Tips: How to check on and cancel software and service subscriptions on your iPhone or iPad...

Posted:
in General Discussion
It's very easy to add another cheap subscription if you're want to try out an app or a video service. Before you know it, though, you're paying out a lot of money every month. Here's how to find out what you've subscribed to, through the App Store and what you can do about it.




Even if it's only Apple Music or Netflix, the odds are high that you subscribe to some service. And, the odds are even higher that you've never needed to unsubscribe.

When you do, though, it's not exactly obvious how to get out of these subscriptions. But if all services and all developers make it temptingly easy to add subscriptions, getting rid of them is easy too -- once you know where to look.

Watch an AppleInsider two-minute tip video on this or read on for extra detail.



It's worth it

We will never tell you that Apple Music is anything but a bargain. We'll never say Netflix isn't worth it, either. Yet just by taking those two, you're spending a minimum of $13.99 per month. That's if you qualify for the Apple Music student fee of $4.99 per month and you're willing to put up with Netflix's poorest picture quality. More practically, you're going to be spending at least $23 per month.

It doesn't stop being a bargain, but it does add up. Over a year you'd be spending around $280 just for Apple Music and Netflix. Add in any app that needs a subscription for its pro features and you're over the $300 for the year.

Again and always, that could well be worth it for you. The issue is how the fees are paid automatically every month and when you don't have to cut a check yourself, you forget.

So even if you have no intention of dropping any subscriptions, take a moment to look at how to do it -- because that will also show you exactly what you're paying out for every month.

How do it


On your iPhone or iPad, go into Settings and tap on your name at the top. Next, tap on iTunes & App Store, which you'll find about midway down the screen.

Now tap on your Apple ID at the top of the page that appears. Choose View Apple ID and let your iPhone identify you.

Your subscriptions are tied to your Apple ID so begin by logging in to view the details of that account
Your subscriptions are tied to your Apple ID so begin by logging in to view the details of that account


Whether that's through Touch ID or Face ID, depends on which iPhone you've got. And so does this. On an iPhone XS Max, the Subscriptions button is at the foot of the screen. You may well have to scroll down to get it on other iPhones. When you do, tap it and you're into the subscriptions page.

There may be two sections here. One is to do with subscriptions that have ended. So if you're wondering why you suddenly don't have Netflix or some other subscription, see if it's listed in the bottom section, the Expired part.

The more useful section, though, is the first or Active one. This shows you all the recurring subscriptions that you're paying out for via the App Store.

It only tells you the title, however, with the briefest of descriptions and when your next payment date is. Tap on any entry, though, and you can see more.

While every subscription is different, the way you use them is identical. Each one has a list of prices for your territory and there will be a check mark next to the one you're currently paying.

Every subscription has options for you to change the fee you're paying or to cancel completely
Every subscription has options for you to change the fee you're paying or to cancel completely


You can change this to any of the other fee options available or you can tap on Cancel Subscription. If you do that, your subscription moves to the Expired section and you're done.

That's it

One poor thing is that there's no way to remove the Expired subscription from this list. But equally, one good thing is that if you change your mind, you can tap on any entry there and resubscribe right away.

This is all about managing your subscriptions. That can mean cancelling some and renewing others you long ago dropped, but really it's about knowing what's going on.

Know where your money is going every month and you'll be in control of what you choose to spend it on.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,301member
    <rant on> People are so stupid sometimes. In the Apple Discussion Forums there’s a constant barrage of posts asking how to cancel a subscription, claims of being charged for something they didn't authorize, demanding refunds, etc. Can’t these people think for themselves? Do they not have enough brain power to figure something out? Do they need to have their hands held and lead around by the nose? And of course they always want someone to do it for them. Long time members are often kind enough to provide links to Apple support bulletins to these people showing them how to accomplish their request but it’s never good enough. People want someone to just do it for them instead of lifting their fingers to type. It’s amazing how some people are.  <rant off>
    fastasleepflydogcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,339member
    This is a trivial amount of money I know but it's not right.  My wife and I got stung by a Spanish translation app.  We got the trial and didn't like it and never used it again.  Without any permission, we were billed over $50.  I didn't notice as I always trust all bills from Apple and buy so many things it slipped through.  I always have assumed a trial was a trial and unless you want the full version, the trial just ends.  Not so in this case!  This I really object to and Apple shouldn't let this happen.
    edited March 2019 StrangeDaystoysandme
  • Reply 3 of 15
    All recurring subscription charges and app purchases will appear on your monthly credit card statements. Of course those items could have been paid for as a single transaction from an iTunes card. Back to the credit card, how many people reconcile their credit card statements each month? If you have a bill that is paid automatically each month how many people check to see if the amount has changed any? 1) Apple calendar app is a good utility to remind you when bills are due, 2) then check the  amount that was charged or withdrawn from your accounts and 3) if you have issues have contact numbers readily available (contact app), 4) if you have set up a auto payment for monthly bills or recurring subscription payment know and understand how to do the reversal by cancelling. This discussion topic leads back to personal money budgeting, management and monitoring 101.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,355moderator
    iCloud storage is the one thing I can think of that isn’t presented in the subscriptions page.  

