Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

Do You Use It? Apple Services

In recent years, Apple has focused a great deal of effort on its paid subscription services: iCloud+, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade, even creating the discounted Apple One bundle for those who use multiple services. Apple’s focus shouldn’t be surprising: the Services category now accounts for about a quarter of the company’s revenues. But to what extent do TidBITS readers subscribe to these services? That’s the core question for this week’s poll: Which Apple services do you pay for and use? And yes, “None” is an answer.

The reason for the “and” in the question above is the Apple One bundle. We currently pay for Apple One Premier, but we only use 2 TB of iCloud+ storage, Apple Music, and Apple TV+—the remaining services hold no appeal for us. If you subscribe to Apple One, be sure to specify which individual services you use as well. Followup questions seek to identify which Apple Music, iCloud+, and Apple One plans are the most popular.

Read original article

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Comments About Do You Use It? Apple Services

Notable Replies

  1. Adam,

    If I subscribe to Apple One, do I also answer the specific questions related to Apple Music and iCloud+ as opposed to just checking them off on the primary question?

  2. Good timing. With the recent rate hike, I just canceled my Apple One sub (it renewed Nov 5).

    I had subscribed to Apple Music for $10/month for years – since I bought the original HomePod – but I literally have used it for only a few hours in all that time. I always thought the idea sounded great, but the HomePod was such a flop for me and Apple took so long to fix the major bugs (and many still remain) that I never used Music or the HomePod.

    (Literally 99% of my HomePod use is “Siri, shut up!” when HomePod starts talking randomly thinking I asked it something when I didn’t.) I just never listen to music. I listen to audiobooks in the car, walking the dog, yard work, and on hikes. There’s no time left for music.

    When Apple TV+ came out, I got that, and I do watch some shows and like it. I mainly use it to watch Major League Soccer (which is an extra subscription price, but there is a discount if you already pay for ATV+). I’m not crazy about the ATV+ price increases, but they do make sense considering the way the library has grown.

    (I actually like that ATV+ is small. I can’t find anything on Netflix and I’m decades behind on shows there. Even on ATV+ I’m still on season 2 of Ted Lasso and when I go to Netflix and discover a popular show that interested me is now ten years old with 100+ episodes, it overwhelms me and I don’t start watching it.)

    Apple Arcade sounded awesome, but I never really used it. I was disappointed with a few of the games that I downloaded. They were 1GB+ downloads and I bored within 5 minutes of “play.” They were no different from the other games on iPhone I don’t play. To me the perfect game (especially on phone) is Tetris. Waiting 5 minutes for a car driving simulation just to launch and load up pretty much uses up all the spare time I have for game play!

    When Apple One, which cost me about $20/month, jumped in price, I looked at what I was using and said, “No way.” All I was using is TV+ and iCloud – that’s not worth $20+/month!

    I wouldn’t mind News+, but you can only get that at the premium sub. News+ should be a $3-$5 add-on, not $10. I’d never use Fitness+.

    So Apple stupidly lost me as a customer. I had inertia and didn’t mind leaving the Apple One sub on before, but by drawing my attention to price (which was already high for what I used), they now made me cancel and save about $10 a month!

    Now my only worry is that iCloud pricing jumps from $3 for 200GB to $10 for 1TB. There’s nothing in between, which is bizarre. I have lots of iOS devices and right now I use 180GB for backup and photo storage. No way am I paying $10 for 1TB I’ll never use. If Apple doesn’t change the storage pricing, I’d probably get rid of some older devices (or just not back them up on iCloud) so that I don’t exceed the 200GB. That strikes me as stupid on Apple’s part – each device I have should come with at least 10GB of free storage space, not just 5GB per Apple ID. By quibbling for pennies, Apple will make me hesitant to buy new hardware!

    Not sure what will happen when Vision Pro comes out. Will that require iCloud storage or will it be more like a Mac where you back it up yourself?

  3. Two weeks ago we were on a family plan of Apple One Premier.

    The price increase prompted me to look at how much we use it and I decided to cancel and go back to just a 2TB storage plan.

    I’ve never used Fitness+ or Arcade and rarely AppleTV. I like Apple News but happy to roll with the free options. Whilst it offers a very comprehensive music library, I find Apple Music enormously frustrating and I doubt I’ll miss it as I rarely venture outside my own music.

    Ironically, the money I saved on the Apple services has gone into a new service for something else.

  4. Yes, please, so we’re keeping all the details together and I don’t have to try to back out the fact that you subscribe to Apple One Individual, say, and what that means for Apple Music and iCloud+ plans.

  5. It was outside the scope of the poll, but since I still like to buy music, I subscribe to iTunes Match. I do not subscribe to Apple Music.

    At the moment, I buy most of my music in physical CD form from Amazon, though I occasionally buy digitally through the iTunes store or other sources.

    Amazon has an interesting “AutoRip” feature that automatically adds downloadable MP3 versions of many CDs and vinyl records to your Amazon Music account at no extra charge when you buy the CD/vinyl through Amazon. I’ve found Amazon’s MP3s to be of high enough quality that usually I don’t feel the need to import the CD manually using a lossless format, though sometimes I will do so for particularly well recorded music.

    Also, when you use the otherwise awful Amazon Music app to download purchases, it can import the MP3s automatically into your iTunes library, and then iTunes Match quickly syncs them to your iTunes cloud library.

  6. The only Apple Services I use are iCloud+, which is necessary to fully benefit from the Apple ecosystem, and iTunes Match. I have zero interest in any other services - I consider Apple to be at its best as a hardware company and the services seemed to have been introduced to appease Wall Street investors due to their concerns with the cyclical nature of iPhone sales.

    The only products I love from Apple are the ARM-based Macs, which are truly wonderful. I use a fairly recent iPhone but don’t particularly like iOS (or FaceID) for enough reasons to write a small book (despite this, I will never own an Android device). I love doing development work on the Mac and using TeXShop to prepare some scientific documents.

    I use the iPhone for simple things so very rarely buy apps and I have no presence on any social media. I don’t expect to ever purchase any VR/AR products, despite their seeming technical excellence. Public civility is already harmed enough by people walking around with their faces in their phones, can one imagine the dystopia we would have with people wearing one of these things, even if they evolve into spectacles?

