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Why is Apple paying me $4.99 in store credit for Apple TV+ this month?

Apple TV+ is Apple’s streaming service and priced at $4.99 per month in the US, or $49.99 per year. A lot of current subscribers are on promotional free trials. However, if you are currently paying for TV+ on a monthly or yearly basis, you should have received an email that Apple is refunding that amount as store credit … here’s why.

Apple has been notifying eligible accounts with the following email “As a thank you for being an Apple TV+ subscriber, we’re applying $4.99 in credit to your Apple ID each month you’re subscribed from November through January 2021.”

With Apple’s reputation as the company that makes you spend more than you should on its products, it is natural to be a little suspicious of an email that says they are paying you.

You might have got an email similar to this one

But it is completely real and not a scam email. From now until January, Apple will refund all Apple TV+ customers who are paying for the service. This refund comes in the form of store credit that you can use on any of Apple’s digital stores, like renting a movie, buying something from the App Store or simply using the credit to pay for other Apple subscriptions.

The reason for this generosity is because Apple also extended the free trials for people that signed up when the service first launched with a year-free hardware offer. This was announced back in October.

All free year trials of TV+ have been extended so they last until February 2021, giving people up to an extra 3 months free. So, to make it fair for people that are paying real money for the service, Apple is comping the paid subscriptions too. That means if you had signed up for Apple TV+ before November 1st 2020, and are currently paying the $4.99 subscription fee, Apple will return that money to you as store credit. This will last until the February renewals.

Why did Apple extend free trials? The official line is that Apple wanted to thank its loyal user base over the winter holiday period. The reality is slightly more capitalist of course: Apple TV+ content production was delayed by the pandemic and second seasons of flagship shows were simply not ready for 2020. By extending everyone’s free period into January, it means more people are likely to get hooked on some of the second season debuts, and other new releases, and stay with the service when they have to start paying for real.

Whatever the motivation, enjoy the freebies. Apple TV+ is launching new content all the time, including feature film Wolfwalkers and Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special in December. In January, the service will begin screening second seasons of Dickinson and Servant, with more announcements to come. TV+ subscribers can expect major feature film premieres in early 2021 such as Oscar-contender ‘Cherry’, starring Tom Holland.

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Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.