How to gift an iTunes movie, TV show or album

Sure, you could just get gift cards. But for a more personal touch, you can choose a particular movie, TV show, album or book.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

During this festive holiday season, you can always send an iTunes gift card to a loved one. But wouldn't it be more heartfelt to send that person one of his or her favorite movies, TV shows or albums? You can do just that through the iTunes Gift option.

Apple offers physical gift cards that you can find at Apple stores as well as other retail outlets. You can also send a gift card via email. Through a gift card, you're essentially telling someone: "I don't really know what you like, so just go buy anything on iTunes." But for someone close to you and whose tastes in music and TV and movies you may know, why not buy an actual item?

You can gift an app if you know what types of software your recipient likes. That process is covered in a CNET story called "How to gift an app from the App Store." But what if you want to gift a movie, TV show or other piece of content in iTunes? Let's see how that works.

You can gift an item from iTunes either via your computer or mobile device. Let's try it from your computer first.

  • Open iTunes on your computer.
  • Look for the item that you think your recipient would like. That item could be an app, a movie, a TV show, a song, an album, an audiobook or an e-book. But it must be something that costs money. Gifting someone a free app or other item wouldn't quite be in the holiday spirit, so Apple doesn't offer a gift option on free content.
  • Click the drop-down arrow next to the price of the item. In some cases, you first have to click the item to view it in full to access the drop-down arrow.
  • From the drop-down menu, click the option to Gift this item.
  • A screen pops up for you to send your iTunes gift. Type the email address of your recipient, your name if it's not already listed and an optional message of up to 200 characters. Choose the date you wish to send the gift, either today or a specific date. Click the Next button.
  • At the next screen, select a theme for the email card bearing your gift. Click Next.
  • At the next screen, confirm your gift. Click the Buy Gift button. Apple prompts you to enter your iTunes password.
  • A confirmation message should appear telling you that you have successfully sent your gift. Click the Send Another Gift button if you have more people on your iTunes shopping list or the Done button if you're finished.
  • In response, your recipient will receive a card via email with your gift. That person simply clicks the Redeem Now button in the email.
  • iTunes opens to display the Redeem Code page. Your recipient clicks the Redeem button, and your gift is downloaded.

You can also gift an item from your iPhone or iPad. The basic process is the same, but your starting point is different.

After you select the item you wish to give, tap the iOS Share icon at the top of the screen. Among the usual options for Message, Mail, Twitter and Facebook, you should see an option for Gift. Tap the Gift option and follow the steps above to give the item to your recipient.