  7. None. The only service I could see myself using is iCloud+ for extra storage space.

    The other services are IMHO garbage. I can’t stand soccer and I’m not interested in space cowboys shooting up Russians on the moon. I’m not into hiphop radio stations. I prefer to own rather than rent my music. I prefer to store locally and play my music than depend on cellular and pray to get it — I travel a lot and data roaming abroad is rarely great. That’s why my iPhone has a gargantuan amount of storage.

    I resent the fact that although Apple keeps increasing the base storage on iPhones, it has left the “free” iCloud tier at paltry 5GB. Especially when the same Apple seems hell bent on pushing everybody and their dog towards iCloud for stuff we used to do locally. I’m not at all feeling like giving in to this little extortion scheme. It will be a long time before I pay for getting more than 5GB. I already pay several thousand every year in Apple tax for the hardware, now you give me the services you claim I should be using with it. I aint paying extra.

    IMHO “services” is a Wall Street thing. They like it because to the stock folks it looks like free money (a first indication consumers will be the suckers) and they’ve always been worried with just hardware sales Apple would be doomed (Apple always seems doomed :man_facepalming:) . But from a user perspective, meh. I have yet to meet the person who tells me any of Apple’s “services” are actually great. Their usual best selling point is integration. Well duh, only the keeper of the walled garden can do that — and must. But reliable? Well documented? Scalable? Meh. I can invest in lots of other companies doing even better than Apple. But I can’t get a better MBP than the one from Apple. So what I want from Apple is not dividends, but an actually great product. They’d need to do a whole lot better to get me to consider any of their “services”. Let the Wall Streeters enjoy it, along with their corporate virus checkers. :laughing:

  8. I subscribed to Apple One Premier about a year ago. The price increases spurred me to reexamine what I was paying for, and I decided ultimately to drop back to iCloud+ at the 200 GB level, to Apple TV+, and Apple News+.

    Apple Music was nice to have, but I didn’t really use it enough to justify the cost. I had it primarily to make it easier to play music on my HomePods. I’d rather save the money and just stream music to them from my phone or computer using AirPlay. Or maybe I’ll sign up for iTunes Match again.

    The other stuff included with Apple One Premier, like Apple Arcade and Apple Fitness+, was largely unused. My family is still well under 200 GB total for iCloud storage, so the large quota included with Apple One Premier wasn’t much value to us.

  9. Sorry for all the “me, too” comments, but I think Simon laid it out well.

    Since I’m fairly stable at about 3 GB in iCloud, it looks like I can postpone paying for extra storage for a while.

    This. I thought 5 GB was low when it was introduced, even though I don’t need it. It was like a bad April Fool’s joke that hasn’t ended.

    Absolutely, both hardware and software. I don’t know enough about hardware to criticize it intelligently, but I do know the software has a lot of room for improvement. Why a company with a billion dollars cash does not make Mail a better program is a mystery.

  10. I currently only have Apple Music. It includes most of my owned music from when I had Match including many albums that Apple Music/iTunes store doesn’t have, and the playlists I set up on Match. The streaming part is siloed well away from my real library and is only on the Catalina mini. Music app knows about Apple Music service but not my files, iTunes (via Retroactive) knows about my library but not the service. My slow* connection is a problem–I have to download the music first or there can be stutters. But at least the music does usually download properly. It’s a nuisance that Home sharing won’t share Apple Music to my Sierra mac, but AirFoil does well enough.

    I also had TV and Arcade for awhile, and combined them into a One package (individual) but soon canceled everything but Music.

    There are some things I’d like to watch on Apple TV. But it simply does not work on slow connections. It doesn’t stream reliably and it can’t download for later–it drops the connection every few minutes or even seconds. When I got my iPad Air 5, I hoped it would work better since it has no hosts files, Snitch, or other potential blocks. Nope. Never got a single thing to either download or stream on the ipad. Other streaming services such as PBS, BBC, and Hoopla manage to stream just fine though they need to buffer for awhile before starting. But no stutters.

    I wanted to like Arcade, and liked a lot of the games I downloaded. But I mostly play short puzzle games in between other things, and the dreadfully long wait to open an app while it shouts it’s arcade banner at me took longer than the time available to play a game. I’d rather just buy a game that doesn’t waste my time (well, yeah, the point of games is to waste time but…)

    iCloud+ came along for the ride with One, but between the slow connection and my complete distrust of iCloud, was never part of the cost analysis.

    I’ve never had any interest in the News app. I have rss–if something doesn’t have an rss feed, it doesn’t exist. (I got over FOMO when I was eleven and tried to make an outline of every subject that existed.)

    • ‘Slow’ connection is 1.5 Mbit DSL down, half that up. Connection itself works fine with non-apple apps. Apple stuff is a crap shoot on both Sierra (imac) and Catalina (2018 mini), and on the ipads (assorted vintages). The iOS App store is usually less unreliable than the other apps.
  11. I’m not subscribing to any of the listed services, but my wife subscribes to the $1/mo storage upgrade (I think that’s the 50GB tier). I have no such need, since I make backups to my Mac via USB and keep very little data of any kind in iCloud.

  12. I do, and will continue to, subscribe to Premier. All my family (four folks) use Music. My wife also use Fitness+. I use AppleTV+. We all use News+. And we all backup our iPhones to the cloud. I do not think they are garbage as others do. Well, except Arcade. No time for that stuff.

  13. I have a family subscription to Apple One Premier for three of us in a family group - it used to be four, but my daughter left the family group earlier this year. We all use Music (both for syncing libraries, listening on the go, and for listening on our Sonos system), we all use TV+ at some point or other (me more than them - IMO there are a lot of very good series on TV+ - Ted Lasso, Slow Horses, Severance, and I’ve also watched For All Mankind and The Morning Show despite the shows becoming a little “soapy” over the last couple of seasons.) I use Fitness+ - just checking, I’ve done 896 workouts in the almost three years since it started, so I think I am getting my money’s worth.

