How to Manage iTunes Store and App Store Subscriptions

There are lots of subscriptions you can purchase from Apple. They may be for services such as Apple Music and Apple News+. 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.

It’s easy to manage these subscriptions once you find 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.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple Does Remove Stuff from the iTunes Store

There’s recently been a story making the rounds about a guy who found some movies he had purchased had been deleted from his library. It turns out that it was user error; the guy moved to a different country, and it’s well known that not all content is available in all regions (and moving to a different country is actually quite complicated, as far as an iTune Store account is concerned.

But Apple does remove content from the iTunes Store from time to time. They don’t do it on their own; it’s the rights holders who pull it. I’ve found several albums I had purchased in the early days of the iTunes Store are no longer available for redownload.

Not available

And this is much more common with music on Apple Music. I have a playlist of music that iTunes shows as “No Longer Available,” which currently contains 674 items. In some cases, albums have been replaced by updated versions, so I could find some of that music again. But I’ve found this to be quite frequent, even with the eclectic music I listen to.

CoverI came across another such album today: the original cast recording of the musical The Girl from the North Country, based on songs by Bob Dylan. This was recorded last year when this musical was performed in London – to great acclaim – and a new production, with a new cast, is performing it in New York City. This album is therefore no longer available on the iTunes Store or Apple Music in the US. Presumably, if the show is popular enough, they will record a version with the new cast; or, they simply don’t want to confuse people who see the New York version.

To be fair, this is a bit of an edge case, but all the music removed from the iTunes Store and Apple Music is removed because it is edge cases. There are issues with rights that often require that record labels pull music from sale, at least on digital platforms. Interesting, this album, which was released on CD in the US about a year ago, shows a release date of October 5. So perhaps it was pulled and will be available again on the iTunes Store and Apple Music.

This stuff is complicated. The guy with the movies was an edge case; this album is an edge case; they all are. Apple doesn’t do this sort of thing just to mess with people.

(If you get a chance to see this, go. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in the theater. I wish it had been filmed, as many plays are these days in the UK. Like Ian McKellan’s King Lear, one of the best events I’ve seen in the theater, which is being filmed in about ten days in its current London venue.)

Some Deception with the iTunes Store and Apple Music

I’d written many times about how the iTunes Store and Apple Music were separated by a brick wall, making it hard to go from one to the other when looking at a specific artist or album. It seems that Apple has changed this recently, and now, when you find an album in the iTunes Store, you can hop to Apple Music to listen to it by clicking Listen Now.

It’s interesting that Apple is willing to cannibalize sales in exchange for streams – and I wonder if the record labels are cool with this – but at least now, when you click or tap a link to the iTunes Store, and you really just want to stream an album, you don’t have to manually search for that album.

But not all music sold in the iTunes Store is available on Apple Music; there are labels and artists that will not stream their music. Here’s one example:

Finley

None of Hyperion Records’ music is on Apple Music, but iTunes suggests that you can listen to it by clicking the Listen Now button. Since the music is not available for streaming, you get a dialogue telling you that the music is not available in your country, not that it’s not available to stream anywhere.

If you are not logged into Apple Music, the behavior is slightly different. If you were to start a free trial after viewing this album, you would get to Apple Music, then find out that the album in question is not available to stream, in spite of the Listen Now button suggesting that this is possible.

So, Apple isn’t being honest; I’m shocked, shocked! What’s more worrisome, however, is the fact that they’re sending people to stream music instead of buying it, most likely against what record companies want, and they’re saying that music is available for streaming when that is not the case. To be fair, the percentage of tracks that are on the iTunes Store and not on Apple Music is quite low, but still; Apple knows who they are, and shouldn’t display this dialog.

Apple Phasing Out iTunes Store Access for Original Apple TV

Apple TV 1st GenRemember the 1st generation Apple TV? The one that was a sort of iPod for the living room? You’d sync content to it from your iTunes library, then watch it on your TV, using HDMI or component video connections.

This has long been an obsolete device, but Apple is adding another limitation.

Also beginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.

After the changes, you’ll only be able to access the iTunes Store on Apple TV (2nd generation) or later.

I only recall syncing content to the 1st generation Apple TV, not accessing the iTunes Store directly on the device. So I’m not sure if you’ll be able to use it by manually syncing content in the future or if it is truly dead.

The 1st generation Apple TV was available with either 40 or 160 GB storage, and is still a useful device. Does anyone still use one? If so, what do you plan to do after this change?

