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Tips To Manage Apple Subscriptions and Avoid Unwanted Costs

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Mar 1, 2024
 Min Read
Manage Your Subscription Payments With Virtual Cards

In Q3 of 2023, Apple had over 1 billion paid subscriptions, indicating the popularity of its subscription-based services, such as Apple Music and Apple TV. However, according to a 2022 C+R study, Americans on average spend $219 on subscriptions they no longer use, equating to about $2,630 annually—which shows how easy it can be to lose track of your financial obligations and pay for services you no longer need.

To help you avoid unexpected charges, this practical guide provides tips on how to manage your Apple subscriptions, including how to find, cancel, and remove them on different devices. You'll also learn why it can be challenging to cancel some subscriptions and what you can do in such cases.

Note that the content in this article is valid as of December 2023. Please visit the official Apple website for the latest information.

A photo of a Macbook, iPad, and iPhone placed on a wooden table
Source: Pixabay

How To Find Apple Subscriptions on Different Devices

Since you've purchased your Apple subscriptions from the Apple App Store or iTunes, you need to access these platforms individually to find your subscriptions. If you want a list of recent subscriptions, proceed as follows:

  1. Visit the Report a Problem page on your mobile or computer browser.
  2. Log in with your Apple ID and password.
  3. Scroll down the list of recent purchases to find the subscription you're looking for. Knowing the amount you got charged for can help you find the subscription faster.

If you're looking for older Apple subscriptions, follow the directions in the table below:

On iPhone or iPad On Mac On Windows PC
  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen and select Media & Purchases.

  3. Go to View Account and sign in if prompted.

  4. Tap Purchase History to view all your Apple subscriptions.

  5. You can tap Last 90 Days at the top of Purchase History to change the filter for extended periods.

  1. Open the App Store app.

  2. Go to the Account Menu at the top of your screen.

  3. Select Account Settings and sign in if prompted.

  4. Scroll down to Purchase History on the Account Information page.

  5. Click See All next to Most Recent Purchase.

  6. Hit Select a range or choose Last 90 Days, then pick a date range.

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Navigate to the Account menu at the top of your screen.

  3. Select View My Account and sign in if prompted.

  4. Scroll down to the Purchase History section on the Account Information page.

  5. Select See All next to Most Recent Purchase.

  6. Click Last 90 Days, then pick a date range.

How To Cancel a Subscription on Apple From Any Device

The cancellation process for Apple subscriptions varies depending on the device you use. You can cancel via iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows PC. The following sections provide the steps you should take to cancel an Apple subscription on each device.

How To Cancel an Apple Subscription on iPhone or iPad

To cancel an Apple subscription on your iPhone or iPad, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your name on top of the screen.
  3. Select Subscriptions.
  4. Find the subscription you want to cancel and tap on it.
  5. Tap Cancel Subscription at the bottom of the page.
  6. Follow the prompts to confirm and complete the cancellation.

If you can't find the Cancel button or see an expiration message in red, your Apple subscription has already been canceled.

A close-up photo of a hand holding an iPhone displaying apps on the home screen
Source: Bagus Hernawan

How To Cancel Subscriptions on Mac

You can cancel an Apple subscription on your Mac by taking the steps below:

  1. Launch the Apple App Store app.
  2. Click your name or select Sign In if you can't find your name.
  3. Select Account Settings.
  4. Go to Subscriptions, then click Manage.
  5. Click Edit next to the subscription you want to cancel.
  6. Select the Cancel Subscription option and follow the prompts to complete the cancellation.

How To Cancel Apple Subscriptions on Windows PC

If you purchased your Apple subscription via iTunes on your Windows PC, you can cancel it by completing these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Navigate to the top menu bar of the iTunes window and choose Account.
  3. Select View My Account.
  4. Go to the Settings section.
  5. Click Manage next to Subscriptions.
  6. Locate the Apple subscription you want to cancel and select Edit next to it.
  7. Click Cancel Subscription and complete the on-screen prompts to confirm the cancellation.

For Apple subscriptions you purchased from a third party, such as Amazon or Shopify, you'll have to follow the cancellation instructions on their websites. You can check your credit card or bank statements to find out which third-party company bills you for the subscription.