    I also use News and the News+ subscription basically pays for itself, as I have been able to drop a subscription to The New Yorker magazine that would cost as much as News+ standalone, but I get the bonus of reading other magazine articles and most articles on the Wall Street Journal that would otherwise be behind a paywall.

    Our three person family group uses 238.7 GB of storage, mostly for photos storage and device backups, though I also use iCloud Drive for some documents as well. While iCloud Drive obviously can be troublesome for people, so far - knock wood - those issues have not happened to me. Perhaps the biggest reason is that with Advanced Data Protection, I like the privacy; that not even Apple can access my files (unlike, for example, Dropbox, One Drive, or Google Drive.)

    When the price increased again this month, I looked again at the individual components to see if we could save money - both if we had just the iCloud storage that we needed (2 TB for the family), TV+ that we turned on for the months that we actively used it, Fitness+, Music family, without Arcade and News+, plus pricing it all out for individual users as needed (iCloud Drive 200 GB for each of us), including replacing Fitness+ for me with something else like Peloton, Music with some other service like Spotify, etc. Apple One Premier turns out still to save money.

  14. I haven’t found any of the services useful enough to subscribe.

    I can manage with the stingy 5 GB iCloud space. I prefer to keep my photos backed up locally, and I’m not a high volume photographer anyway.

    Messages I mostly delete, but those I wish to save I download and save with iMazing, which keeps space free.

    I use iCloud to occasionally store files until I can transfer them to their final destination, which is never iCloud.

    I’m a dinosaur who prefers to own his music, and I buy CDs still for the new music I want, along with an occasional MP3 single. I appreciate the AutoRip that Amazon has on some discs for its convenience. I can store all the music I want on my devices.

    I find I don’t really play games on my iOS devices much. Occasional solitare, DoodleJump, chess/checkers/backgammon, but that’s about it. Apple Arcade doesn’t make sense for me.

    There are some good shows on Apple TV, but not enough that it’s worth subscribing for me. Maybe someday I’ll binge some of them after I get a new device and take advantage of the 3 free months then cancel, but I don’t see enough value to pay for it.

    News+? Also no. If I could actually read some of the newspapers and magazines, in particular (for me) the Wall Street Journal, it might be different, but the last I checked it was only for a subset of articles, so again, not worth it.

    I’m generally very opposed to becoming someone’s “permanent” source of cash flow with subscriptions, so I avoid them as much as possible in general.


  15. We’ve been using Apple Arcade at our house since we got a free subscription some time ago, but we are considering canceling it because the price is going up and we are using it less (I have to confirm if the kids are playing Arcade games or not).

    We go back and forth on Apple TV+, turning it on to watch a few new shows, then turning it back off when we’re run out of things to watch (there haven’t been that many that appealed to us, but the ones that do appeal have tended to be very good).

    We also subscribe to iTunes Match because we have amassed a pretty substantial library over the years and we like to actually own copies of our music so we can burn them on a CD for the car (yes, our car is old) or put them on MP3 players the kids use (there are times/places where an iPhone is not appropriate/allowed, but an MP3 player is fine). And I just don’t like the idea of losing access to a song/artist because of some falling out with the streaming service.

  16. I actually have three individual subscriptions to iCloud+ at the 200GB tier. It kind of happened organically, first my wife, then me, then our youngest. There may be a cheaper way to accomplish this, but I can’t be bothered to figure out what it would be…

  17. The only reason why I have 50gb of iCloud+ is because I can’t figure out how to remove some of the stuff stored there to get back under 2gb. Maybe it’s stuff from my wife’s devices.

    My experience with iCloud synching is a disaster. Contacts synching produced 44 copies of each contact with no way to clean up the iCloud content. Calendar synching has resulted in similar duplication. And trying to use iCloud backup was even more frustrating: Stuff got moved around my hard drive and deleted, which is NOT WHAT I UNDERSTAND BACKUP TO MEAN.

    I don’t use Apple News because I find the ads annoying (it’s one thing that Google does better), so I’m certainly not -paying for- News+. With almost 2 months worth of ripped CDs, I’m not interested in Apple Music, even the new Classical service. (But I wish Apple would use the information from Classical to -fix- the total mess that classical metadata is for ripped CDs. I might be willing to pay for Apple Classical if it did that.) Now on the Mac is much less reliable now than it was several years ago, but that’s a different topic. No interest in Arcade or Fitness. Therefore in aggregate, no interest in Apple One.

  18. I pay for iCloud+ at the 200Gb level though annoyingly I use just 52Gb. Most of it is family photos and videos and Apple is cheaper than Flickr. I also subscribe to iTunes Match so that my music is available on all devices. I’d be happy to ditch this if someone could point me to a lower cost alternative. As for the other services, they provide nothing that I need and cannot get elsewhere without cost.

  19. I pay for the lowest tier of iCloud+; I’m currently using just under 5GB so I’m right on the edge of needing extra storage, and I also use the custom email domain feature.

    I tried out News+ after my iPhone purchase this fall but didn’t find it all that compelling. I tried Apple Music a long time ago but didn’t like how it interacted with my music library so won’t be doing that again.

  20. Huh… This seems to be a pattern with iCloud. I would expect a cloud system to NEVER mess with what’s on my computer unless I explicitly authorize it to do so and can control the results. In particular, a cloud service should NEVER assume it is authoritative; it should allow me to override what’s in the cloud because I know better which copy of data is correct. (Apple tier 2 tech support admitted to me there’s no way to change/override contacts stored in the cloud, and when I pushed really hard on that as a “significant use case failure,” the Apple rep did not disagree.)

  21. I wish there was a version of a roll your own Apple One where I could pick which services I want. :man_shrugging:t2:

  22. I use Apple TV+ but don’t pay for it directly because a subscription is bundled into another service I subscribe to.

    Further, I used to be in the “who needs streaming music?” camp as the owner of a lot of vinyl and CDs, but when I began using my streaming subscription, I became a convert. Streaming is a great complement to physical formats because exploring genres and checking out artists is quick, easy, and “free”.

