I've been overpaying for my Tidal music subscription via Apple — don't make this mistake

Tidal logo on phone with headphones in the background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As Tom's Guide's audio editor and a Hi-Fi hobbyist, I've had subscriptions to all of the best music streaming services available. But recently I discovered that I've been overpaying for one of my favorites by signing up to it via my iPhone. Don't make my mistake. 

It's a costly hobby keeping up to date with all the main music streaming service options available, particularly when signing up for services that offer subscriptions to audiophile hi-res music libraries. Like many, I'm constantly looking for ways to cut costs and reduce my outgoings, and I regularly ditch subscriptions to services I'm no longer using. 

I often return to streaming services and reinstate my subscription at a later date, depending on my needs or the offer that's available at the time. But as I discovered recently, I made a big mistake the last time I reinstated my Tidal HiFi subscription, leaving me out of pocket more than I expected. I learned about my slip-up the hard way, and I'm sharing my experience here so that you don't make the same costly error.

Tidal costs more via Apple

Tidal plans via Apple subs screenshot

Music streaming services are more costly if you sign up for subscriptions via third-party apps on Apple devices. (Image credit: Future)

Tidal costs more when you sign up or renew a subscription via the app on Apple devices because of the commission it pays to Apple. This may seem obvious to many, but in doing some research to see if anyone had a similar experience when renewing their subscription to mine, I found I wasn't alone. So it's worthwhile reminding streaming fans everywhere to avoid signing up for third-party services via Apple devices if you want the best value. 

Avoid signing up for third-party services via Apple devices if you want the best value.

Tidal's HiFi tier subscription costs $10.99 / £10.99 / AU$12.99 per month via the Tidal website, but I've been paying $12.99 / £12.99 per month since I renewed it via the Tidal app on my iPhone. I don't recall why I reinstated my Tidal subscription in this way. Maybe I couldn't remember my account login details to access my online Tidal account, or I foolishly didn't believe that Apple would be taking such a significant cut from subscribers signing up for third-party services via the app. 

Either way, the recent news about Tidal's new affordable subscription plan rolling out on April 10 came as a timely reminder of my mistake — along with the alarming realization that I've been overpaying for over a year and was out of pocket by more than $24 / £24.

I have since canceled my Tidal HiFi subscription via my Apple ID Subscriptions page on my iPhone. It expires at the end of the month, and I plan to renew it via the Tidal website at the true price.

Tidal's new $11 plan will make it the one to beat

Screenshot showing Tidal plans March 2024

Tidal's HiFi and HiFi Plus tiers will be rolled into one $11 plan from April 10. (Image credit: Tidal)

I've been listening to Tidal's streaming service since it launched in the UK and U.S. in 2014. With plenty of competition around the hi-res audio steaming sector though, I haven't always subscribed to its top-tier hi-res Masters library. I've dipped in and out with different providers as they've emerged, and in a cost-cutting exercise to reduce my outgoings a few years ago, I ditched Tidal in favor of Qobuz

Qobuz offers around 100 million tracks in CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) up to full hi-res (24-bit/192kHz) for $12.99 per month, but Tidal's new single-tier subscription will be just $10.99 / £10.99 per month when it rolls out on April 10.

Tidal: $10.99

Tidal: $10.99
Tidal is one of the most innovative streaming services available. Its HiFi tier is the one to subscribe to right now, as you'll get full access to its library of more than 100 million tracks in CD-quality lossless audio straight off the bat. From April 10, you'll then get access to Tidal's hi-res content (up to 24-bit/192kHz), and Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio immersive content at no extra cost.

If I reinstate my Tidal subscription via its website, I'll get access to the best music streaming features including lossless and full hi-res, spatial audio content and offline listening in one unbeatable plan for less than any other streaming service around. Now that's music to my ears and my wallet.

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

After 2.5 years as Tom's Guide's audio editor, Lee has joined the passionate audio experts at audiograde.uk where he writes about luxury audio and Hi-Fi. As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.