    To manage your iCloud storage

    go into Settings,

    tap on your name at the top,

    then iCloud,

    then Manage Storage,

    then Change Storage Plan.
    edited March 2019
  • Reply 5 of 15
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,170member
    The iOS 12.1.4 has introduced a much simpler way to manage subscriptions. Go to the App Store. Click updates, your profile head. Then select Manage Subscriptions. I applaud Apple for making management of subscriptions much easier with this software.
    darren mccoycornchip
  • Reply 6 of 15
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,862member
    MacPro said:
    This is a trivial amount of money I know but it's not right.  My wife and I got stung by a Spanish translation app.  We got the trial and didn't like it and never used it again.  Without any permission, we were billed over $50.  I didn't notice as I always trust all bills from Apple and buy so many things it slipped through.  I always have assumed a trial was a trial and unless you want the full version, the trial just ends.  Not so in this case!  This I really object to and Apple shouldn't let this happen.
    From my experience, it is "Not so" in MOST cases!   Trials automatically roll over into subscriptions -- usually for a year.
    edited March 2019
  • Reply 7 of 15
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,862member
    iOS_Guy80 said:
    All recurring subscription charges and app purchases will appear on your monthly credit card statements. Of course those items could have been paid for as a single transaction from an iTunes card. Back to the credit card, how many people reconcile their credit card statements each month? If you have a bill that is paid automatically each month how many people check to see if the amount has changed any? 1) Apple calendar app is a good utility to remind you when bills are due, 2) then check the  amount that was charged or withdrawn from your accounts and 3) if you have issues have contact numbers readily available (contact app), 4) if you have set up a auto payment for monthly bills or recurring subscription payment know and understand how to do the reversal by cancelling. This discussion topic leads back to personal money budgeting, management and monitoring 101.
    A FAR better method than reconciling your credit card every month (although you should do that too!) is to place alerts on your credit card where it will send you a text every time the card is used showing who was paid and how much.   Usually these texts come within seconds (before you are even out of the store) of the charge.

    Using those texts, I detected 2 fraudulent charges made on my card -- neither of which I would have detected from reconciling my account at the end of the month.   The first was a $25 charge at a BP gas station.  When I called the credit card company to report it, they told me it had been made in a city 300 miles away.  The second was similar.   Obviously my card data had been stolen and sold and the thieves were trying to slip small charges through that most people would ignore on their monthly statement.

    The other thing I have done is avoid shopping at places that do not take Apple Pay.   Even my local Sheetz gas pumps take it now.
    racerhomie3MplsP
  • Reply 8 of 15
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,862member
    There is a serious hole here for those who use "Family Sharing" -- which is ideal giving young people access to things that they wouldn't otherwise have (such as Apple Music).

    But, if one of those young people take out a "trial subscription" -- which will soon turn into a $100 annual subscription charged to your iTunes credit card -- you cannot cancel it from your phone or ID.   Instead, you have to access and be able to sign on to the young person's phone/ID.  If they changed their PIN or if they are not physically in the same location that can be impossible.

    (Yes, Apple does provide the ability to approve every charge, but it is so clunky and awkward that I had to turn it off and instead rely on trusting my youngster.   He's always been reliable -- but these "Free Trials" keep sucking him in.)
  • Reply 9 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,395member
    lkrupp said:
    <rant on> People are so stupid sometimes. In the Apple Discussion Forums there’s a constant barrage of posts asking how to cancel a subscription, claims of being charged for something they didn't authorize, demanding refunds, etc. Can’t these people think for themselves? Do they not have enough brain power to figure something out? Do they need to have their hands held and lead around by the nose? And of course they always want someone to do it for them. Long time members are often kind enough to provide links to Apple support bulletins to these people showing them how to accomplish their request but it’s never good enough. People want someone to just do it for them instead of lifting their fingers to type. It’s amazing how some people are.  <rant off>
    Your hostility toward non-technical people is unwarranted, and reeks of techie virtue signaling IMO. Normals don’t do this stuff for a living or as a hobby. They’re as unfamiliar with it as I am playing craps or scoring golf. 

    Rather than blame the users, good UX builders seek instead to understand the users, and build for them. Not chastise them for being unskilled in the ways of the High Order of the Techno Priest. 