    If I lost my bundled access to streamed music and Apple TV+, I probably would subscribe to Apple One-Family because I like a lot of (currently on hiatus) Apple TV+ shows and want the combination of pop music and dedicated classical app Apple Music offers…and at that point, it seems to make sense to do the Apple bundle.

  23. I’ve had iCloud+ forever, though still at 50GB - in part, my primary backup for my laptop is an external SSD. I’m in and out of Apple+ if there is something I really want to watch -out right now. First world problem, I cancelled Sirius Radio when I got my Tesla since it doesn’t support it, and decided to subscribe to Apple Music (instead of Spotify) - so far, happy with it. No interest in the other services.

  24. I subscribe to Apple One family plus an additional 200 GB storage for a total of 400 GB. Works for us. Some of the arcade games are OK, but I am not much of a game player and neither are the other family members. We get good use out of the other three services and save money with even just three family members using the plan.

  25. My husband and I enjoy News+ and TV+. We also use 200 GB of iCloud+. We are considering adding Music for the classical music but have not bitten yet. TV+ is our only streaming service. I can’t imagine subscribing to more than one streaming service. We gave up our TV several years ago. I enjoy not seeing the ads. TV+ gives us all the TV we crave.

  26. I have Apple One, have never used Apple Fitness (and probably never will). I rarely download anything from Apple Arcade past getting something new for a long flight (which I delete after the flight).

    I have subscribed to iTunes Match for years and still find it useful.

    I have 2TB if iCloud+ and will probably up it to the next level next year (merging my wife’s iCloud plan into mine on the family plan and dropping DropBox which has become really expensive for what I use it for).

    My wife uses Apple Music (and our 100’s of ripped CDs) almost daily.

    We occasionally watch Apple TV+.

    Both of us use Apple News+ daily.

  27. I tried Apple Music. Even getting a coupon for a 6 month trial was awful to get to work. I had to call support. Music on myOS is utterly unusable so that I didn’t even make the 6 months. Has anything changed in the last 3 years? I don’t think so.

    iCloud likes to stop synching. This week I had to kill iCloud synching because it was using 22 GB of RAM. I would never trust iCloud with important files.

  28. I refuse to pay for extra storage despite Apple’s ridiculous limitations on it because I know once I am in I’d never ever be able to turn it off. It is a challenge to avoid it, mostly dealing with Messages which has no reasonable way of finding and deleting old large messages.

    I like AppleTV+ but recently unsubscribed (timely, just before the price increase!). I try to limit the number of TV subscriptions and will undoubtedly resubscribe to AppleTV+ in the future to watch For All Mankind and other good shows - but I’ll unsubscribe from some other service. Since you can binge watch shows it makes far more sense to limit the services and rotate through them.

    I read news in Apple News, which it turns out is really just one big ad for News+ but I don’t need that much news - I just wish I could turn off showing all the News+ content I don’t want to pay for, but of course that is not in Apple’s interests.

    It saddens me that Apple’s drive to push up services revenue goes largely counter to the original goal of good UI for everything, but such is life and progress in a commercial society. One day perhaps we’ll find a better balance.

  29. My wife and I subscribe to the 50GB version of iCloud+, for which I signed us up in order to (I hope) safely & reliably maintain backups of photos, messages, and files on our iPhones and iPads, plus my MacBook Pro. She also signed us up for Apple News+ so that we could read more news and other articles. Additionally, we have subscribed to Apple TV so that we can enjoy several programs through our Roku that are exclusively available there.
    Neither of us have subscribed to Apple Music. In particular, I have a rather large library of CDs, from which I have made digital copies of favorite tracks that I loaded onto my iPhone, iPad, and especially my iPod Classic, which is still my favorite device for listening to music while traveling as a passenger in an automobile or airplane. I also have purchased individual songs and albums through the iTunes Store and Amazon.

  30. I tried Apple Music a year or two ago. I was really looking forward to syncing my play counts and played dates across all of my devices, as most of the playlists that I play regularly are based in part on music that I haven’t heard recently (I have more than 60,000 tracks that I have ripped from CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audios, etc). But I had to give it up because it kept replacing my CD-quality and hi-def tracks in my playlists with lower quality tracks matched from the cloud. When I contacted Apple support, they said that’s the way it’s designed to work. Seems rather presumptuous of Apple for them to think that I would rather listen to their low quality tracks than my high quality ones.

    But I love some of the shows on Apple TV+ - Ted Lasso, Shrinking, Severance, …

  31. Maybe iCloud is the reason why each contact on my Mac (still Big Sur) is quadruplicated (but not on my iPhones 8 or 15) ? This is a super-annoying bug that I have had for a few years and which never got fixed (well, at least not until Big Sur).

  32. I use Apple Music and iCloud+. I use AppleTV+ but it’s included with my T-Mobile phone plan. Particularly with the price increase, I’d probably do what I do wit Max, AMC+, and a couple of others — hop in and out of the plan when there are shows I want to watch (For All Mankind, Severance …). Since it’s included, I must say I’m enjoying several other shows especially since I recently replaced my Roku with an Apple TV 4K that FINALLY solves all my annoyance with my 2nd gen HomePods. As of v17.2 beta, it’s a seamless experience for me.

    I liked my free trial of Apple News+ but not enough to pay for it or Apple One. As others have mentioned, I’d love a “roll yer own” Apple One where I could pick which services I’d like to include.

  33. I’d forgotten about Shrinking - it was great - I would renew if a new season arrived. Severance was just too weird, not for me. I didn’t mind For all Mankind but it lost me after half a dozen episodes.

  34. Apple Music, several hours a day, every day, for myself and my sons. Despite the occasional hiccups, I think it works well, and provides all the streaming music I want. It doesn’t hurt that, at one point anyway, Apple was paying much better royalties to artists than Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube, its main competitors.
    When we needed more storage, the One plan made sense, and since then, we all (three adults, one child) use News+ a limited amount (enjoying the new crosswords!), iCloud+ shared photo library, and I play a couple of Arcade+ games which (ironically) I paid for before they were added to Arcade+.
    We very occasionally look at Apple TV+ but would not pay for it separately–while some shows/films are excellent, the value is not there compared to Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+.
    Apple fitness is nice, but I think we’ve used it less than a half-dozen times since it was introduced.

