This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn a commission. Learn more

Apple TV+ Not The Same As Apple TV: Here’s How They Are Different

John Finn Avatar
Apple TV vs Apple TV Plus

Apple TV and Apple TV+ are very similar and accessed though the same app, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. While Apple TV looks to provide access to a variety of shows, movies and other videos, Apple TV+ is more of a streamlined product. In spite of their similarities and overlap, it is fairly easy to decide which is right for an individual or household.

The latest version of the Apple TV app was first announced in March of 2019, and rolled out on iOS, Samsung TVs and Apple TV streaming players in May of the same year. Since then, the app has continued to expand support to include more platforms and devices, including Android TV and Google TV.

Apple TV+ was first announced in September of 2019 and eventually launched in November of the same year. Thanks to the addition of new content each month, Apple TV+ now offers access to more videos than ever before. However, the entire Apple TV+ catalog is accessed directly through the Apple TV app, and this is where things can start to become confusing.

In our experience, the easiest way to understand the differences is to think of Apple TV+ as a subscription service and Apple TV as an app that houses everything video-related, including Apple TV+.

Below is a closer look at some of the more important differences between Apple TV and Apple TV+:

Apple TVApple TV+
Payment typePer videoPer month
MLS Season Pass
Friday Night BaseballX

Apple TV is an app, Apple TV Plus is a service

The Apple TV app is a one-stop shop for everything video-related. Whether it is accessing previously purchased TV shows, movies, or rentals, signing up to MLS Season Pass, Paramount+, Disney+, or any of the other Apple TV channels, all of this happens within the Apple TV app.

Apple TV library
Apple TV library

In contrast, Apple TV+ offers none of these benefits. Instead, it is its own subscription service that lives within the Apple TV app just like Paramount+, Disney+, or any of the other Apple TV channels. Priced at $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ is the exclusive home for all of Apple’s original programming, including Ted Lasso, Severance, Shrinking, and more.

Apple TV plus library
Apple TV+ library

Basically, Apple TV is an app for everything Apple provides access to, including Apple TV+. Although access to the Apple TV app is needed for Apple TV+, a separate subscription is required to actually watch any of the shows and movies available through Apple TV+.

Apple TV, TV+ or both?

Whether Apple TV on its own is enough or whether you should add Apple TV+ will depend on the individual needs of you and your home. However, what is clear is that if you want access to Apple TV+ then you will need access to the Apple TV app as well, There is no separate Apple TV+ app.

If you are an existing Apple user that just wants access to the shows and movies you’ve purchased through iTunes, then the Apple TV app will be enough. Likewise, the Apple TV app is also only needed to rent a movie, add an additional channel like Showtime or Starz, or watch MLS matches through MLS Season Pass.

Even then, it is worth noting that not all streaming services are currently available through Apple TV as channels. In some cases, you may still need to download a separate app to access some streaming services.

If you want access to Apple’s original shows, movies, and other content, then you will want to consider signing up and subscribing to Apple TV+. This is also the case if you are an MLB fan and hoping to watch as much Friday Night Baseball as possible. Again, no additional app is needed to do this as Apple TV+ lives within the main Apple TV app, but you will need to add Apple TV+.

Providing you are already signed in to the Apple TV app then here’s how to add Apple TV+:

  • Open the Apple TV app
  • Click on the Apple TV+ tab
  • Click on Get Apple TV+/Start Free Trial
  • Confirm billing information, if asked
  • Click Confirm

Apple TV+ vs Apple TV: summary

Apple TV and Apple TV+ are different. Apple TV is more of an all-included app where uses can watch shows and movies they already own, rent or purchase new ones, and even subscribe to a wide selection of subscription services through Apple TV channels. Put simply, it is an app for existing Apple device users to access anything and everything related to video.

While Apple TV+ is also accessed through the main Apple TV app, it is its own separate service that requires a standalone subscription. Basically, Apple TV+ is not any different to Netflix, HBO Max, or Disney+. For those that just want to watch Apple’s original shows and movies, or MLS, Apple TV+ is needed. However, that also means the Apple TV app is needed as well.

John Finn


6 responses

  1. What a useless comparison article. Yoy provided a question and did not even answer it.

  2. I do not have a smart tv. I have a roku box on my tv. How can I stream Apple TV and Apple TV plus.

    1. please answer.

  3. I pay for Apple TV and can’t watch any episodes Of Ted lasso but the first and second. This is very frustrating. Please help

    1. If you mean you pay for the Apple TV device, that’s simply a smart box, like Chromecast. Apple let’s you watch first (and second) episodes of Apple content free. The shows (streamed content) are a separate issue. Ted Lasso is exclusive Apple-created content so you need to subscribe to Apple TV+. That’s the point of the article above.

      1. I have the Apple TV app downloaded on my Fire TV. I have a subscription to Apple TV Plus. I cannot watch Ted Lasso beyond Season 2. My billing says I am paying for Apple TV Plus (ordered through iTunes). I cannot download the Apple TV app because I already have it, although it doesn’t appear that I am paying for it. No one at Apple has been able to help. Suggestions??

Leave a Reply

Streaming can be frustrating but please be respectful and avoid personal information. All comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Sign up to the Streaming Better newsletter

Get our latest news and guides delivered to your mailbox.