View Your iTunes Store Purchase History on Your iPhone or iPad

Since the launch of the iTunes Store, you could only view your purchase history in iTunes on a computer. You could see a list of purchased items, but not the actual purchase information (dates and prices). Now you can do this.

  • Go to Settings, then tap your name.
  • Tap iTunes & App Store, then tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.
  • Tap View Apple ID, then enter your password.
  • Scroll down to Purchase History, then tap that.

Purhase history

Tap any Total Billed line to see more information about the purchase. You’ll see the date and time of the purchase, the address it was billed to, and more. If you want to have a copy of your receipt for a purchase, scroll down and tap Resend, and you’ll receive that receipt by email.

Renting iTunes Movies and the Value of Ownership – Subtraction.com

If you rent a movie on iTunes, Apple should offer to let you pay the difference between the rental price and the purchase price to actually own it.

I totally agree. It would be like Complete My Album, which the iTunes Store has offered for music for many years.

Source: Renting iTunes Movies and the Value of Ownership + Subtraction.com

How Things Have Changed in the Digital Music Landscape

I follow an RSS feed of Apple’s press releases, and for some reason, this feed recently regurgitated a whole bunch of old releases. This morning, checking my RSS reader, I saw headlines like:

  • 100 Million iPods Sold (April 9, 2007)
  • Apple Announces iPod Hi-Fi (February 28, 2006)
  • Apple Announces iTunes 1.1 With Support for Over 25 Third-Party CD Burners (February 22, 2001)
  • Apple Introduces iPod mini (January 6, 2004)

But what struck me was this one:

The Beatles Now on iTunes

Dated November 6, 2010, this release was the sign that digital music had finally made the big leagues. The Beatles had been recalcitrant in the early years of the iTunes Store and other digital music retailers, unwilling to license their music for sale. Apple claimed that this would be “a day to remember,” but a bit more than six years later, does anyone really remember when it was any different? When you couldn’t buy digital music, or even stream the Beatles, or just about any other artist?

Sure, there still are some recalcitrants, but this disdain of digital sales and streaming now means that artists are forgotten.

It really wasn’t that big a deal back in 2010 when the Beatles came to the iTunes Store; at least not to Apple’s core demographic of younger people. But it was a big deal to Steve Jobs, who’d been a Beatles fan for a long time. And now? It’s just a spot on a timeline, to be forgotten until a reminder comes up, like today.

Apple’s confusing method of device authorization and association

The iTunes Store was launched 14 years ago today, and has morphed from its initial music-only offering to embrace all forms of digital media. It’s now just another digital purveyor among many, though still the leading seller of digital music in the world.

While music files were protected with digital rights management (DRM) in the early years, it’s now been eight years since this was removed. But other types of content sold on the iTunes Store still have DRM: movies, TV shows, apps, audiobooks, ebooks, and ringtones. For these types of media with DRM, there are restrictions as to how many devices you can use.

It gets complicated, though, because there are two types of restrictions. The first is for computers that are authorized to sync and play content from the iTunes Store, and the second is for devices that are allowed to download and play iTunes Store purchases.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Apple’s Data Detectors Now Parse Your Messages for Movie Titles, Albums, Etc., and Adds Links to iTunes Store and More

I was chatting with my friend Rob Griffiths today, and he mentioned the name of a movie in Messages. I saw the title of the movies was underlined, so I clicked it. I was surprised to see this:

Messages itunes store

This uses Apple’s data detectors; that’s the system feature that automatically spots a date, offering to add it to your calendar, or a phone number, which you can easily add to a contact card.

In some cases, you can visit Wikipedia, and in others to the iTunes Store, and you can also see music videos on the web. This has been available in iOS since last fall; apparently it’s now active in macOS.

Interestingly, data detectors are not activated on my Mac:

Data detectors

Try it out with your friends and see what happens.

Multiple Apple IDs just leads to multiple problems

I’d like to start with a brief test. All those who have more than one Apple ID, please raise your hands. Now look around you; if you’re in a group of people who use Apple products, you’ll see a lot of hands in the air. And if you’re not, well, you can lower your hand now…

If you’ve been using Apple products for a while, you may have multiple Apple IDs. One might be a user name, and another an email address. Or you may have set up one Apple ID for the iTunes and App Stores and another for your personal data, such as your email and other iCloud services. (And this is fine; Apple even explains how to do it.)

Some people may have set up a second Apple ID because, for some reason, they couldn’t access the account with the first one, and simply gave up. Or they used an email address they no longer use, and created a new Apple ID with a more current address. In either of these cases, they cannot download apps or media purchased with the older Apple ID.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.