  35. It would be interesting to unpack use of iCloud+….

    I subscribe to the basic level but my interest is more in the additional services than the expanded storage. Specifically I have configured a custom email domain, make frequent use of “hide my email”, and like the idea of the Private Relay for enhanced privacy.

    Our family subscription to Apple Music is fully utilised!

  36. iTunes Match has got to be the biggest (only) bargain of all Apple’s services — only $25/year to stream your entire library. I’m impressed by all the people here who subscribe to it. I did for a long time, as well, but it seemed redundant to the Apple Music subscription (not just rendered unnecessary because I have streaming music, but actually included with the Music library syncing — am I missing something?).

    I currently subscribe to Premier for my family, but the price hike has made me resent it to the point where I may downgrade to the Family plan. I’ve used Fitness+ a handful of times and wish it were better (how about letting me pick my own playlist?). News + is fine, sort of, as a throw-in, but not worth paying even $1 for. I can’t stand how Apple, so committed to helping me control ads in other contexts, itself becomes the purveyor of putrid inescapable ads in its own app. We use Music and TV a fair bit, Arcade hardly at all.

    The main sticking point is the iCloud storage (as other posters commented — once you’re in, you’re caught in a trap). We need more than the Family plan allows, and my storage is tied in from a second Apple ID. So if I can research enough to find a way to keep the storage tier but ditch Arcade/News and pay less, I’ll do it.

  37. Re Match vs Apple Music, I think much depends on how much your music library / tastes changes and varies. I used Match for many years (yes, it’s a great deal!) but dropped it for Music when I realised I could now have access to almost anything, not only my library!

    I really like having access to new music and the personalised station has brought up a significant amount of new music that I would never have otherwise discovered.

    The downside is that I am now completely sucked into the Apple system - dropping Music would mean losing access to a lot of what I now regularly listen to.

  38. As ever, a timely and interesting survey. Even though our kids are in their twenties, it’s still useful and economic to pay for a family subscription to this and share some apps from the App Store. We all used to use iTunes, the original shared app., but everyone has gone different ways with the kids using Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube while I am a convert to Qobuz & Roon. News is good, but also the kind of content overload we should all be avoiding for our mental health. Apple TV content was very disappointing to begin with but has improved. Unexpectedly the Fitness app gets regular use and saves subscribing elsewhere for yoga and other training.

  39. I subscribe to iCloud+ 2TB for the additional storage for photos. I make full use of Hide My Email, and I have been using iCloud Mail as my primary email service around the time Custom Email Domain becomes available. I did not subscribe to the other services except for Apple Music.

  40. I use iCloud+ as a family service. Between 5 of us we are using 1.2 TB from the 2 TB limit and, as we are all Mac users, make good use of the Apple ecosystem.
    My son and I use the Apple Music family subscription extensively but not the rest who prefer Spotify.
    I’ve got a free 3 month subscription to Apple News and fitness. I hardly use Apple News as my (UK) library provides free digital access to a very wide range of national and international newspapers and magazines.
    I’m not interested in the fitness subscription so have not enrolled. I’ll cancel Apple News when the free trial is over.
    With Apple TV I wait until a series/film has fully dropped then subscribe for a one month binge only. I do this with other streaming subscriptions. I’m wondering when the streaming services will get wise to this.

  41. I’ve been an Apple Music and iCloud+ (as it’s called now) subscriber in the past, as well as an iTunes Match subscriber for a time before Apple Music was a things.

    I would probably still be an Apple Music / iTunes Match subscriber if either service was reliable. Alas, the opposite has been consistently the case throughout my time using both services, to the point where I can consider them a liability to my existing music library rather than an asset. I’m very thankful that I still have all my old CDs stored away, and that Bandcamp and other services allow me to re-download (most) old digital purchases.

    I tried iCloud+ custom email domains a year or so back, and it worked. But iCloud Mail isn’t Fastmail, or any other dedicated email provider, and you are getting what you pay for in terms of control over your email, in my opinion.

    As for iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Library, those are great when they work, but infuriating when they decide not to for some reason. Particularly so with Photos. Apple seems to have a deep aversion to telling users that there’s a problem, which doesn’t help matters. I’m still using the free 5GB iCloud plan for now, but only for iPhone backups and as a way to pass stuff from the phone to my Mac.

  42. I subscribed to Apple TV+ for a long time. There’s a lot of good stuff there. I still use it but now I pay for it indirectly because I switched to T-Mobile and my plan includes subscriptions to ATV+ and Netflix.

    We subscribe to the 200Gb level of iCloud+ mostly so my wife can have her photos there. Three bucks a month is close enough to zero that I don’t mind spending that.

    I got a free three-month subscription to Fitness+ with my iPhone 15 but never got around to using it so I canceled it before the trial ended.

    I subscribe to Apple Music and love it. I like being able to listen to anything I want without having to gamble on buying a CD that I end up not liking. If I like something enough I will buy the CD. Honestly, though, my CD purchasing has plummeted since I started subscribing. The decrease in spending on CDs probably offsets the subscription price.

    I have a huge CD library ripped into Music and definitely don’t have sync to the cloud turned on. I’ve spent a lot of time making sure album art is correct and I’m pretty sure syncing would wipe out all that work.

    I’ve used Apple Classical a little bit. I’d use it a lot more if it wasn’t iPhone-only. I use my Mac for music at home (through AirPlay to my stereo) and at work (through headphones). I know I could play Classical through AirPlay at home but I just don’t go to the phone for music.

  43. I use iCloud at the 2TB level, essentially to provide safe backup and syncing between the family devices (3 Macs, 2 iPhones, an iPad…). Maybe there are other ways to do this, but I suffer from not having the motivation to understand all the Apple offers in detail. For example, I’ve rejected Apple News because I subscribe to the online versions of four UK newspapers, and I like it that way - but maybe I’m wasting a load of money… I use Apple TV+ which gives me enough entertainment for now, but the increase in price is making me rethink it. I hate games, don’t do organised fitness (too old) and I’ve never even explored Apple One. As to Apple Music, I have enough of my own stuff, plus there’s a family Spotify. All mostly classical, and the Apple offering doesn’t seem attractive.

