In the wee hours of Nov. 1, Apple opened the doors to Apple TV Plus, its brand-new streaming service stocked with original programs. But multiple customers on social media have complained that they’re seeing error messages when they try to redeem the one-year free offer Apple has extended to buyers of new devices.
In trying to sign in to Apple TV Plus, users have reported seeing error messages including “Your account is temporarily unavailable” or “You are not qualified for the hardware offer” — even if they’ve bought a brand-new iPhone 11, which began shipping Sept. 20.
Here’s the way to solve the issue, as first reported by tech site MacRumors.com: Users should visit the website tv.apple.com and log in using their Apple ID user name and password. The free 12-month Apple TV Plus subscription offer should be available. After accepting the offer, users should return to their iPhone, sign out of the Apple TV app (and close it) then relaunch the app and sign in again.
That solution worked for Houston Chronicle technology editor Dwight Silverman, although in a tweet he noted that he had to use Apple’s Safari browser to log in to the Apple TV Plus website after he received an error message using Google’s Chrome.
In addition, Apple says customers who are eligible for the one-year-free deal must have their devices updated with the latest versions of software.
At launch, Apple TV Plus is available in over 100 countries and regions, priced at $4.99 per month and free for 12 months with the purchase (as of Sept. 10 or later) of any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch.
Apple TV Plus allows users to download episodes or films to watch offline, and the subscription includes access for up to six family members (and up to six simultaneous streams). Each family member can watch with their own Apple ID on their own device, without the need to share login credentials.
The offer is available to Apple customers who purchase Any new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac capable of running the latest iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, or macOS purchased after Sept. 10, 2019, from Apple or an Apple authorized reseller. Customers have up to three months after first setting up their device to claim the offer.
On Apple’s earnings call Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook was asked about Apple’s rationale for giving away the subscription VOD service free for a year. “It’s a gift to our users,” Cook responded. “We’re really proud of the content. We’d like as many people as possible to view it. And so this allows us to focus on maximizing subscribers, particularly in the early going.”
Apple is premiering nine originals on Apple TV Plus when the service launches, and early reviews of some of the shows have been tepid.
The lineup includes “The Morning Show,” a drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and starring Steve Carell; “See,” a drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humanity; “Dickinson,” starring Hailee Steinfeld as a young Emily Dickinson in a coming-of-age comedy; and “For All Mankind,” an alternate-history series from Ronald D. Moore in which the Russia-U.S. space race never ended.
Apple TV Plus can be accessed on the company’s Apple TV set-top (third generation), Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD; Macs running the latest version of macOS; tv.apple.com in a Safari, Firefox, or Chrome web browser; and on the Apple TV app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch; most Roku devices; certain Amazon Fire TV models; and recent Samsung smart TV models.