How to Turn Off iTunes Auto-Renewal Subscriptions

If you recently signed up for the HBO NOW, Showtime or Apple Music free trials, you may have subscribed using iTunes. This article details how to turn off iTunes Auto-Renewal subscriptions.

Like many Apple users, I signed up for HBO NOW the day it was launched. The service offers a free trial, after which iTunes will begin automatic monthly billing. I will keep my HBO NOW subscription. At $14.99, it’s a good deal and there are so many great shows and movies to watch. You can also get a 7% or greater discount by purchasing iTunes gift cards at a reduced price. Nonetheless, many people will want to discontinue HBO NOW after the free trial.

I also recently signed up for Apple Music. Although there are a few quirks, I find the service to be excellent. I plan on continuing Apple Music beyond the free trial. If you aren’t into music, it might not be worth $9.99 per month. If that’s the case, you can cancel your Apple Music subscription using the instructions in this article. The steps in this article will work for any iTunes subscription, including HBO NOW, Showtime and Apple Music.

Turn off Auto-Renewals at Least 8 Hours Before Billing Date

Time is of the essence when it comes to iTunes Auto-Renewals. According to Apple, these need to be turned off 8 hours prior to the start of the billing date, which is 12:00 AM on the specified date. It’s best to turn off Auto-Renewals as soon as possible. If you know you’re just going to use the free trial, turn off Auto-Renewals right away. You can always re-subscribe or turn it back on later.

Take a Screenshot of Your Auto-Renewals Cancellation

It’s a good idea to take a screenshot of your Auto-Renewals screen after you have turned it off. You can do this on an iOS device by pressing the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously. The screenshot is stored in the Photos app. Screenshots can be captured on Mac OS X by pressing shift + command + 3. This will take an entire screenshot of your Mac desktop, along with the date and time. The date and time will also be applied to the file name. The file is stored on your Desktop by default.

The screenshot can help you appeal to Apple’s customer support if you get charged for a subscription that was cancelled on time. The email receipt Apple sends has a link to report any problems.

Some people who cancelled Apple Music after the trial ended were able to get refunds. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try.

You Can’t Turn Off Auto-Renewals on Apple TV

I purchased my HBO NOW subscription directly on Apple TV. Many subscription-based services are sold directly on Apple TV. Unfortunately, one cannot cancel these subscriptions on Apple TV. You will need an iOS device, such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to cancel automatic renewals. You can also accomplish this on a Mac or Windows PC using iTunes. Apple TV is undergoing a major overhaul. I expect this to change within a few months.

How to Turn Off iTunes Auto-Renewals on iOS

Turning off iTunes Auto-Renewals is easily accomplished on Apple’s mobile operating system. First, open the iTunes app. Usually, the app will open to the Featured screen. If not, tap on the Featured button at the bottom. Next, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap on the Apple ID button.

iTunes Featured screen on iOS

A panel will appear with a few options. Tap on View Apple ID and enter your password, if prompted.

View Account on iTunes for iOS

You will now see a panel displaying Account Settings. Tap on Manage under the Subscriptions label to view your subscriptions.

iTunes Account Settings on iOS

Next, tap on the subscription you wish to turn off.

iTunes Subscriptions on iOS

Information about the subscription, including billing dates, is displayed. You can turn off automatic renewals using the on/off switch.

Manage Subscriptions on iTunes for iOS

Confirm your selection when prompted.

Confirm turning off Auto-Renewals on iTunes for iOS

That’s it. Your automatic subscription renewals are now turned off.

How to Turn Off iTunes Auto-Renewals on a Computer

If you don’t have access to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you will need to turn off Auto-Renewals using your computer. For the purposes of this article, the screen shots are taken from a Mac with iTunes 12. The process is similar on Windows and other versions of iTunes.

First, launch iTunes by clicking the iTunes icon on the Dock. iTunes will launch and display the main screen with iTunes Store selected. If you see your Library, click on iTunes Store on the top-center toolbar. Click on the Account link on the right side of the screen.

Main iTunes Store screen on OS X

If you don’t see this, select Store from the top menu bar and then click on View Account.

iTunes Store menu on OS X

If you haven’t already logged in to the iTunes store, you will be asked to do so now.

Sign In to iTunes Store on OS X

A screen with your account information will appear. Under Settings, click on the Manage link to the right of Subscriptions.

Account Settings on iTunes for OS X

The Manage Subscriptions screen will be displayed. Click the Edit link to the right of the subscription you wish to alter.

iTunes Subscriptions on OS X

The Edit Subscription screen will be displayed. Click on the Off radio button under the Auto-Renewal section and confirm your selection.

Turn Off Auto-Renewals on iTunes for OS X

You have now turned off Auto-Renewals.

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32 thoughts on “How to Turn Off iTunes Auto-Renewal Subscriptions

  1. Wonderful so helpful, I couldn’t have cancelled my Showtime renewal subscription with out this web site. thank you, thank you

    • It’s possible that you didn’t purchase the subscription through the iTunes Store. If you purchased the subscription directly from the content provider, it won’t show up as an iTunes auto renewal. In that case, you can typically go to the content provider’s website to cancel.