  44. A few years ago, I bought an Apple TV on which I watch Apple TV+, have a subscription to StudioCanal, and bought some films (owing to caring responsibilities and then avoiding Covid I’ve not been to a cinema since 2017). I use a handful of “players” to see programmes that were broadcast on terrestrial tv and have an Amazon Prime subscription. I never bothered with a Netflix subscription.
    I’m about to cancel 2 newspaper subscriptions because I have far too many books to read.
    The Apple Music subscription is always a future possibility but I still tend to buy [1] CDs [2] individual tunes on iTunes [3] albums on Bandcamp to upload to my iPod. Musician friends recommend Bandcamp because they get a better payment via this platform. Currently, my iPod is playing my music in sequence by title from the English and Gaelic “A google all” by Sean Monaghan to “47002” by Eastfield… and I’m as far as ‘D’.

  45. Just dropped Apple One thanks to the price hike. Will temporarily resubscribe to TV+ if there is something I must watch.

  46. (What I did: (1) disable calendar sync with iCloud. (2) set phone to sync contacts with the local Mac. (3) there’s a ‘remove duplicates’ function in Mac, used that to clean up the contacts list. It took multiple passes. (4) synced the phone with the local computer.

    On a related note, I’ve been unable to -permanently- change the phone to sync with my Mac. Whenever I change it from ‘essential stuff to iCloud’ to ‘everything on local Mac’, as part of that local sync process, the setting is reversed. That’s another bug Apple never got back to me as they promised. All I was told “might be fixed in a future release.”)

  47. I don’t even know what’s “Apple One,” I guess totally out of the loop

  48. I enjoy having the news app, but I can’t see paying the cost of a plus subscription. I pay for the newspapers I read, only one of which is on News+. And to be fair, my Music subscription is part of my cell phone plan; whether I would keep it should that plan be changed is to be determined. I may be an outlier here, but in the occasional trials I’ve had of AppleTV, I’ve seen absolutely nothing that would make me pay a nickel for it.

    iCloud is a different story. Now that I – and the rest of my family – are using it, I wish I had signed on sooner. Have tried several others over the years – still have OneDrive through my Microsoft account, but don’t like it or any of the others I’ve had. Wish my son could use it as more than read-only on his Windows PC (he’s a gamer), but the family has benefited greatly since making the change.

  49. When I purchased my new iPhone I received a free 30-day trial for Apple TV+. I used that opportunity to binge watch Ted Lasso. I didn’t see any other programing that interested me enough to warrant paying another monthly fee for TV streaming. With Netflix, Hulu Live, Amazon Prime, and everything available on Roku, I have plenty to watch as it is. Not to mention all the channels that come in via my antenna.

  50. When I saw this poll, I initially thought it referred to the Services menu item under the application menu.

  51. Should do a poll on “why aren’t you subbed to Apple’s services (e.g. iCloud+, News+ ATV+, etc).” Since most that do are family plans or need storage for their devices.

    I have ATV+ ONLY because Sony had a deal for 6months free if you have a Playstation account/PS5. I also made sure to note the expiry date on my iCal reminder to cancel as it will want to auto-renew.
    I had Apple Music for 6months during Covid. It was free because I got a new iphone. But ironically, I spend 3x more on M2 Mac Studio in July and got nothing. No free anything.
    Sometimes I read Apple News but most of the content now is behind the News+ paywall labels (which you can find those articles on the web via browser since most are other news sites).
    I noticed that my iCloud storage (free plan) was getting notice that almost full. ??? Well, turns out your iMessages from family/friends that send picts/movies is sync’d and stored. I cleaned out 3GB of stuff I don’t need. Most Gifs and movies (humor). So for those that get notification on space, check your imessage storage.

    Marc Z: if you no longer want your homepod, please, offer? I use as satellite speakers and thought to get some mini’s just to put around the house. Speaking of mini pods, WHY hasn’t Apple offered more colors (like beige/tan/off white, patterned…) ? Someone asleep in home design/marketing group?

    Lastly, I’m a fan of iTunes/Music like most here. I buy CDs when cheap or songs from Apple. I’m disappointed that you can no longer get discounted iTunes/Music/Apple cards any longer. Which is how I would purchase ($100 cards for $80, netting $20 free or so). And when I get songs, I wish Apple would allow scrape of my library to notify me that “artist album/single” is available, AND to consider what others are getting in similar taste. Just because I listen to ProgRock (Yes, Rush, etc), doesn’t mean I won’t listen to George Harrison, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Black Keys, Muse, Sea Wolf or even Glen Campbell. My taste in music is mood, not a specific Genre (but admittedly AltRock if I had one).
    To then buy up Classical catalogs and charge extra? I think Apple is a machine now, really too big, and reading how many are reviewing expenditures on monthly subs… is a sign.

  52. I had to get iCloud+, possibly because I got devices with larger storage, oor possibly because I text a lot of photos and videos to clients. I ended up being just over the 5GB limit, which is where I still am: I am using maybe 15% of the 50GB.

  53. I use iCloud. It’s the only monthly charge on what used to be my iTunes credit card through Barclays. Every month, the $0.99 charge is zeroed out, so I get it for free.

    My wife also has 50 Gb which I pay for.

  54. None.

    I am more or less in agreement with Simon, in that Apple does not provide that much “service”, plus, Apple does not need my monthly money !

    Probably the only thing I would consider at this point might be an “iCloud+” subscription, mainly because this option would provide some privacy and security protections, which are not generally available. This is another annoyance, IMHO, in that I feel that it’s extortion on Apple’s part, to provide these added layers of security (Hide My E-mail, iCloud Private Relay), only at an additional, monthly price. Come on, Apple! I thought Apple was supposed to be dedicated to user-data protections.

  55. If you’re coming close to exceeding the free 5GB on iCloud or you would like access to iCloud+, you do realize that the 1st bump to 50GB and all the iCloud+ features is less than $12/year in the USA.

  56. I have an ancient iCloud account (from the iTools days) and it came to a screeching halt when I tried to subscribe to Apple One. Support couldn’t figure out how to fix it and just reverted me back to iCloud. No One for me!

