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How to Find the Best Apple Music Plan

How to Find the Best Apple Music Plan - Featured Image

updated by Chand Bellur
January 15, 2023 at 3:34 p.m. PST
  • Apple Music is one of the best audio streaming platforms today, with over one million songs, many offered at Hi-Res Lossless quality.
  • Launched in 2015, Apple Music quickly became one of the most popular music streaming services, second only to Spotify.
  • Apple Music features human curation and three live radio stations available 24 hours a day.
  • Special Apple Music plans are available for students and families, along with six-month free trials for those purchasing eligible Apple and Beats audio devices.
  • All Apple Music plans are ad-free.

Why You Should Subscribe to an Apple Music Plan

If you love music, Apple Music offers some of the best plans available today. Although you can find less expensive music services, Apple Music features over 100 million songs; many streamed in Hi-Res Lossless format. Apple’s sound quality is so outstanding you’ll hear new details in songs you’ve loved for decades.

Four Apple Music plans are available today: Voice, Student, Individual, and Family. Like most music subscription services, all Apple Music plans, except Voice, allow you to download music. Saving music to your device is essential when traveling, living off the grid, or conserving cellular data.

When you download music to your device, it will always play with your preferred sound quality. Streaming music during network congestion can reduce sound quality or result in audio dropouts.

The best Apple Music plans allow downloading and streaming. Unless you plan on only streaming Apple Music from a high-speed Internet connection at home or work, we recommend an option supporting downloading.

I’ve streamed music during long drives on many occasions. I have an unlimited cellular plan, and in California, we have ubiquitous cellular coverage. Nonetheless, it’s best to download albums or playlists before a road trip, to save cellular data and battery power on your iPhone and experience music in its best form — Hi-Res Lossless audio.

Right now, Spotify doesn’t offer high-fidelity music. Although a few other music services offer high-resolution audio plans, Apple Music is the best out of all of them.

Whether you own Apple devices or not, Apple Music is an excellent choice. Let’s take a look at the best Apple Music plans and how to take advantage of free trials.

Apple Music Voice Plan

Apple Music’s Voice option isn’t the best plan for most people. Despite a low price of only $4.99 per month, the Voice plan doesn’t allow downloading. Also, music streams at standard quality, not Hi-Res Lossless.

If you want to listen to Apple Music on an Android phone or Windows computer, you’re out of luck with the Voice plan. It will only stream music on Apple devices.

I recommend the Voice plan to people on a budget who enjoy music on an iPhone with AirPods. It may be an appropriate plan if you’re a casual music listener, enjoying songs in the background or at the gym. If you’re a true music lover, it’s worth spending a little more.

Apple Music Student Plan

The best Apple Music plan is only eligible for qualifying students. You must prove that you’re enrolled in college to sign up for the Apple Music Student plan.

It gives you everything you could want — downloading, Hi-Res Lossless, availability on non-Apple devices, and much more, for only $5.99 per month. If you’re enrolled in college, it’s a no-brainer. You can’t even get a decent sandwich for $5.99.

Students have the best Apple Music plan available. Unfortunately, most people aren’t currently enrolled in college or university. It doesn’t apply to high school students, either. Apple is so generous when only some people can take advantage of the service.

Apple Music Individual Plan

The Individual plan is the most commonly subscribed-to Apple Music tier. Everyone is eligible. You don’t even need an Apple device. Simply create an Apple ID and sign up for the service, and you’ll be streaming high-quality music in no time.

There are no savings with the Individual plan. You get what you pay for. $10.99 per month delivers every feature, including downloads, Hi-Res audio, and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. Apple even added a new karaoke feature called Apple Music Sing, enabling you to turn down the vocals so you can take center stage.

Apple Music Family Plan

If you have a nuclear family, Apple Music’s Family option may be the best plan for you. Unfortunately, this isn’t a plan you can easily share with friends. Because it’s tied in with Apple’s Family Sharing technology, it complicates App Store and content purchases within the Apple ecosystem.

When people hear about family plans, they often think it’s a way to share a service with friends and colleagues. For many platforms, it is. That’s because these are singular platforms, not elaborate ecosystems. Also, these media companies are wising up and have new rules for sharing, such as everyone living at the same address. Beyond music, Netflix is going after people who share accounts.

