Skip to main content

Organize your digital subscriptions in the new year

How to switch between Apple Music Individual and Family plans
How to switch between Apple Music Individual and Family plans (Image credit: iMore)

Subscriptions have taken over our lives. Netflix, Disney+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and the hundreds of other services that we can subscribe to all cost money. Sure, the $5.99 a month for Apple TV+ isn't a lot on its own, but once you add a few more services to that, that monthly bill starts to get snowball.

Now that it's the start of 2020, it's the best time to look at all of your subscriptions and really evaluate which ones you want to keep and which ones you could probably do without. The good news is that checking all your subscriptions is relatively easy in the Apple ecosystem, and I'll even give you a few tips on how to stay on top of your subscriptions throughout the year.

Managing Apple ID subscriptions

Subscriptions on iPhone

Subscriptions on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

Any subscription that uses your Apple ID is all conveniently located in your account settings on your iPhone or Mac. That means the obvious things — Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade — but also subscriptions you may have for various apps, such as Headspace, Tinder, or Night Sky.

How to cancel Subscriptions on iPhone and Mac

In the Subscriptions menu in Settings, you'll have the ability to see when the next payment will go through and have the ability to cancel or renew subscriptions at your convenience. Here's a quick breakdown of the information you'll see:

  • If a subscription is active, you'll see "Renews [date]" under the subscription type.
  • If a subscription has been canceled but still has time remaining, you'll see "Expires [date]" under the subscription type.
  • If a subscription has expired entirely, it will live at the bottom of the screen, under "Expired". You can renew expired subscriptions at any time by tapping on the subscription and choosing a new plan.

Tips for managing other subscriptions

There are a ton of subscriptions that don't use your Apple ID, and while you can't manage these subscriptions in your settings, you can still make an effort to get them under control.

Review your credit card statement

Since most subscriptions require a credit card, take a minute or two and go over last month's credit card statement for any card you've used digitally. This will not only allow you to see all the subscriptions you have that come off the card, but also show you what day your credit card gets charged.

This only takes a few minutes and can really give you insight into just how much you're spending, allowing you to decide what to cancel or not.

Budgeting apps can help

Apple Card in Apple Pay with a wallet bling bling make it rain

Apple Card in Apple Pay with a wallet bling bling make it rain (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Similar to checking your credit card statement, if you use a budgeting app (or want to start using one) you should be tracking every single purchase you make, including all your subscriptions.

Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Apps for iPhone and iPad

These apps make it super simple to check your budget and see where your money is going, especially if you have more than one credit card that is used for subscriptions. This centralized location can be paramount in getting your subscriptions sorted out.

Do you have any tips?

Let us know in the comments down below your tips for managing your subscriptions in 2020 and going forward!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

  • I don't even need to read the article to answer the question, the answer is No. One TV service, one music service, and maybe cloud storage, that's it really for me. All my apps are either pay once, or are just simply free.
  • You’ve pretty much summed up my use scenarios also. Just to many subscriptions for so much stuff that is either available free, or just not a real necessity.
  • Agreed, especially about the software. I don’t rent software. We have one paid TV service. No AppleMusic or Spotify, the 50GB iCloud level. That’s it.
  • If people think cord-cutting will rid them from the ridiculous expense of watching their favorite channels, they are sadly mistaken. The programmers have seen the golden goose, and that bird is producing massive revenues for online streaming and monthly fees. It all began when the FCC allowed TV stations to charge cable TV operators for carriage on their systems, claiming the cable operators were "modifying" their signals. They could never quite explain what modifications were actually being done other than switching frequencies to fit the signals into their channel lineups. Cable was not actually changing the signal any way, they were not inserting their own programming or adding their own revenue-producing commercials. But the TV stations got away with it and cable fees skyrocketed as a result. People only want to pay for the channels they WANT to watch, but the programmers do not allow this. Cable operators cannot pick and choose what channels they want to carry. The programmers require cable to carry some ridiculous channels that no one would ever want to watch in order to carry the channels that people do want to watch, padding the pockets of the programmers of course. Now the miracle of streaming comes about in 2019, where for a fee, around $10/month, you can pay to have your favorite channels individually streamed to your TV. Guess what, those fees you are paying for each of those channels are exactly the SAME as if you were buying them from a cable or satellite provider. Those programmers are not about to give up any revenue if you want to cord-cut. So, I am sticking with DirecTV for now, I have cut back my package and now am missing some of the channels I really enjoy watching, and have to wade through dozens of shopping and infomercial stations to find actual channels, but I am no longer paying $10/month each for various channels that together add up to what I would be paying for DirecTV.
  • A lot of people cord-cut and find free places to stream, you're acting like people are forced to pay either way. Consumers have a choice if they know where to look