    • If you turn off auto renewals, you will not be billed for the next billing cycle. If I sign up for a free, three month trial of Apple Music on January 3rd, I will not be billed as long as I cancel before April 3rd. If I fail to cancel by April 3rd, I will have to pay for an additional month.

      You must cancel the auto renewal at least 8 hours before the renewal date, which I am assuming is 12:01 AM on the scheduled date. To be safe, I recommend canceling 24 hours ahead of time and taking a screenshot of the completed transaction.

  2. its apps “smule” and trial ends on 4th May got 3 choice of renewal but no auto renewal selection..purchased through apps

    • I checked out Smule and there are a bunch of apps, but no mention of any subscription services.

      So you went to the manage subscriptions screen in the iTunes Store, and there are three choices for renewal there, but no way to turn it off? There’s no auto-renewal option? If that’s the case, it might not renew automatically. That’s a good thing. Check your billing statement to confirm that you haven’t been billed. I’ve never seen this, but they may require you to renew manually after the free trial. That’s actually a good thing. It’s fair to the customer. Vendors typically don’t do that, hoping that you will forget to cancel.

  3. yup there is no renewal option.It is the sing karaoke apps.The prob is I cant proceed to purchase other apps bcoz of this incompleted matter.App store frequently ask to update my card details.I dont know how to get to u these printscreen of subscription

  4. yup there is no auto renewal option.The thing is I cant purchase other apps due on incompletion of this matter.App store frequently ask details of my card.I dont want to proceed as it might renewal which is 2.99 dolar.So if there any action to avoid payment i will try it first.Please advise how i can forward to u my printscreen of these subscription

    • I would recommend contacting Apple’s customer service. I now understand your dilemma. If you add your credit card information, you may get billed. It may be that auto-renewal is missing because of your payment status. Ask them to ensure that you won’t be billed if you enter your credit card. You might want to do this via email so you have a record.

  5. Hello, I’ve searched many sites but am beginning to think that these solutions are not available on my iPhone 4S?
    There is no automatic renewal option, nor is it possible to cancel the subcription. My iPhone is my only apple device.
    I want to cancel my apple music subscription in order to change my phone’s region. (& of course don’t want to be billed after the free trial expires)
    Only option I’ve found is ringing Apple support but I’m dont want to be dinged international charges.
    Thx for any/all suggestions!!

  6. Update:
    I realize now that the lack of automatical renewal option is due to my payment options not filled out.
    As far as cancelling the membership, I don’t believe there’s an answer yet. Thank-you.

    • I didn’t know you could sign up for the Apple Music trial without adding payment options. My hunch is that it would default to ending your subscription when the trial expires. After all, how can they bill you? But it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’d contact Apple Support on that one.

  7. Very helpful stuff, but I’m trying to unsubscribe from apps I bought through my phone, and they aren’t in my list of subs. For example, Blinkist claims I cannot unsubscribe through them directly, but they aren’t in the list.

  8. Somehow my iTunes (latest version) on PC doesn’t display auto-payment on or off switch. I also tried on iPad, but there is no way of canceling the subscription. Support chat on Apple has not been helpful. I think the only way out of this for me is to close Apple account and get rid of iPad and never use Apple product again. Somehow auto-payment is locked into my account with no option of canceling it.

    Last time I spoke with Apple support, I was told the only way to cancel the subscription is to pay $39.99. Today I paid $39.99, and the payment is “on hold” and my subscription status says “active” and my app (that I do not use) is good till December 8, 2017. I did not want to pay for the another year of app fee, but I paid it only because Apple support said one I paid $39.99, then I will be given a chance to cancel the subscription and then I will be able to request the refund.

    Since $39.99 is “on hold” and I was told it will take up to 10 business days for the payment to be put into the system. I cannot even believe I am writing this because this is 2017. I buy all kinds of stuff with visa or amex cards both online and off-line and I have never experienced this type of nonsense.

    • I agree that some Apple processes are ridiculous. You seem to be caught in some kind of Kafkaesque situation. I’m not a huge fan of Apple’s apps and services. I like their devices, but I try to find substitutes for the rest. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the App Store. There are ongoing legal battles, in an attempt to force Apple into accepting third-party app markets. I hope they can be forced into opening iOS a bit more. It’s really one of the only major platforms where people can only purchase software from the manufacturer. You’d have to go back to old school mainframes to find similar business practices. It’s amazing that Microsoft lost a lawsuit, simply for including Internet Explorer with Windows. The App Store is a far bigger anti-trust violation. I think your hardship is a perfect example of why the App Store shouldn’t be the only iOS app market available. Apple has no incentive to improve it. It’s a monopoly, and if you own an iPhone or iPad, you have to buy apps and in-app purchases (subscriptions) from the App Store.

      If Apple was forced to allow third-party app markets, I guarantee, Google Play would accept the challenge and offer iOS apps. Others would too. It wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

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