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Apple TV Plus 1-year free trial cuts off the moment you cancel

The offer is "available for a limited time only," and some people are seeing mixed messages.

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Apple TV Plus dropped Friday, and one of the major draws to the streaming service is a one-year free trial if you've bought a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV or Mac since Sept. 10. After that year passes, you'll immediately be charged $5 each month. You'll also lose access to the trial if you cancel before the year is up, as Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman wrote on Twitter.

"You can't reactivate this trial," Apple notes in its TV Plus terms and conditions.

Family Sharing lets up to six relatives share a subscription, but everyone will get cut off immediately if you cancel. So it'd be worth making sure no one has just started The Morning Show or For All Mankind before you decide to jump ship.

It's a pretty standard approach to free trials, and many people will resolve to cancel so they can use the service as much as possible without forking over their hard-earned money. If you want to maximize your time, you'll have to cancel on Oct. 31, 2020 -- Apple will automatically charge you the next day.

Oddly, it seems Apple's "Edit Subscription" page on iOS devices briefly told people their yearlong trial would continue even if they cancelled. The message quickly changed to note that you'd lose access upon canceling.

You have three months to claim the one-year free trial after you activate a new device. If you bought and activated your iPhone 11 before Friday, your three-month time limit starts Nov. 1 (so you have to claim it by Jan. 31, 2020).

Apple also highlights that the offer "is available for a limited time only," so it won't be around forever. It'll likely end after the service's library of shows and movies fills out, but the company didn't offer any details on timing. Additionally, it didn't see whether or not buying a new device after canceling a trial would let you reactivate it.

If you haven't bought a fresh Apple device since Sept. 10, you can still take advantage of some free goodness -- the company made the first two episodes of each show available to watch without signing up and you can get a seven-day free trial in the Apple TV app or on its website. That'll auto-renew into a monthly subscription, so you should decide if the service is worth your $5-a-month before your card is charged.

Originally published Nov. 1, 4:29 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:15 a.m. PT: Notes changing message and highlights free episodes.