How To Remove Expired Subscriptions on an iPhone or iPad—User-Friendly Guide

Ashley Ferraro, Consumer Operations
Jan 15, 2024
 • 
10
 Min Read

Many reasons can cause you to consider parting ways with a subscription, from overall cost-cutting to changes in the quality of services. 

When ending a subscription on an iPhone or iPad, you may still be able to view it in your Inactive section in the Settings app. This may not bother most users, but some may want to delete the subscription due to privacy reasons or, as one user pointed out, concerns about accidentally reactivating it. 

To avoid unintentional resubscription, prevent accompanying charges, and learn how to remove expired subscriptions on an iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer, refer to this article. This guide will break down the process in detail and suggest some alternative solutions to consider. You’ll also discover useful tips for preventing unwanted subscription costs when you want to cancel a service.

The content in this article is valid as of December 2023. You should visit the official Apple website or contact support for updates and region-specific information.

A photo of a person’s hand holding an iPhone
Source: Bagus Hernawan

What Is an Expired Subscription?

On an iPhone or iPad, expired subscriptions are those subscriptions that you used to have but chose to cancel or not renew. You can find them as follows:

  1. Go to your Settings.
  2. Tap your name/Apple ID profile. 
  3. Tap Subscriptions.
  4. Scroll down to the Inactive section.


Below each subscription, you should be able to see the type of plan you bought and the date it expired or was canceled. You may also be able to reveal additional information about it by tapping the subscription.

Can You Remove Inactive Subscriptions on an iPhone or iPad?

The short answer is noyou can’t remove expired subscriptions on an iPhone or iPad. They’ll disappear from the Inactive list automatically a year after the expiration or cancellation date. If you’d like to see the company implement the option to clear your subscription history, consider sending a feature request to Apple.

While waiting for your request to be considered, you can create a new Apple ID or hide the subscription from your list of purchases. The following sections will explain how to apply these alternative solutions.

A photo of various Apple devices sitting on a table
Source: Brandon Romanchuk

Alternative Solution—Creating a New Apple ID

To create a new Apple ID on an iPhone or iPad, you should:

  1. Launch the App Store and tap My Account.
  2. Tap Create New Apple ID. If you can’t find the option, sign out of iCloud first.
  3. Follow the on-screen directions—enter your email address and set a password.
  4. Provide your billing information if you want to, or select None, then tap Next.
  5. Verify your phone number, then tap Next.
  6. Verify your email address via the confirmation email sent to your address.

Mac users can open a new Apple account by taking these steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Settings or System Preferences.
  3. In the sidebar, click on Sign In or Sign In with your Apple ID.
  4. Select the option Create Apple ID.
  5. Follow the instructions to add your contact information and password.
  6. Provide your billing information or select None.
  7. Verify your email address via the confirmation email.

Alternative Solution—Hiding Inactive Subscriptions

You can hide the expired subscription from your purchase list and unhide it in case you decide to reactivate it. In the table below, you will find directions on how to hide and unhide your purchases on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer:

iPhone or iPad
Hide Unhide
  1. Launch the App Store.

  2. Tap your account at the top.

  3. Tap Purchased or My Purchases if you use Family Sharing.

  4. Swipe left on the app you want removed.

  5. Tap the red Hide button.

  6. Tap Done.

  1. Go to your account in the App Store app again.

  2. Scroll down and select the option Hidden Purchases.

  3. Tap Unhide next to the purchase in question.

  4. Tap Account Settings, then Done to go back to the App Store.

Mac Computer
Hide Unhide
  1. Go to the App Store.

  2. Click on your name at the bottom of the sidebar.

  3. Find the subscription you want to hide, then hover over it with the mouse pointer.

  4. Click on the ellipsis symbol, then Hide Purchase.

  5. Confirm by selecting the option Hide Purchase again.

  1. Go to the App Store.

  2. Click on your name at the bottom of the left sidebar, then Account Settings or View Information.

  3. Scroll down to Hidden Items or Hidden Purchases.

  4. Select the Manage option on the right.

  5. Click on Unhide next to the subscription, then Done to confirm.

A photo of a person using an iPhone with one hand
Source: Malte Helmhold

How To Protect Against Charges for Unwanted Subscriptions

The use of subscription services is at an all-time high—according to a 2022 Statista report, the average number of paid entertainment subscriptions per person was 12, with Millenials averaging a whopping 17. With so many subscriptions to keep track of, it is no wonder so many consumers find themselves still paying for services they barely use.

