That free year of Apple TV's new streaming service is basically a trap

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products, in Cup...
Tony Avelar/AP/Shutterstock

After months of speculation, Apple finally gave us the details we've been waiting for on Apple TV+, the company's new streaming subscription service. The platform that will host all of Apple's original video content will be available starting November 1 for $4.99 per month and can be shared with up to six people through Apple's Family Share feature. To get people on board, Apple also announced an extremely generous trial offer: buy a new Apple device after September 10 and you'll get a full year of Apple TV+ for free. But there's a catch: if you don't want to pay for that second year, you can't cancel until one day before the free year expires or you'll lose the rest of your trial period.

According to a press release from Apple, here's the very specific restriction on Apple TV+:

The subscription will automatically renew at $4.99 per month after one year. Customers can cancel at any time in Settings at least one day before each renewal date. Customers who cancel during the offer period will forfeit the remainder of their offer.

Essentially, you can only cancel the free trial one day before it's set to automatically start charging you. This is a clever little trick by Apple. Typically, you could activate your subscription and then cancel it immediately — or any time prior to the day that the trial period ends. It's a handy way to make sure that you don't accidentally end up paying for something that you don't actually want.

Apple is well aware of that, so it's making sure that you can't just get your year free and have it end on its own. Instead, you can really only cancel your subscription one day before the $4.99 per month charge is about to kick in. If you do it any time before then, you lose the remainder of your free year trial period. That means you better mark your calendar for when you activated your trial, otherwise you're going to end up with a $4.99 charge on your account in a year — or will surrender a ton of your friend watch time.

That said, access to the year-long free trial to Apple TV+ is actually pretty generous. According to Apple, any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod Touch purchase made starting September 10 will get the extended trial. That includes both new and refurbished devices, phones purchased through the iPhone Upgrade Program and devices purchased though basically any retailer including the Apple Store and third-party resellers. So getting the free trial is made pretty easy. Just make sure you get the most of it, and maybe set a reminder for yourself just before the free year is set to expire.