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Snagged an Apple Store, iTunes or Apple Music gift card this holiday season? You might be wondering exactly what you can buy with it.

This of course depends on exactly which gift card you’ve received. Apple’s credit is versatile for several things. Here’s a guide to what each gift card can be used for. We also have a few recommendations for things you might want to pick up.

Which Gift Card Do You Have?

There are three types of gift card sold by Apple: iTunes, Apple Music, and Apple Store. These cards can only be redeemed in the same country they were purchased in. So, a U.S. gift card will only work on the U.S. iTunes Store, or in a U.S. retail location, or an online outlet.

An iTunes gift card can only be used for buying software, music, and other similar downloadable products. Think of it as Apple’s credit for virtual products. iTunes gift cards credit the iTunes account associated with your Apple ID, and can be used against in-app purchases.

Apple Music gift cards can only be used to redeem an Apple Music subscription. They’re only available for three and twelve month purchases. When your gift card runs out your account will be charged as normal, unless you turn off auto-renewal in your Apple Music settings.

The Apple Store gift card is only good on Apple’s own website, over the phone, or in a physical retail location. It can be used against any purchase in-store, whether it’s Apple hardware, a third-party accessory, or boxed software. You can use it online or over the phone by quoting the code on the back.

Spending Apple Store Gift Cards

You don’t need to “redeem” an Apple Store gift card, just spend it at a store like cash. Unless specified, there’s no expiry date on an Apple Store gift card. Here are a few ideas for spending your store credit.

apple store giftcard

A New iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Even if your gift card doesn’t cover the cost of a new Apple gadget, you can use your credit against any purchase. That means a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other pricey Apple product will be cheaper if you use your Apple Store credit against it.

iphone 7 plus back

The new iPhone 7 is great iPhone 7 Plus Review iPhone 7 Plus Review This year's iPhone 7 models break with convention. For the first time ever Apple has opted for the same general design three years in a row, while introducing some divisive, but long-overdue features. Read More  and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can help you get real work done Can the iPad Pro Replace Your Laptop? Can the iPad Pro Replace Your Laptop? The iPad Pro can do a lot, but can it do enough to completely replace the humble laptop? That depends. Read More . Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is so pricey that a gift card is almost a pre-requisite to make the price less eye-watering. If you’ve been considering a big purchase for a while, an Apple Store gift card might be the perfect excuse to go right ahead.

Get an Apple Watch

The new Apple Watch is waterproof to 50 meters Apple Watch Series 2 Review Apple Watch Series 2 Review It's Apple's busiest time of year. Not only have we had a brand new iPhone, iOS 10 and macOS Sierra; the Apple Watch has had an update too. Read More , twice as bright as its predecessor, and slots gracefully into everyday life. Siri on your wrist is super-useful and it’s a powerful tool for tracking physical activity and workouts. Despite all this many users are unsure when to pull the trigger and buy one.

apple watch s2 wearing

Starting at $369, the Apple Watch Series 2 isn’t cheap. It’s also not that expensive, especially if you’ve got a nice discount courtesy of an Apple Store gift card. Maybe you’ve already got an Apple Watch, and want to buy a new band to replace your old one? You can use your gift card for that too.

Consider an Apple TV

Looking for a media streamer, set top box, or way to watch content from your iOS or macOS devices on your TV? Maybe you want to use AirPlay to send music to your digital receiver? The latest Apple TV improves on the older model Apple TV 2015 Review Apple TV 2015 Review With competition from Google's Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV reaching fever pitch, can Cupertino still hold its own in the battle for the space under your TV? Read More in leaps and bounds, complete with rechargeable slimline remote and its own App Store.

apple tv design

Starting at $149 for the 32 GB model (which is plenty for most users), a new Apple TV is a great addition to any 1080p setup Still Unsure If You Need an Apple TV? Here’s What It Can Do Still Unsure If You Need an Apple TV? Here’s What It Can Do On the fence about what seems like yet another expensive Apple purchase? Check out what you can do with an Apple TV and decide for yourself. Read More . Just be aware that there’s no 4K version available yet.

Or Buy Accessories

Most of what Apple sells in its physical and online retail stores is third party accessories. This includes headphones and speakers, like the new Beats Solo3 with W1 chip ($300) and Bose SoundLink II ($130) Bluetooth speaker. You can get Mac accessories like the Magic Trackpad 2 ($130) or a keyboard cover for your MacBook Pro ($25).

magic trackpad 2

Also, for sale are game controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus and PXN Speedy iOS Gamepad Shootout: GameVice, PXN Speedy & SteelSeries Nimbus iOS Gamepad Shootout: GameVice, PXN Speedy & SteelSeries Nimbus It's taken a while (nearly two years, to be exact) but the iPhone and iPad are finally getting some quality gaming peripherals. We took three of the best, and put each to the test. Read More  which work with iOS, Mac, and tvOS (Apple TV) devices. If you’re low on space and considering a more utilitarian purchase, grab a hard drive like the LaCie 4 TB rugged Thunderbolt ($380) or maybe something a little cheaper.

Other cheaper purchases include a huge selection of iPhone cases, rugged charger cables 7 Great Lightning Cables To Charge Your iPhone Or iPad 7 Great Lightning Cables To Charge Your iPhone Or iPad One of the most common problems faced by iPhone and iPad owners is a frayed and unusable Lightning connector. Surely there must be tougher, more ruggedized aftermarket options available? Read More , flash drives designed specifically for iOS devices, USB battery chargers Best Pokemon Go Power Bank Best Pokemon Go Power Bank Pokemon Go beats the heck out of a phone's battery. Squeezing a bit more Pokemon-catching juice out of your phone requires a power bank. But what's the best battery out there? Read More , and more.

Also Consider: Apple Care

If you recently received a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or similarly pricey piece of hardware, you can visit an Apple Store and pick up AppleCare AppleCare: What Are Your Options & Is It Really Worth It? AppleCare: What Are Your Options & Is It Really Worth It? High customer satisfaction ratings and a large network of stores capable of performing certain repairs on-site give AppleCare the edge over the average warranty - but are the benefits really worth the price? Read More . Best of all you can use your gift card against the purchase. Though the policy and price differs depending on the device you’re buying it for, it’s a pretty worthwhile investment particularly for iPhone owners.

Using Your iTunes Credit

To use an iTunes Gift card, you’ll first need to redeem it. Once you’ve redeemed the credit, it’s added to your iTunes account and can’t be transferred. Any purchases you make will be subtracted from that balance. You can redeem iTunes credit using an iOS device or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

itunes gift card single

Redeem on an iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. On the Featured tab scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Redeem.
  3. Tap Use Camera to redeem by scanning the barcode, or enter your code manually using the option at the bottom of the page.

Redeem via iTunes for Mac or Windows

  1. Launch iTunes and choose MusicApps, or Films from the drop-down in the top left.
  2. Click on the Store tab and scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Under the Manage heading, click Redeem.

You can check your balance too. On an iPhone scroll to the bottom of the Featured tab and your balance will appear alongside your Apple ID. On iTunes for Mac or Windows, you’ll find it in the top-right corner of the Store tab.

Buy iOS or tvOS Apps & Games

Perhaps the most common use for iTunes credit these days is to buy mobile apps and games. Considering the relatively low cost of items on the App Store, your credit will likely last you a while. As previously mentioned, in-app purchases can be made using iTunes credit too.

If you’re looking for some fun games to play now, Super Mario Run (free, $9.99 to unlock) is a good place to start. Reigns ($2.99) is a cheeky roguelike adventure game of swiping left and right, perfect for quick blasts on your iPhone. Hitman GO ($1.99) is another must-play mobile game, especially if you’re a fan of the console titles.

