Your guide to a better future
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Apple’s mobile gaming service before you subscribe.
Apple Arcade is a $5-a-month mobile gaming subscription service. We’ll break down everything you need to know before signing up.
Apple joined the mobile gaming world in 2019 with the release of Apple Arcade. The tech giant’s gaming subscription service gives customers access to hundreds of games to play across the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices for $5 (£5, AU$8) a month or $50 annually.
Apple Arcade’s catalog is curated for users to easily browse instead of trying to navigate the App Store’s thousands of games and apps. Apple said that’s part of why it created Arcade, which it calls the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room.
Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Arcade.
Yes, first-time subscribers get a one-month free trial. The offer stands for three months after you activate your device. If you have an Apple One free trial, Apple Arcade (if you chose that as part of your bundle) will also have a free trial. If you recently purchased a new Apple device, you can redeem a three-month free trial of the service. The offer is valid for 93 days after setting up your new device.
After your free trial, Apple Arcade costs $5 a month for unlimited access to its game selection. The subscription fee covers every game and update that Apple Arcade releases — even if it’s already available in the App Store. You also don’t have to worry about in-app purchases.
Apple Arcade houses hundreds of games and continues to expand its offerings. The platform also overhauled its landing page last April to better categorize its games into Arcade Originals, Timeless Classics and App Store Greats.
The subscription service spans genres like action, adventure, strategy, puzzle, RPG and more. Check out our more specific game genre lists:
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is one of my favorite Apple Arcade games.
Apple Arcade adds new games, as well as updates to current games every week. We frequently update our “coming soon” article so you can keep tabs on what’s coming out next.
The service temporarily added a Leaving Arcade Soon category in July and removed 15 games shortly after. Apple Arcade has removed titles before the category appeared and will likely continue to rotate content. According to Apple’s support page, if you download a game before it leaves Arcade, you can play the game for at least two weeks after. After that time, if you try to launch the downloaded game, you’ll receive a No Longer Available message.
You can play Apple Arcade games on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Macs and Apple TV devices. You can find the Apple Arcade tab in the App Store. Just click the little joystick icon to get started.
Yes, Apple Arcade offers support for third-party controllers like the PlayStation DualShock 4 for more varied gameplay.
Playing Shinsekai Into the Depths with an Xbox One controller.
Yes, you can share your Arcade subscription with up to six family members in your Family Sharing Group.
A majority of Apple Arcade’s games are family-friendly, but you can always check the individual game’s age rating or search under the Family category.
While Apple Arcade has a solid selection of games for kids, most of the titles on the service are family friendly.
As far as screen time monitors, you can adjust this in your device settings. Simply open the Settings app and tap Screen Time. From there you can customize your device generally, or more specifically for games. To focus on Apple Arcade games, tap App Limits > Add Limit > Games. From there, just choose which games you want to set time limits on. Tap Next, set the time limit and tap Add. Whoever is playing will get a notification five minutes before the cutoff time.
Apple says Apple Arcade games can’t collect any data about you and can’t track information about how you play the game without your consent. Look for individual permissions that give you control over what personal information you share with whom.
That’s ultimately up to you to decide. If you’re more of a console gamer and enjoy games like Call of Duty, Apple Arcade might not be for you. If you enjoy a more casual experience, or want the most mobile gaming bang for your buck, Apple Arcade is definitely worth checking out.
CNET included Apple Arcade among its Editors’ Choice Award winners in 2021. For the price of one console game per year, subscribers get access to a suite of diverse titles new and old that are consistently updated. Games can be downloaded and played offline as well. The value increased for me when Apple began providing titles that were already available in the App Store with new content, as well as no ads or in-app purchases.
The service has also started adding bigger titles and more social games, which was on our wish list at launch.
Since launch, Apple Arcade has added larger titles like NBA 2K21 and NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition to its catalog.
To cancel your subscription on iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:
1. Open the App Store.
2. Tap the profile icon, and enter your Apple ID if requested.
3. Tap Manage Subscriptions.
4. Tap Apple Arcade.
5. Tap Cancel Free Trial or Cancel Subscription.
6. Confirm cancellation.
To cancel on Mac, follow these steps:
1. Open the App Store app.
2. Click on your profile icon.
3. Click View Information.
4. Click Manage.
5. Click Apple Arcade in the active subscriptions list.
6. Choose Cancel Free Trial or Cancel Subscription.
7. Confirm selection.
To cancel on Apple TV, follow these steps:
1. Open the Settings app on the Apple TV.
2. Select Users and Accounts and choose your account.
3. Enter your Apple ID password.
4. Select Apple Arcade.
5. Choose either Cancel Free Trial or Cancel Subscription.
6. Confirm your selection.
Cliff Colby contributed to this article.