-party services — such as HBO NOW, Hulu, Pandora, or Spotify — that you’ve purchased through the iTunes Store.

Contrary to popular belief, simply deleting, removing, or offloading an app from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV does not cancel or pause subscription payments. You have to take the extra step to cancel your subscriptions to ensure that you won’t continue to be charged for services associated with any apps you may have deleted.

It’s easy to manage these subscriptions once you know where to go. In this article, I’ll show you how to access information about your iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions, and how to cancel them.

Lots of subscriptions

More and more apps are sold on a subscription basis; you almost certainly have subscriptions for streaming music and video content, some of which you bought through Apple. And, of course, Apple sells its own subscriptions, and is heading toward a world where more of their income is provided by these services. Some subscriptions are sold on a monthly basis, others annually.

It’s a good idea to check these subscriptions from time to time to see if you still use them and need them. (You might be surprised what you find; many people discover that they are paying for subscriptions for apps they hadn’t used for a long time.) There are a number of ways to do this: on a Mac, you can do this in the Music app (or in iTunes, if you are still running macOS Mojave or earlier), in the TV app, in the Mac App Store, and even in Apple News. And on iOS, you can do this in your iCloud settings.

Manage subscriptions in Music, TV, or iTunes

To view and manage subscriptions in the Music or TV app, if you’re running macOS Catalina or later, or in iTunes (on Mac or Windows), go to Account > View My Account. Enter your password, and look in the Settings section at the bottom of the window. You’ll see how many active subscriptions you have. Click Manage to view them.

You’ll see here all the subscriptions you have with Apple, whether or not they have anything to do with the Music or TV apps. If you don’t see any subscriptions listed, it’s possible that your subscription may be through a different Apple ID, or directly from a third party; for example, Netflix no longer allows the purchase or renewal of subscriptions through Apple, so you can only subscribe or renew via Netflix’s site.

If you click Edit next to a subscription, you can make changes to it. You may be able to upgrade or downgrade a subscription, or you can cancel it. You may be able to change a monthly subscription to an annual subscription, or vice versa, if both options are available. If you click Cancel, your subscription will stop at the end of its term; you can’t cancel subscriptions immediately and get refunded for the amount of time remaining.

Note that this section also shows some expired subscriptions, and if you click Edit next to an expired subscription you can re-subscribe.

Manage subscriptions in the Mac App Store app

If you’re using macOS Mojave or later, you can also manage your subscriptions within the App Store app.

After launching the Mac App Store, click on your avatar or initials at the bottom of the sidebar. You’ll then be taken to a list of your Purchased apps. If you click View Information at the top of that page, you’ll see information similar to that displayed in iTunes. In the Manage section near the bottom of the page, you’ll see the number of active subscriptions you have; click Manage to edit or cancel them as described above.

The Apple News app provides easy access to subscriptions for Apple News+ as well as other services. Just choose File > Manage Subscriptions. This will take you directly to the subscriptions page in the Mac App Store.

Manage subscriptions on iOS

Open the App Store, and tap your avatar at the top right of the window. This opens your account page. Tap Manage Subscriptions to view your active subscriptions.

Tap a subscription to edit or cancel it, as explained above in the section about iTunes.

Manage iCloud subscriptions

One Apple subscription is treated differently, and that’s your iCloud storage subscription. If you pay for additional storage, beyond the basic 5 GB that you get for free, you can manage this subscription in the iCloud settings on your Mac or iOS device.

On the Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud, then click Manage to the right of the storage bar at the bottom of the window. You’ll see how much storage you’re using for each app in the cloud, and if you click Change Storage Plan you can upgrade or downgrade your storage subscription. Changes take effect at the end of the current monthly subscription period.

On iOS, the process is similar. Go to Settings, tap your name at the top, then tap iCloud. Tap Manage Storage, and you have the same options as described above.

Android users should check Google Play subscriptions

Users of Apple devices aren’t the only ones who should keep an eye on their subscriptions.

If you have an Android device, you should also be aware of any Google Play subscriptions that may be active on your account.

You can manage Google Play subscriptions by going to https://play.google.com/store/account and making sure you’re signed into the correct Google Account (which should generally be the account you use to download apps from the Google Play store). From there, you can click on My subscriptions, then select a subscription, and choose either Cancel Subscription or Resubscribe.

Google has a help page with additional details.

The takeaway: Check your subscriptions often

Remember: deleting an app doesn’t cancel its subscriptions!

Check your subscriptions from time to time. You may find apps or services that you no longer use, and you can cancel them to save money.

 

How can I learn more?

Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Intego’s Mac security experts discuss the latest Apple news, security and privacy stories, and offer practical advice on getting the most out of your Apple devices. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you don’t miss any episodes.

We discussed iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions and more in episode 176 of the Intego Mac Podcast.

You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the latest Apple security and privacy news. And don’t forget to follow Intego on your favorite social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

About Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn writes about Apple products and more on his blog Kirkville. He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast, as well as several other podcasts, and is a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and several other websites and publications. Kirk has written more than two dozen books, including Take Control books about Apple's media apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar. Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →