Not everyone knows how to use an iTunes gift card.
It all depends on which gift card you’ve received. The good news is that Apple credit is often versatile and thus you can use it for all sorts of purchases, from apps and music to subscriptions and accessories.
Here’s a guide to what you can spend each gift card on. We also have a few recommendations for items you might want to pick up.
Which Apple Gift Card Do You Have?
There are three types of gift cards sold by Apple: iTunes, Apple Music, and Apple Store. These cards are only valid for redemption in the same country they were purchased in. So a US gift card will only work on the US iTunes Store, in a US retail location, or an online outlet.
You can use an iTunes gift card only for buying software, music, and other similar downloadable products. Think of it as credit for virtual products. iTunes gift cards credit the iTunes account associated with your Apple ID, and can be used for in-app purchases.
Apple Music gift cards are only valid to redeem an Apple Music subscription. These cards come in three and 12-month flavors. When the gift card runs out, your account will be charged as normal unless you turn off auto-renewal in your Apple Music settings.
An Apple Store gift card is only good on Apple’s website, over the phone, or in a physical retail location. You can redeem one for 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 via the code on the back.
What Can You Buy With 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.
A New iPhone, iPad, or Mac
Even if your gift card doesn’t cover the cost of a new Apple gadget, you can use the balance towards any purchase. That means a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other pricey Apple product will be cheaper if you use your Apple Store credit.
The iPhone XS and XS Max offer a performance leap over last year’s model. A new MacBook Pro is expensive, but a gift card can help make the price less eye-watering. You can also pick up the AirPods and Beats X wireless headphones at your local Apple Store.
If you’ve been considering a big purchase for a while, an Apple Store gift card might be the perfect excuse to go ahead with it.
Get an Apple Watch
The latest Apple watch is available in Wi-Fi and cellular versions, depending on your budget. Having Siri on your wrist is super-useful, and built-in GPS lets you track physical activity and workouts. Despite this, many are unsure when to pull the trigger and buy one.
Starting at $399, the Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t cheap. But it might not seem so expensive 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.
If you’re on the fence, check out our Apple Watch Series 4 review.
Consider an Apple TV 4K
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 unit is 4K-ready, and so are many of your existing iTunes purchases. If you have a 4K TV, why not accessorize?
Starting at $179 for the 32GB model (which is plenty for most users), a new Apple TV is a great addition to your living room.
Or Buy Accessories
Apple stocks its stores not only with iPhones and Macs, but many first and third-party accessories too. This includes audio accessories like the Beats Studio3 wireless headphones and Bose SoundLink Micro speaker. You’ll also find also useful Mac accessories like the Magic TrackPad 2 and fancy MacBook stands.
Also for sale are game controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus and PXN Speedy, which work with iOS, macOS, and tvOS (Apple TV) devices.
Other cheaper purchases include a huge selection of iPhone cases, rugged charger cables, flash drives designed specifically for iOS devices, USB battery chargers, and more.
Also Consider: AppleCare
If you recently received a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or similarly valuable piece of hardware, you can visit an Apple Store or go online and enroll in AppleCare. Best of all, you can use your gift card towards the purchase.
While the exact policy and price differ depending on the device you buy it for, it’s a pretty worthwhile investment—particularly for iPhone owners.
What Can You Buy With iTunes Gift Cards?
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 subtract from that balance. You can redeem iTunes credit using an iOS device, or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.
Redeem on an iPhone or iPad:
- Launch the App Store.
- Tap on your user icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Tap Redeem Gift Card or Code to redeem by scanning the barcode or entering your code manually.
Redeem via iTunes for Mac or Windows:
- Launch iTunes and choose Music, Apps, or Films from the dropdown in the top-left.
- Click on the Store tab and scroll to the bottom of the page.
- Under the Manage heading, click Redeem.
Buy iOS or tvOS Apps and 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, you can make in-app purchases using iTunes credit too.
Looking for some fun games to buy?
- Hitman Sniper ($1) provides one of the best sniping experiences on iOS, complete with 150 missions to tackle.
- 2017’s Monument Valley 2 ($5) is still worth playing for its soothing illusionary puzzles.
- Million Onion Hotel ($4) is a frantic spin on the whack-a-mole theme, and it’s absolutely worth your time.
You may also want to use your credit to grab some genuinely useful apps.
- CARROT Weather ($5) is a hyper-local weather forecast bot that’s built on Easter eggs and snark.
- Tweetbot 5 ($5) is the best Twitter app you can buy.
- The original Facetune ($4) is an awesome app to tweak your selfies.
Buy Mac Apps and Games
iTunes credit also works on the Mac App Store. The apps 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 but don’t fancy Adobe’s subscription model, Affinity Photo ($50) is modestly priced and sufficiently powerful.
We usually recommend you avoid buying games from the Mac App Store, but the selection has certainly grown over the last year or two.
Apple’s Mac game of the year is a moving puzzler with an excellent score called The Gardens Between ($15). Also worth your time is Mini Metro ($10), a fun strategy puzzler about managing public transportation infrastructure. The legendary Civilization VI ($60) is a good pick for strategy fans.
Music, Movies, and TV
You can also buy media on iTunes, which is all the service sold when it was established. It’s easy to buy albums from your favorite artists, or even use your iTunes credit towards an Apple Music subscription (just be aware of the automatic payments when the credit expires).
If you prefer, you can also buy or rent movies and TV programs; the latter 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 e-reader, you can also use iTunes credit in the Apple Books store on either a mobile device or Mac computer. That includes graphic novels, nonfiction, and interactive books, but not necessarily audiobooks. (You can find those in the regular iTunes store, alongside music and TV.)
How to Use an iTunes Gift Card Wisely
Providing that you don’t want to sell your gift card for real currency, an Apple Store gift card can bring an expensive new gadget within reach of your budget, when paired with these Apple hardware discounts you should take advantage of. The best aspect of 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.