What you need to know about free trials in the iOS App Store

Trying out an app before committing to paying for it is awesome. But there are a few things to keep in mind.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Apple recently highlighted in its App Store a selection of apps that offered free trial subscriptions. For a set period of time, you could use the app, free of charge, before being charged the monthly or yearly subscription. It's a convenient way to try apps and then decide if they're worth paying for. 

Watch this: Apple's App Store gets a makeover

Not all apps you try out, however, are going to make the cut. Here are a few things to keep in mind about free trials:

  • The developer sets the trial length. A prompt during the sign-up process will let you know just how long that is.
  • Once the trial is over, the App Store will automatically charge your Apple ID's default payment method.
  • Going forward, the subscription will autorenew based on the app's subscription model. For example, 1Password offers a yearly subscription, whereas Panna offers monthly and annual subscriptions.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Should you try an app that you decide you don't want to pay for, you can cancel the free trial at any time. You'll need to follow the instructions laid out in this CNET post. The process amounts to opening the Settings app then selecting your name > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > View Apple ID > Subscriptions. Next, select the app you want to cancel a subscription to and follow the prompts.

The best part? Your free trial doesn't end the second you cancel it. You can continue to use the trial until your renewal date, and if you change your mind, sign back up for the paid subscription.

According to Apple, if you decide to cancel a free or discounted subscription, it's best to do so more than 24 hours before your renewal date, because otherwise you could still be charged.