Apple Arcade for iPhone: Sign up and play on the new game service

Once you’ve grabbed iOS 13, you’re ready to sign up and start playing games on Apple’s new gaming service.

Clifford Colby Managing Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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Clifford Colby
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This story is part of CNET's coverage of Apple Arcade, including exclusive first looks we got at some of the service's high-profile new games. 

With all the hoopla over the new iPhones' cameras and battery life, price and midnight green color, perhaps it's easy to overlook Apple Arcade. Cameras come and go, but over the next two years, it's Apple's subscription gaming service that could become your iPhone's most valuable feature. 

Available today for Apple devices running iOS 13, Apple Arcade will give you unlimited access to 100 exclusive and new games for $4.99 a month. Apple's gaming service will be available Sept. 24 on iPadOS, Sept. 30 on TVOS 13 devices and then sometime in October for MacOS Catalina. A monthly subscription covers six family members, and it comes with a free, one-month trial.

With Arcade, you will be able to download and play games on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices. And Apple said some Arcade games will support controllers -- including Xbox Wireless Controllers with Bluetooth, PlayStation DualShock 4 and MFi game controllers.

Here's how to set up  Apple Arcade  on your iPhone.

Apple Arcade: 50 of our favorite games so far

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How to sign up for Apple Arcade

Once you've installed iOS 13, grab your Apple ID (you can find it in your iCloud or iTunes & App Store settings) and then you're ready to set up Apple Arcade.

1. Head to the App Store on your iPhone.


Tap the Arcade tab to get going.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

2. Near the bottom right, tap the Arcade tab. You should see a message saying you can play for free for a month.

3. Tap the Try It Free button.

4. If you've not signed in yet, sign in with your Apple ID. 

5. Tap Confirm to start your one-month trial. 

Apple Arcade will automatically charge you after the trial period ends, but you can cancel it in your App Store account the day before renewal if you decide to back out (setting yourself a calendar reminder might help). To cancel, tap the account icon in the top right of any App Store window. Then tap Subscriptions, tap Apple Arcade and then tap Cancel Free Trial to end your subscription.

6. If prompted, enter your Apple ID password to confirm you want to start the one-month trial and then tap Sign In.


Decide how often you want to enter your password.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

7. If it asks, choose when you want to require a password for additional purchases.

8. Tap OK to accept Apple's media service terms and then tap Agree.

9. You may need to confirm your credit card information. If asked, click Continue to be taken to Settings, where you can confirm or update your payment info. You may need to repeat a few steps after you confirm your info.

Watch this: Apple Arcade exclusive preview: The Enchanted World

How to play games on Apple Arcade

Once you've signed up for the free one-month trial, you can start playing. Apple expects the Apple Arcade catalog to exceed 100 games as it introduces new titles over the coming weeks, with additional games coming each month. 


Tap See All Games to check out all you can play in Apple Arcade.

Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

1. To find a game: Either scroll through Apple's highlights in the main Arcade window or scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and tap See All Games.

2. Once you find a game to play, tap Get to the right of the game's name. 

3. After Arcade downloads the game to your phone, tap Play.

4. If prompted, you can sign in to Game Center -- Apple's multiplayer gaming service -- and pick an avatar and nickname. You can also tap Not Now to bypass Game Center.

5. That's all! Get playing!

For more on Apple Arcade, check out our running list of announced games and why the service is a must-try for one Android user.