Peacemaker trailer Xbox Series X mini fridge The Flash trailer NASA's Lucy launch Apple October event: How to watch PS5 Pro

Apple Arcade: Everything to know about Apple's gaming subscription service

Apple Arcade just had its two-year anniversary. Here's what you need to know about pricing, games, parental controls and more.

apple-arcade-characters

Apple Arcade is Apple's $5 per month mobile gaming subscription service.

Apple

Apple released its mobile gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, in September 2019. Apple Arcade lets you play games across the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices for $5 (£5, AU$8) a month, or $50 annually. 

Apple Arcade lets players download and play games offline (no streaming options, sorry). The service includes a number of Arcade-exclusive games, as well as remastered versions of App Store favorites. In addition to working on multiple devices, Apple Arcade offers support for third-party controllers like the PlayStation DualShock 4 for more varied gameplay.

Here's everything you need to know about Apple Arcade.

What is Apple Arcade?

Apple Arcade is a subscription service of games, curated for users to 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.

At launch, Apple Arcade had just over 60 games for a wide range of players, as well as titles including multiplayer options. But the service recently crossed 200 available games, because Apple adds new ones regularly.

How much does Apple Arcade cost? Does it have a free trial?

Apple Arcade costs $5 for unlimited access after a one-month free trial for first-time subscribers. You won't see ads or pay extra for add-ons or game updates; all that comes with the subscription. A subscription can be shared by up to six family members.

If you buy a new Apple device, you'll get a three-month subscription to Apple Arcade (even if you're already subscribed to the service). Another option is the Apple One subscription bundle, which launched last year. Apple One makes it easier and more affordable to get up to six Apple subscription services, Apple Arcade included, for one price. In May, the service teamed up with Verizon to offer a free year-long subscription with unlimited plans.

What games are available on Apple Arcade?

Since launch, Apple Arcade has amassed almost 220 games, with new games added almost every week. (You can check out a full, regularly updated list of the games on the service here.) Some of the top games, according to the Apple Arcade landing page in the App Store, include NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, Lego Star Wars Battles, Sneaky Sasquatch and Angry Birds Reloaded

lego-star-wars-battles

Lego Star Wars Battles is available to play on Apple Arcade. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Apple Arcade splits its catalog up into categories similarly to other game subscription services -- action, adventure, casual, family, RPG and more. You can also delve deeper into categories like Arcade Originals -- games exclusive to Apple Arcade. Some exclusive titles include Alto's Odyssey: The Lost CityCastlevania: Grimoire of Souls, Star Trek: Legends and Fantasian

You can also explore Timeless Classics and App Store Greats. These games are already available in the App Store, but in Apple Arcade, they have new content, and are free of paywalls and ads. These categories include games like Solitaire, Mahjong Titan, Fruit Ninja Classic, Monument Valley and more.

Which devices can I use to play Apple Arcade games?

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.

Does Apple Arcade offer any parental controls, screen time monitors or privacy protection?

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. 

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. 

alba-1

Apple Arcade houses plenty of family-friendly games, like Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. 

Apple

And your privacy is safe on Apple Arcade. Before you download a game on Apple Arcade, you can scroll down to App Privacy to see the developer's privacy policy and any data that might be collected when you play. For example, Sneaky Sasquatch says it might collect usage data, but it's not connected to your identity. You can look for individual permissions that give you control over what personal information you share with whom.

What else is Apple doing with Arcade?

In addition to hosting the service, Apple says it's helping with the development costs of games and working with developers to bring their games to the service.

How do I cancel Apple Arcade?

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.

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 cancelation. 

apple-arcade-ipados-games-juegos

Apple Arcade works on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Mac.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

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.