Apple’s Family Sharing runs so deep within the Apple ecosystem you’d only want to invite close family members into this circle of trust. Apple’s system ties all family members to one primary account. So if you share Apple Music with a friend, they can also purchase apps, movies, TV shows, and other content on your account. Do you really want your good buddy buying apps on your Apple account?

Let me make this abundantly clear — don’t expect to share Apple Music with your buddies or co-workers. Apple devised its Family Sharing rules to discourage such behavior.

You don’t need a huge family to experience savings with Apple’s Family Sharing plan. Even a single parent with one child will benefit from one of the best Apple Music plans.

Apple Music One-Month Free Trial

Now that we’ve examined all of the best Apple Music plans let’s take a look at how to get Apple Music for free. It’s very easy. Just sign up.

If you’ve recently tried Apple Music, you won’t be eligible for the free trial. If you try to create a new account and Apple ID, your previous trial will likely be detected when you enter your credit card information.

Apple Music’s free month-long trial is kind of weak. When the service first launched in 2015, it gave users three months for free, but it had a lot of bugs. Today, in 2022, Apple Music is less defective, but declining iPhone sales equate to shorter free trials.

The economy used to be better than it is, so longer free trials are for people who buy select Apple products. Let’s take a look at how to get six months of Apple Music for free.

How to Get Six Months of Apple Music for Free

Apple is currently running a promotion that gives users six free months of Apple Music with the purchase of select audio products. The following Apple products are eligible for a six-month free trial of Apple Music:

  • AirPods Pro
  • AirPods (2nd or 3rd gen)
  • AirPods Max
  • HomePod Mini
  • HomePod
  • Beats Studio Buds
  • Powerbeats
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Beats Solo Pro
  • Beats Fit Pro

You must also be a new Apple Music user to take advantage of this extended free trial. If you already subscribe to Apple Music, your new Apple or Beats audio equipment won’t entitle you to six months for free. It’s a promotion to gain new subscribers. Apple isn’t offering six months for free to lose revenue.

Activating the complimentary six-month trial is easy:

  1. Ensure you’ve installed the latest iOS or iPadOS on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Pair your new, eligible audio device with your iPhone or iPad.
  3. Open the Apple Music app and sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. If the free offer doesn’t appear, open the Listen Now tab.
  5. When you see the offer, tap on “Get 6 months free”.

After the six months have elapsed, Apple will bill you $10.99 monthly for the Individual Apple Music plan. If you recently bought eligible Apple or Beats audio devices, make sure to take advantage of the six-month free trial offer soon. You only have 90 days to claim the six free months after you connect your Apple or Beats audio device to your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device.

What is the Best Apple Music Plan?

Clearly, the Student tier is the best Apple Music plan. Unfortunately, if you’re not currently enrolled in college or university, you can’t take advantage of it. Even high school students are ineligible for Apple’s student discount.

Apple’s Family Plan is the next best option. It can support up to six users; however, even a small family of two can save a lot with this plan. Two Individual plans would cost $21.98 per month. Even a small family of two realizes excellent savings with a $16.99 per month Family plan. Unfortunately, you must be a family because Apple’s Family Sharing makes purchases through one primary account (because most kids don’t have credit cards and bank accounts).

The Individual option is the best Apple Music plan for most people. It’s straightforward. You pay $10.99 monthly and enjoy Apple Music to the fullest, with Hi-Res Lossless audio, downloading, and the ability to play Apple Music on virtually any device.

The Voice plan is one of the worst options. The only thing going for Apple Music’s Voice plan is that it’s cheap. At $4.99, it’s the most affordable music service that isn’t full of ads. But you won’t experience the best audio quality with the Voice plan. Also, you can only use it with Apple devices.

The Voice plan is excellent for people who intend to listen to Apple Music on iPhone speakers or AirPods. If you’re beaming music to a high-end car or home stereo, there are better options than the Voice plan. If $10.99 seems expensive, remember that a few decades ago, we spent $15+ for a CD. Now you can get better sound quality and enjoy over 100 million songs for $10.99.

I haven’t purchased a single CD or digital album since music subscription services emerged almost a decade ago. Apple Music has saved me a lot of money, and I’ve discovered so much music that I couldn’t afford to listen to when I was in high school and college.

Whichever plan you join, you’ll get a lot of value from Apple Music. Apple Music has you covered, even if you have the strangest tastes in music. You’ll save a ton of money and, with Hi-Res Lossless audio quality, hear nuances and subtlety in your favorite songs that were previously undetectable.


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