    I get Music and Arcade for free w my Verizon plan (and Disney+ & Hulu), and those are all things I would never pay for. Just last week I downloaded all my old music that had been matched with iTunes Match to get out of that forever subscription - nearly all of it is in the Music library these days. I rarely use either one, since I’m more of a podcast & audio book person.

    I really dislike News+, since it seems to mostly be the NYT and the ads are really annoying. I get much more tailored news through the rss feeds I follow.

    I do wish the storage price points made more sense, but I guess that’s where the margin is for them to feed the shareholders.

  57. I’d add that I also use iTunes Match. I’m just not sold on streaming music. I get the idea behind it but I only listen to stuff I have already ripped or purchases from iTunes. I’d feel like I’m leasing music I already own.
    I also use Apple TV+, but I’m on the cusp of canceling it. The other streaming services raised their prices too and something has to give. Sorry Apple.
    I’ve always subscribed to the storage for as long as I can remember for my photos (I do a lot of photo editing.) The beauty of it is it doesn’t matter what device I pick up up, my photos are there waiting for me. So for me that’s worth the price.
    As for the rest of the services, I’m not into games. The fitness is a great idea unfortunately for Apple, Nike does it for free. The News sounds like a great idea on paper but feels expensive to me.

  58. You sort of can by purchasing individual services but it’s definitely not as good as it could be. A week after unsubscribing from Apple One Premier the only thing I’ve missed is Apple News+ - primarily because I often read the financial news posted through the Stocks app.

    The issue I have is I can’t get a reduced price individual subscription to News+. It’s the same price whether just for me or my entire family (who don’t ever use it). Similar situation for Apple Music. Both my wife and I used it, but the kids use Spotify (regardless of how much I try to convert them). So I have to pay for a family plan for two people.

    On the other hand we have Arcade which is forced upon us at every plan level. None of the family has ever even looked at Arcade - for mine it should be a separate category. If they replaced Arcade with News+ I’d likely still be subscribed.

    • We use iCloud shared storage and TV+ and Apple Music every day.
    • We each dip into News+ from time to time but typically get our news direct from news media.
    • Arcade I use very rarely, can’t see my lot using it, Nintendo and Steam seem to have that covered.
    • Fitness+ is terrific when I use it, eh, that’s the thing… more a reflection on me than the service.
  59. I do not use any of these Apple services.

    I have no interest in some - for example Apple News is US-centric and I have broader news interests. I have similar disinterest in Apple Fitness.

    I am very reluctant to use iCloud for any reason other than the basics. I have been burnt by Apple iCloud in the past and there’s no way that I will ever use iCloud to do backups. I just don’t think Apple has ever ‘got’ the cloud. Similarly I cannot trust iCloud as a safe haven to store, let alone backup, my photos and vids. I use external drives and online backup services.

    I cannot see any benefits in using Apple Music over better streaming services and internet radio. Besides I can never trust Apple enough to expect it won’t change its service once subscribed. I do use iTunes to buy music but I expect Apple to ditch this service and force the use of Apple Music.

    I use a PC for gaming in part because I don’t see Apple as a gaming platform.

    So I am a no.

  60. I love AppleOne for Family. I use AppleTV+, Apple Music, and the 200GB storage is great - I put my wife’s files there so I don’t have to worry where the backup drive is. I also use Google drive, but iCloud works better, and is more tightly integrated, for me (had lots of compatibility issues with google and had to install/uninstall too many times, it has been stable for about 6 months now though, so I am optimistic).

    It is funny to read about people complaining about price increase, yah who wants that, but it is still a good deal, and increased less than my Netflix account, besides you have to upgrade Netflix to get 4K and atmos which is included in apple One)

    Finally, is everyone else tired of listening to people complaining about unsubstantiated “bugs”. I am in the developer beta program, on Sonoma, iOS 17.2, TVOS 17.2, latest HomePod software, including betas for my minis. I would expect I would see more bugs than others, but no, I do not see many bugs at all. Although as it gets disclosed that companies like Facebook include software that deliberately drains batteries and Crunchyroll that issues its own incompatible non-standard codecs that have limited compatibility, I suspect there are other issues going on.

  61. iCloud password is great. Full stop.

    And considering the vulnerabilities exploited recently in libraries used in 1Password, iCloud is currently the only password manager I use. I would appreciate a secure reliable alternative but haven’t found one yet.

  62. A “good deal” can only be determined by the consumer. If I’m paying for Fitness+ and Arcade which I’ll never use it’s not a good deal.

    There is so much wrong with this statement it’s hard to know where to start. Everyone’s systems are different with different peripherals, people run different software and individuals have differing work procedures. Just because you don’t see a bug doesn’t make it “unsubstantiated”. And where are all these people complaining? If it’s on the beta lists it’s probably for very good reason.

  63. Steve, I have learned that trying to use Apple Music+ without activating the Sync Library setting results in an unacceptably limited experience if you have a Mac and one or more iDevices. Like you, I have a large collection of ripped CD albums (600+) of which many are lossless and have hand-entered metadata and album art that I wish to preserve.

    My solution has been to establish a “local” library for my rips and a “subscribed” library for the Music+ service and switch between the two on my Mac by holding the Option key while launching the Music app. Yes it’s one or the other at a time, but I don’t have the stress of relying on Apple to do the right thing and respect my data.

    That said, I also like the Music+ service and find it a rewarding expansion of my access to music through its deep catalog — far more than I would have via direct purchase only.

  64. I subscribe to iTunes Match - is that an Apple Music sub?

  65. I’ve never subscribed to iTunes Match but a lot of my Library says “Matched”. I can only assume when I had Apple Music it matched everything but has left it there despite having cancelled AM.

  66. AppleTV+ (along with Netflix) is included as part of my Go 5G Next plan from T-Mobile.
    That plan cost $30 more than my previous plan.
    When bundled with T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, I received a $20 discount on T-Mobile 5G Home Internet.
    AppleTV+ and Netflix are worth the extra $10 ;-)

  67. I’ve known about holding Option while launching to select a different library. I have a separate Classical library that I synced with my business’ iPod that I used for hold music. But I never thought to try it to have a separate Apple Music+ Sync Library. I wonder if I can still be logged in to my account on both libraries but only have one of them sync. I guess I can give it a try. I have a backup of my media drive if things go south.