What You Should Know About Canceling Apple Subscriptions

You can cancel your Apple subscriptions at any time. However, before you do so, here are some essential things you should know:

  • It's advisable to cancel your Apple subscription at least 24 hours before the next billing date to avoid getting charged for another month.
  • You'll still have access to your subscription until the end of the current billing period, and automatic payments will cease from the next billing cycle.
  • Deleting the app from your device does not automatically cancel your subscription. You risk getting charged for another month or year if you don't follow the appropriate steps to discontinue your membership. 
  • You may be eligible to request a refund from Apple if there was an unauthorized purchase or billing error. If Apple approves your refund request, they'll remit the money to the original payment method within a few business days.
A photo of a seated person using a Macbook placed on a wooden table
Source: Christin Hume

How To Remove Subscriptions on iPhone

Unfortunately, it's impossible to remove expired or canceled subscriptions from your iPhone. They will disappear from your Purchase History on their own in about a year. However, it's possible to hide them from your list of purchases in the App Store by taking the following steps:

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Tap your photo or initials at the top of the screen.
  3. Select Purchased or My Purchases if you use Family Sharing.
  4. Locate the app you want and swipe left on it.
  5. Tap Hide and select Done.

If you decide to reactivate the hidden subscription in the future, you will need to unhide it first before you can re-download the app. You can proceed as follows:

  1. Launch the App Store app.
  2. Tap the account button at the top of the screen.
  3. Select your Apple ID or name and sign in.
  4. Scroll down to Hidden Purchases and tap it.
  5. Find the app you want and tap Unhide.
  6. Tap Account Settings to return to the App Store and select Done.
  7. Search for the unhidden app and tap Download. It will reappear on your home screen.

Why Canceling Some Subscriptions Can Be Challenging

While most subscription services allow for easy account cancellation, some companies may deliberately make the process challenging to trick you into remaining subscribed and prolong your payments. These companies typically employ manipulative practices such as:

  • Requiring in-person visits to their store or office
  • Forcing you to contact customer support, who may put you on hold for an extended period or try to convince you to remain subscribed
  • Making the cancellation buttons small and difficult to find

If you're not careful enough, you may overlook a critical step and end up getting charged for another month of services you don't want. In some instances, you may do everything required to cancel your subscription but get billed anyway due to errors or technical glitches on the company's end.

A practical solution to protect your funds from unwelcome subscription charges is to sign up for subscriptions with virtual cards from Privacy. While linked to a real funding source, virtual cards mask your financial information at checkout by substituting it with random card numbers to protect against misuse. While banks such as Capital One and Citi offer virtual cards, a comprehensive virtual card provider like Privacy allows you to customize your card settings to block overcharges from subscription merchants.

Secure Your Spending Control With Privacy Virtual Cards

You can link your bank account or debit card to Privacy and generate virtual cards to protect against merchants who may deliberately or accidentally overcharge you. Privacy lets you generate two types of virtual cards, as you will discover in the table below:

Card Types How It Works
Single-Use Card This card closes minutes after you complete your first transaction. It's ideal for one-time transactions on websites whose security practices you're unsure about.
Merchant-Locked Card This card "locks" to the first vendor you purchase from. You can use it for merchants you frequently buy from and subscription services like PayPal, NordVPN, and LinkedIn Premium.

Privacy Cards have the following additional settings to give you more spending control:

  • Card pausing/closingPause or close your Privacy Card at will without affecting the connected funding source. Privacy will decline all transaction attempts on a paused or closed card, allowing you to complete the company's lengthy cancellation process without worrying about unwelcome charges during and after canceling.
  • Spending limits—Set a spending limit on your Privacy Card to block excessive charges such as extra fees you weren't informed about and accidental double billing. Privacy will decline all transactions that exceed the preset amount.

You can use Privacy Virtual Cards at most merchants and websites that accept U.S. Visa® and Mastercard® payments, including: 

A close-up shot of a man holding a brown wallet with credit cards
Source: Rann Vijay

Privacy—Secure and Seamless Online Payments

Besides protecting your funds from unauthorized charges, Privacy makes online transactions fast and seamless. The Privacy Browser Extension, available for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari iOS, autofills your virtual card information at checkout, enabling fast and seamless transactions. 

You can also install Privacy's mobile app on your Android or iOS device to create and manage your cards on the go. After enabling push notifications, you will get real-time alerts when your virtual card is charged or declined so you can spot potentially suspicious activity on time.

Privacy—Signup Process and Pricing Plans

To sign up for Privacy, follow the steps below:

  1. Register
  2. Provide the information required to verify your identity
  3. Add a debit card or bank account
  4. Request and generate your Privacy Virtual Cards

You can choose the Personal plan that's free for domestic transactions, includes 12 virtual cards, and offers all the above features. You can also upgrade to a paid plan (Pro at $10/month or Premium at $25/month) and enjoy the following additional benefits:

  • Up to 60 virtual cards per month
  • Fee-free international transactions
  • Priority support
Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
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