Apple will extend free Apple TV+ trials through February

Apple will extend some Apple TV+ subscriptions on a free one-year trial through February, the company confirmed to CNBC on Thursday.

When Apple TV+ launched last fall, Apple bundled a free one-year subscription with the purchase of an Apple product, immediately boosting the number of people who could watch the streaming service. 

The first of those trial subscriptions were previously going to expire at the start of November, meaning that people on the one-year trial who had not cancelled were going to be charged $4.99 per month for the streaming service. 

Now subscribers whose trials started last November, December, or January will be extended through February. This means that someone who bought an iPhone on November 1 and activated Apple TV+ on the same day will have access to the service through February 1, when billing starts.

Someone who signed up on the 25th of January, for example, will have access to Apple TV+ and won’t be billed until February 25.

Users who pay for the service on a monthly basis — they are not on a hardware-linked trial — will receive credits through February as well, Apple said. The extension is automatic and users don’t have to ask for it. 

Apple has not revealed the number of Apple TV+ subscribers. The service has fewer TV shows and movies than rivals such as Disney+, which surpassed 60 million subscribers in August after launching last November. Netflix has more than 190 million subscribers around the world, it said in July. But unlike those services, Apple TV+ doesn’t have a back catalog of reruns.

While early reviews for Apple TV+ were mixed, some titles have been critically praised, with “The Morning Show,” a launch title, receiving several Emmy nominations and winning one. 

Apple TV+ is a part of Apple’s services business, which is an increasing focus of investors and accounted for 22% of the company’s sales in the quarter ending in June. Last month, Apple announced several bundles called Apple One, which tie Apple TV+ to other paid subscriptions from Apple such as Apple Music, iCloud storage and gaming service Apple Arcade.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect the free trial ends at the end of February for everyone who will receive a subscription extension.

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