  68. Two other possible solutions:

    Use an old mac for your own music and enable home sharing for that itunes, running any system version you like and that still runs on the old mac. If you don’t have an old box lying around, minis are great for this, and available for cheap. Then use the Music app on your regular mac for streaming Apple Music and home sharing your own. (Or possibly vice versey, but I’m not sure what the oldest version is that supports current Apple Music–el capitan used to, and Sierra still does.)

    Or find the hacks that let you install iTunes on Sonoma with Retroactive, which doesn’t yet work on Sonoma. If you’re still on Ventura or earlier, install itunes with Retroactive directly. Use Music app for the Apple Music and itunes for your own.

    I’ve used both of these ways with various el cap/sierra/catalina boxes, sometimes along with rogue amoeba airfoil for letting a mac be an airtunes receiver, but haven’t on anything newer because I don’t have anything newer. For the second option, I’ve had them both open at once, but not playing at once. Playing to two destinations should work with rogue amoeba soundsource though.

    If you go with the one app / two libraries option, you don’t need to bother with option click. just double click on the library you want, or an alias to the library. (Unless the new systems are even stupider than I’ve come to expect of them…)

  69. So I’m on the AppleOne plan which now costs $38/month. As a family, we really only use AppleTV+, iCloud+ 2TB, and Apple Music (I consult AppleNew although I could do without).

    But there’s no way to save, is there? Just subscribing to these 3 services basically costs $38/month.

  70. I pay for iCloud+, Music, and Fitness+. A quick tally shows that it comes out to roughly $25 a month. For me, that’s a reasonable amount to pay for the value and utility that I get out of those services.

    I signed up for them under the assumption that the prices would increase over time. I haven’t noticed whether the most recent increase affected any of them. If not for seeing discussion of the increase on message boards, I’m not sure I would have known it happened.

    Music is almost indispensable. I have an Individual account. I use it every day, for hours a day. When it launched I assumed I had no need for it because I already had a lifetime of purchases at my disposal. That was a foolish assumption. My library has mushroomed since then.

    Fitness+ is also great. I don’t use it daily. More like a couple of times a week to augment my larger fitness routine. I plan to eventually try to make it more central to the overall routine, and maybe then my opinion of its value will change. For now, though, I think the range of workout types and levels is impressive. It certainly meets my needs. The videos are well-produced and seem, to me, to be plentiful enough not to be repetitious or redundant, but maybe more frequent users would disagree.

  71. I have Apple One and use and enjoy all the services. Well, almost all. I don’t set aside much time to play games but others in my family enjoy the games on Apple Arcade. I find most of the content on Apple TV+ to be interesting, well produced, and enjoyable with more hits than misses for me. Before Apple Music I was spending an order of magnitude more on music annually so it saves me money and lets my try out more music than I would otherwise. Apple Music plays via a HomeKit automation throughout the day on a HomePod and an AirPlay capable Denon receiver with a background music playlist throughout the week and on the weekend a playlist of all the new music I’ve added to the library in the past 6 months. I was skeptical of Apple Fitness but found the short, focused workouts engaging and habit forming as well as being well produced.

  72. I’ve cancelled my Apple Arcade subscription as the kids weren’t using it enough.

    We pay for a months TV+ when there’s something on, but only for a month at a time. It didn’t help that it was almost impossible to find something to watch on it.

    I use a synology NAS for syncing photos between the family so my iCloud storage is now almost entirely iMessages. That also has all my ripped CDs on so no Apple Music. I was tempted by Match when they raised the maximum level, but too many stories of rearranged libraries.

    Apple News I got 10 months free and did use it - but the articles that you get are mostly available free on the publications websites. Too often I’d run into the paywall for the publication anyway. There are also way too many UI annoyances - blocked publications still being shown, promoted stories being irrelevant and days late, too many ads etc.

  73. We as a family use all of it, but not all of us use everything. The kids use music and arcade, but have no use for news yet. My wife and mother use fitness, but I don’t. But I use the storage for more than just photos and phone backups. We all have found something on TV we like (it’s actually consistently solid). So the full package, even with the price hike is still worth it for us.

  74. I will probably subscribe to iCloud+ so that I have enough space to store all my photos. It would be at the 2 TB level, for an individual.

  75. My partner and I were on Apple 1, but the price increases plus nothing great coming soon to Apple TV+ led me to drop back to Apple Music and 200 mb iCloud, saving around $9 Aus a month. We’ve never used Arcade, so with TV going up, the value of Apple1 basic is now poor.

    Never found good value for the cost of Apple News Plus and neither of us can stand the tone and formulaic trainer style of Fitness plus.

  76. Yes, the tone is tough to take at times in Fitness+. I wonder if Apple will come up with options for different cultural values. I value having it handy and everywhere and the basic level is right for me. I’d imagine by the nature of it, formulaic is probably inevitable.

  77. I voted “none”. I bought my first Mac in 1987 and have been on the treadmill ever since. I like Apple hardware and mac/i/tvOS (although I’d prefer a much much much slower major update cycle than annual) but it will be a very cold day in Hell before I send a single $ to Apple for services. I also try to avoid using iCloud to the maximum extent possible.

  78. M C

    Apple should have made the 2 TB default years ago.
    If not, they could have included it with Apple Music or other services as a perk.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum


Avatar for ace Avatar for Simon Avatar for tommy Avatar for mac Avatar for aforkosh Avatar for pmk.46j06 Avatar for gejarrett Avatar for jbgurman Avatar for m.hedley Avatar for jdkw Avatar for jonglass Avatar for pascal.desmond Avatar for IainB Avatar for david.n.watts Avatar for peter6 Avatar for pmvtutor Avatar for chengengaun Avatar for billstanford9 Avatar for ddmiller Avatar for gastropod Avatar for peternlewis Avatar for AlanRalph Avatar for deemery Avatar for trilo