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.

UPDATE: The confusing nature of cancelling auto-renewal subscriptions has resulted in a class action lawsuit. You don’t need to do anything to join the lawsuit. You can, however, exclude yourself from the lawsuit. This would allow you to take independent legal action based on the judgment of this pending lawsuit. For more information on Siciliano v. Apple Inc., please visit the Kurtzman Carson Consultants website.


  1. Just wanted to thank you. Apple doesn’t like to make it easy to cancel things that bring them money. It’s sites like yours that enable us to navigate and fix issues that cost us money unknowingly.

    1. Thank you! This site is different from the corporate tech sites like 9 to 5 Mac, The Verge or Wired. Remember how Wired had the cover story about 10 years ago, pronouncing that the World Wide Web is dead? Here we are, 10 years later, on a web site! Maybe we’re both dead and this is the afterlife — one with a thriving World Wide Web? Ah, no. Wired was dead wrong. They usually are. People still read paper books and listen to terrestrial radio. In fact, broadcast radio has actually increased in listenership, even with competition from Podcasts and the like. The notion that the new thing will totally replace the old thing is pure hype. It rarely happens. Do people microwave everything they cook? People did when microwaves first came out. Then they realized that microwaved chicken breast is about the most horrible thing one can eat. Similarly, I install maybe 10 apps a year these days. I browse far more websites. The thrill is gone, time for substance…

      Corporate tech sites are too busy trying to create controversy and flame wars in an attempt to boost engagement. It’s the same thing that’s happening with the news media. They offer hype and not help.

      Hey, that should be the new Appledystopia motto — “less hype, more help”. Because there is some hype here, but I’d say about 75% less than the average corporate tech website.

      I took a sociology of crime class in college that really opened my eyes about the media. Crime has been steadily decreasing over the years, yet people have a greater fear of crime. It’s because the media makes money on dead bodies. If they were just policy wonks, like the PBS NewsHour, only nerds like me would watch.

      That’s what most major tech sites do — breed controversy. “10 Reasons Why Android is Better than iOS” generates 5000 comments full of hatred. It is intentional. They make money by breeding fear and hatred. I make money by trying to write helpful articles. It is not solely out of good intentions. It is more that, as a smaller, independent site, the only way I can compete with the big boys is to create better quality content. I can do that. I’m not as good at churning out 5 meaningless articles a day. It makes me feel cheap and guilty, as if I am only short changing myself.

  2. Is there an option to stop auto-renewal of ALL apps? Not just one by one? I had one auto-renew that I was unaware of and had disputed the charge. But I want to further prevent any more from doing the same.

  3. I followed the instructions to cancel the subscriptions. I had two subscriptions… I unchecked next subscription options and showing next expiry of the subscriptions. Does it mean I have opted out of next subscriptions? Will it not be subscribed in next cycle?

    1. If it shows that the subscription will expire, you have effectively cancelled it. You might want to take a screenshot of it just in case, but it should be fine. If you take a screenshot, you can appeal to Apple customer support if you do end up getting charged. I doubt it will happen, but it never hurts to have some evidence.

  4. I just realized that I’m not on an actual APPLE web sight So I want to apologize to you for sending my very heated comment. Please forgive.
    I am so frustrated and have been looking at so many web sights (including Apple’s completely unhelpful site) for so long now, that I didn’t notice at the time 🙁
    I wish there were just a phone number that I could call to get help with this issue.
    Anyway, thank you for helping people by providing valuable info and all the best to you 🙂

    I have followed every single step given here but when I get to SUBSCRIPTIONS, the ONLY option is to choose SUNDANCE NOW.
    When I do this, THERE IS NOOO “CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION” option!!! It will not allow me to unsubscribe! But for some reason, at one point, it said that I would still get Sundance until the 17th of this month… so I thought that somehow I’d succeeded in cancelling….
    But then I received an immediate email welcoming me to Sundance!!!
    This is RIDICULOUS! I have been trying every single way for the past 90 minutes to UNSUBSCRIBE TO SUNDANCE NOW! I am getting charged $7.49/ mo. for app I don’t use AND when I tried it out right after I got it a few months ago (“FREE TRIAL”), it rarely worked anyway!!!
    Apple / iTunes, I need IMMEDIATE assistance to help me UNSUBSCRIBE to Sundance Now!
    Thank you in advance. I will be awaiting your hopefully PROMPT response to assist me in this matter.

    1. The manage button appears under the Subscriptions heading on the Account Settings screen in the iTunes Store. You want to open the iTunes Store, scroll down to the bottom, click on your Apple ID and then follow the rest of the directions and screenshots in the article.

      I’m not sure if you’re trying to do this within the Netflix app. If so, it won’t work. It has to be done in the iTunes Store app.

      The other possibility is that you’re using an older version of iOS. Which version are you using?

  6. Wow. Thank you so much. Couldn’t intuitively figure out how to cancel recurring mag app subscription @ iOS/Settings/iTunes (though app vaguely said was easy to do so in that direction) OR on laptop. You guided my right through laptop iTunes AND I cancelled other lingering monthly subscriptions there to boot. Thanks.

  7. Hey. I am trying to unsubscribe to Netflix

    But unable to do it, followed your instructions of auto renewal off but no options available. I followed the following steps but unable to go further.

    1. Settings
    2. On top screen press the name or id
    3. press iTunes and app stores
    4. apple id appears on top, clicked Apple ID a pop up appears “view Apple ID” but once I click the view Apple ID it goes to step 4 ie Apple ID appears in top again and same is happening. Unable to go to next page — my subscription. Kindly help me out how to go to my subscriptions and stop auto renewal.

    1. I just tried it on my iPhone and it works as described in the article. After you view your Apple ID and authenticate, it should take you to the Account Settings screen. From there, Subscriptions is one of the options. Are you sure you are authenticating with the correct email and password for your Apple ID? I’m using it on an iPhone 6, so I authenticated with Touch ID.

  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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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

    1. 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.

  13. 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

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

    1. 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.

  15. THANK YOU! Super helpful & clear steps to turning off my subscriptions. I never would have known how otherwise.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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