You may also want to use your credit against some genuinely useful apps. Ulysses ($24.99) is the gold standard of iOS word processors Word Processing On Your iPad? We Compare The Best Apps Word Processing On Your iPad? We Compare The Best Apps If you've got some words to be processing on your iPad, we've got the apps to help you do it. Read More , and a gift card would probably help take the sting out of its high-ticket price. CARROT Weather ($5.99) is a hyperlocal weather forecast bot that’s built on Easter eggs and snark. Tweetbot 4 ($9.99) is probably the best Twitter app you can buy, while Reeder 3 ($4.99) is the ultimate iOS RSS reader.

Buy Mac Apps & Games

iTunes credit also works on the Mac App Store. The apps and games you’ll find there are quite a bit more expensive than their mobile counterparts. But as they are more powerful, you can get real work done.

You might be able to get a nice discount on Apple’s pro-level video editor Final Cut Pro ($300) to bring it within your price range. If you’re looking for a good image editor The Best Free & Paid Image Editors for Mac OS X The Best Free & Paid Image Editors for Mac OS X We thought it was about time we compiled a list of our favourite raster image editors for Mac OS X. Read More but don’t fancy Adobe’s subscription model, Affinity Photo ($40) is modestly priced and sufficiently powerful. Or if you’re looking for a text editor to get some serious blogging done, Desk 3.0 ($14.99) won’t break the bank.

We usually recommend you avoid buying games from the Mac App Store Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store The Mac App Store doesn't hold a candle to the same store used by iPhone and iPad users to guzzle apps, games and in-app purchases. Read More , but the selection has certainly grown over the last year or two. If you’re one for narrative-driven first person mysteries, you can’t go wrong with the beautiful Firewatch ($20) which is worth every penny. Mini Metro ($9.99) is a fun strategy puzzler about managing real life public transport infrastructure, while Steamworld Heist ($30) is a turn-based tactical shootout game with a bit of a twist.

Music, Movies, TV

You can also buy media on iTunes, which is what the service sold when it was first established. Buy albums from your favorite artists, or even use your iTunes credit against an Apple Music subscription (just be aware you’ll have to cough up yourself when the credit expires).

itunes card

You can also choose to buy or rent movies and TV programs, the latter of which is much cheaper. Once you’ve redeemed an iTunes gift card, you can also use it to buy content via your Apple TV.

Don’t Forget Books

If you use your iPhone or iPad as an eReader, you can also use iTunes credit in the iBooks Store on both a mobile device or Mac computer. That includes graphic novels, non-fiction, interactive books, but not necessarily audiobooks (you can find those in the regular iTunes store alongside music and TV though).

Struggling to find something to read? We’ve got a few tips to help you find something that interests you The Ultimate 50 Ways to Find New Books to Read The Ultimate 50 Ways to Find New Books to Read There are some books which we don't want to put down. Thanks to the many tools available today, your next reading adventure can begin instantly. Find what you should read next with this guide. Read More .

Spend Wisely

iTunes credit is one of the many ways to give the gift of entertainment 10 Ways to Give the Gift of Entertainment This Christmas 10 Ways to Give the Gift of Entertainment This Christmas In this article we explore all kinds of gift cards, subscriptions, and gadgets that let you give the gift of entertainment. As a bonus, most of them work perfectly as last-minute gifts! Read More , while an Apple Store gift card can bring a pricey new gadget within reach of your budget. The best thing about Apple’s credit is that it’s so versatile. If you want to buy a few iPhone apps, rent a movie, and start an Apple Music subscription, go for it.

So, what will you be spending your Apple and iTunes gift cards on this year? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. michaele
    June 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Can you use an iTunes card for calling people on cellphones

  2. Dynamo
    May 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    The iPhone 7 plus in one of the pictures is fake. It has FCC labels which nowadays those are only needed in China

    • Tim Brookes
      May 19, 2017 at 3:21 am

      That's not true, I took the picture myself for our iPhone 7 Plus review. Also I'm holding the pictured phone in my hand right now.