You can say many things both good and bad about Apple TV Plus, the subscription streaming service from Apple. But I think what I appreciate most about Apple TV Plus is how easy Apple makes it to leave the service behind.
That's not a backhanded compliment. Apple is surprisingly upfront about when your Apple TV Plus subscription is about to auto-renew and gives you enough advance warning to do something about it. It's a practice I wish other subscription services —including the best streaming services — would take note of.
Here's what I mean: About a year ago, I bought a new Apple product, which entitled me to a free year of Apple TV Plus. Because 12 months is a long time in which to forget that you're going to have to start paying for something, I set up a reminder using my iPhone's Reminders app to review whether I wanted to keep the subscription.
Turns out I needn't have bothered. Over the weekend, an email from Apple popped up in my inbox. It alerted me that my free Apple TV Plus trial was nearing its end, gave me the exact date on which I would have to pay the $4.99 per month and told me when I needed to cancel by if I wanted to avoid being charged. There was even a helpful link for managing my subscription in the email.
As an avowed cheapskate who has taken advantage of many free trials over the years, I can assure you that heads-up notices like the one Apple sent me are few and far between. And certainly of the several subscriptions I'm currently paying for, approximately none have sent me the "Here's how you can stop paying for us if you want" reminder.
It's a remarkably canny move on Apple's part. Instead of luring someone in with a free trial and hoping that they don't bother to check a calendar, Apple makes it very clear that your trial's about to end, even if it means losing out on recurring revenue. That helps build trust and goodwill, not just for Apple TV Plus but for the many other services Apple offers. And that more than makes up for any of the cancelled subscriptions Apple will have to strike out of the books because of those email reminders.
As it turns out, I'm dropping Apple TV Plus as my free trial comes to an end. I've enjoyed Ted Lasso and a handful of other programs like Schmigadoon, but there's not that constant stream of entertaining content to keep me hooked. (Live sports and a wider library of older movies and shows might help with that, Apple, but then again, I've told you that already.) Once Ted Lasso Season 3 rolls around later this year, I'll probably re-up with Apple TV Plus.
And when I do, I'll feel a lot better about doing business with Apple than a lot of other providers of streaming services.