    I’m a software dev and enthusiast, and even I have to figure out where subscriptions are buried. IMO it should be “Settings > (name) > Subscriptions”. Way easier. 
    edited March 2019 MplsPbeowulfschmidtcornchip
  • Reply 10 of 15
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,395member

    The iOS 12.1.4 has introduced a much simpler way to manage subscriptions. Go to the App Store. Click updates, your profile head. Then select Manage Subscriptions. I applaud Apple for making management of subscriptions much easier with this software.
    You don’t need to tap Updates first, just tap the profile-picture from the landing page in App Store.

    Its better, but not easy enough. Tapping the profile head-picture to get to subscriptions isn’t intuitive.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,170member

    The iOS 12.1.4 has introduced a much simpler way to manage subscriptions. Go to the App Store. Click updates, your profile head. Then select Manage Subscriptions. I applaud Apple for making management of subscriptions much easier with this software.
    You don’t need to tap Updates first, just tap the profile-picture from the landing page in App Store.

    Its better, but not easy enough. Tapping the profile head-picture to get to subscriptions isn’t intuitive.
    I honestly think it’s the best they could with iOS 12.Its 2 less clicks. I must clear a mistake I made. You just launch the App Store>Click Profile photo>Manage Subscriptions.
    edited March 2019 cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 15
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 487member
    iCloud storage is the one thing I can think of that isn’t presented in the subscriptions page.  

    To manage your iCloud storage

    go into Settings,

    tap on your name at the top,

    then iCloud,

    then Manage Storage,

    then Change Storage Plan.
    Probably because it is not app related?
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 15
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,147member
    lkrupp said:
    <rant on> People are so stupid sometimes. In the Apple Discussion Forums there’s a constant barrage of posts asking how to cancel a subscription, claims of being charged for something they didn't authorize, demanding refunds, etc. Can’t these people think for themselves? Do they not have enough brain power to figure something out? Do they need to have their hands held and lead around by the nose? And of course they always want someone to do it for them. Long time members are often kind enough to provide links to Apple support bulletins to these people showing them how to accomplish their request but it’s never good enough. People want someone to just do it for them instead of lifting their fingers to type. It’s amazing how some people are.  <rant off>
    Your hostility toward non-technical people is unwarranted, and reeks of techie virtue signaling IMO. Normals don’t do this stuff for a living or as a hobby. They’re as unfamiliar with it as I am playing craps or scoring golf. 

    Rather than blame the users, good UX builders seek instead to understand the users, and build for them. Not chastise them for being unskilled in the ways of the High Order of the Techno Priest. 

    I’m a software dev and enthusiast, and even I have to figure out where subscriptions are buried. IMO it should be “Settings > (name) > Subscriptions”. Way easier. 
    +1
    Good, ethical companies make it clear when you sign up for something so it’s easy to see what your getting and how much you’re paying. Far to many try to slip a subscription fee past people. I have no problem paying for services I want/need. I have a real problem with companies whose main source of income is via subscription fees from people who inadvertently agreed to something without realizing it, only to have the company refuse to refund the fee, (“but you’re welcome to continue using the service for the next year”)
  • Reply 14 of 15
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,147member

    iOS_Guy80 said:
    All recurring subscription charges and app purchases will appear on your monthly credit card statements. Of course those items could have been paid for as a single transaction from an iTunes card. Back to the credit card, how many people reconcile their credit card statements each month? If you have a bill that is paid automatically each month how many people check to see if the amount has changed any? 1) Apple calendar app is a good utility to remind you when bills are due, 2) then check the  amount that was charged or withdrawn from your accounts and 3) if you have issues have contact numbers readily available (contact app), 4) if you have set up a auto payment for monthly bills or recurring subscription payment know and understand how to do the reversal by cancelling. This discussion topic leads back to personal money budgeting, management and monitoring 101.
    A FAR better method than reconciling your credit card every month (although you should do that too!) is to place alerts on your credit card where it will send you a text every time the card is used showing who was paid and how much.   Usually these texts come within seconds (before you are even out of the store) of the charge.

    Using those texts, I detected 2 fraudulent charges made on my card -- neither of which I would have detected from reconciling my account at the end of the month.   The first was a $25 charge at a BP gas station.  When I called the credit card company to report it, they told me it had been made in a city 300 miles away.  The second was similar.   Obviously my card data had been stolen and sold and the thieves were trying to slip small charges through that most people would ignore on their monthly statement.

    The other thing I have done is avoid shopping at places that do not take Apple Pay.   Even my local Sheetz gas pumps take it now.
    I’ve read that card thieves often use a gas station as a ‘test charge’ to see if the card/data they’ve got is good. Many cards have the ability to set these alerts and/or deactivate cards instantly via an app. 

    I try to use Apple Pay as much as possible - it’s faster, more convenient and more secure than using a physical card. Unfortunately, there are still several merchants around me that don’t use it. Thankfully they seem to be decreasing steadily.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    I assume that since I have no "Subscriptions" heading in either settings or in the App Store app, that I in fact have no subscriptions?  This would be a good thing, as I've never subscribed to anything. :)
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