Unfortunately, subscription cancellation processes can sometimes be difficult by design.

Some companies today may resort to shady practices to retain you as a paying customer for as long as possible. For example, they may provide vague instructions or require you to contact customer support to confirm your cancellation, then fail to respond for days. If you’re not vigilant during each step of the process, you may end up covering the following month’s payment for a subscription you no longer want. 

To avoid that, it’s advisable to purchase subscriptions with virtual cards, as they give you more control over your spending. 

Why Virtual Cards Are the Preferred Payment Method for Subscriptions

Virtual cards are linked to an actual funding source but mask your financial information at checkout, protecting it from potential hackers who may infiltrate the merchant’s servers. However, online safety is not the only perk virtual cards offer. These cards typically also come with settings to help you manage your spending and protect against unwelcome charges.

Although many banks, such as American Express®, Capital One®, and Citi®, provide free virtual cards to their clients, a dedicated virtual card provider like Privacy offers greater convenience and control over your transactions.

A photo of a laptop surrounded by payment cards
Source: Dylan Gillis

Safeguard Your Funds With Privacy Virtual Cards

You can connect your debit card and bank account to Privacy and make online purchases without worrying about:

  • Potential hackers looking to steal your data
  • Merchants and subscription services overcharging you

Privacy allows you to generate Single-Use or Merchant-Locked Cards. Single-Use Cards close minutes after you complete the first purchase. This makes the card ideal for transactions with merchants you don’t necessarily trust or don’t plan on shopping from again. 

You can use Merchant-Locked Cards for your go-to merchants and subscription services, including entertainment sources such as Hulu, YouTubeTV, or Xbox Game Pass and delivery services like Amazon Prime and HelloFresh. Merchant-Locked Cards “lock” to the first merchant you purchase at and also give you the ability to:

  • Set spending limits—You can define spending limits for your virtual cards, and Privacy will block all exceeding transactions. This feature protects you from merchants and subscription services charging you more than you agreed.
  • Pause and close—You can pause or close cards almost instantly and without impacting the underlying funding source. Privacy will decline all transactions on paused or closed cards, preventing subscription services from charging you while you’re going through a complicated cancellation process or after you complete it.

You can use your Privacy Cards at most merchants and websites that accept U.S. Visa® and Mastercard® payments, including subscription services like Kindle, Peacock, and Apple Music.

Additional Privacy Perks To Consider

The following table explores other benefits you unlock by opting for Privacy:

High-Level Security You can connect Privacy to your debit card or bank account without worrying about the safety of your sensitive information. Privacy employs numerous measures to ensure protection and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau® with an A+ rating.
Fast and Seamless Payments Privacy has a browser extension that you can download for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. It auto-completes virtual card numbers for you at checkout, allowing you to make purchases without reaching for your wallet. iPhone and iPad users can also enjoy efficient checkouts with the Safari extension for iOS
Virtual Cards on the Go By installing the Privacy mobile app on your iOS or Android, you’ll be able to generate and manage virtual cards wherever you are. You’ll also receive a push notification when your cards are used or declined, catching potentially suspicious activity quickly.
Password Manager Integration Privacy integrates smoothly with 1Password, one of today’s leading password managers. This allows you to conveniently create and manage your virtual cards alongside your login credentials.

Get Your Privacy Virtual Cards Today

The Privacy setup process is simple and only requires you to:

  1. Register
  2. Enter the information needed to verify your identity
  3. Provide a funding source (bank account or debit card)
  4. Request and create Privacy Cards

As far as pricing is concerned, Privacy offers the Personal plan, which is free for domestic transactions and includes up to 12 virtual cards a month and all the benefits listed in this article. Opting for Pro ($10/month) or Premium ($25/month) will get you more virtual cards and perks such as:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority support
  • 1% cashback on eligible purchases (totaling up to $4,500 a month)
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
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