Each of us has so much on our minds these days that it is easy to forget things. Especially when it comes to money being spent. You subscribe to something, it slips your mind, and your credit card keeps getting continually billed as a result. It happens to all of us at one time or another.
That is why it pays to keep track of your subscriptions and keep a close watch on when they expire. You should also be constantly evaluating whether or not to keep a subscription going. While a lot of iOS subscriptions are yearly, a lot are also month-to-month.
This means if you are having cashflow problems, switching off monthly subscriptions could save you a nice chunk of change. Especially when some are charging $100 each week.
What Do We Mean By a Subscription?
Before we go into how to cancel a subscription, perhaps we should clarify what a subscription is first. A subscription to what exactly?
One of the great things about tablets, and to a lesser extent smartphones, is that you can read newspapers and magazines on them. Instead of buying the print version and then throwing it out (which doesn’t do the environment any good), you can get the digital version instead.
This has lots of upsides to it. Mainly the convenience of having it on your tablet to read at anytime. Plus not having to go out in the rain to the shops to buy the print version. You can stay at home in your underpants eating Pringles, and wait for it to be wirelessly delivered to you.
Subscribing Directly With The Company Versus Subscribing Via Apple
There is a big difference though between subscribing to a digital publication via the publisher, and subscribing via Apple. This is an important distinction, and one that not many people grasp.
A lot of publications, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Empire movie magazine, Cosmopolitan, etc, offer package deals where you can get the print version AND the digital version. I have never understood the logic of this. Why do you need both?
Anyway, if you do the deal through the publisher directly, you just need to download the iOS app. The publisher will then give you a login to access the digital version on your iOS device. This means that when you want to cancel, you have to do it with them.
But if you download the iOS app, and then buy an “in-app” subscription via Apple, cancellation has to be done via Apple.
It’s Not Just Newspapers & Magazines Though
It’s not just newspapers and magazines though which are subject to subscriptions. Software could have pro upgrades, which you have to pay annual fees for. Evernote is a good example. Games are another good example.
These days, most publishers and developers offer pro subscriptions to something. It pays the bills and puts food on the table.
The Two Ways To Cancel iOS Subscriptions
So what if you need to pay your bills, and you can’t afford your iOS subscriptions anymore? How do you cancel them? It’s not as if Apple has a customer support hotline you can phone up…
There are two cancellation methods. Thankfully, both of them are very easy and straightforward. You just have to know the right place to look.
The iTunes Method
The easiest method is on your Mac, PC, or laptop. Easy in terms of having a bigger screen and a proper keyboard to navigate your way around.
Open up iTunes, and click on the App Store heading at the top of the page. Then look down to your right and you will see an “Account” link. Click on that.
You will be asked to sign in to access your account. Sometimes you will be asked to also verify the secret number on the back of the registered credit card. That doesn’t happen very often, but Apple does randomly ambush you with that.
You will then see your account details. Obviously there is sensitive information on this page, so apologies for the CIA-like redactions on the screenshot!
Scroll down until you come to the “Settings” section. There, you will see a sub-section called “Subscriptions“. Click on the “Manage” link on the right of it.
You’ve now reached your destination. The subscriptions page. Here, you will see all of your subscriptions, along with “edit” links and expiry/renewal dates.
So let’s just say for a moment I was tired of Macworld, and I wanted rid of it. I would first click “Edit“. You will then be taken to the relevant subscription page with all of its details.
If you wanted to change the subscription from yearly to monthly, then choose which one you want. Then click “done” at the bottom. It will ask you to confirm your choice first before you can leave the page.
Or if you want to cancel the subscription entirely, click “cancel subscription“. In both cases, you will see the following message.
This means I have currently paid until June 22nd 2018 (it’s an annual subscription). So I will continue to get the issues until then, whereupon it will not renew.
It would be the same if it was a monthly subscription. You would continue to get all issues up to the point where you have paid. THEN it stops. Apple does not do retroactive refunds in these situations.
Obviously the process is reversible if you win the lottery and decide to continue the subscription. Just go back in, choose your subscription method and confirm. You will then be resubscribed.
The iPhone / iPad Method
What if you are not home and nowhere near a Mac or PC? You might be on the bus or sitting in a doctor’s office and suddenly remember that your subscription to Leather Skateboarder is about to renew.
Can it be done on an iOS device? Yes. You just need to know where to look because Apple has tucked it away. Bear in mind that I am using the iOS 11 beta at the moment. Your settings screen may differ slightly if you are using an earlier operating system.
Go to Settings–>iTunes & App Stores. Tap on your Apple ID.
That brings up a box with several options. Choose “View Apple ID”.
The password box will pop up. Enter your login details, and when the following screen appears, scroll right to the very bottom, and choose “Subscriptions“.
As you have probably guessed well in advance, this is where you will now see your subscriptions. Tap on the one you want to amend.
Using our Macworld example again, you will see details of the subscription. Either switch to another subscription model or tap “Cancel Subscription” to nuke it entirely.
Reading on a tablet is great fun, but getting huge recurring bills is definitely not. So make a point of checking your subscriptions on a regular basis. It may be a pain in the rear having to constantly check, but would you prefer a huge bill instead?
Let us know in the comments whether or not you have been unexpectedly stung by a recurring iOS subscription bill.