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Netflix to longtime customers: Say goodbye to iTunes billing and lower prices

Netflix cuts off Apple billing for existing subscribers, who'll need to pay the streaming service directly and lose grandfathered prices.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Netflix on phone
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Those of you who were subscribing to a Netflix plan through Apple's iTunes method will now have to pay Netflix directly, and possibly cough up more cash.

In an update to one of its billing pages, Netflix confirmed that billing through Apple is no longer available for new or rejoining Netflix subscribers. The streaming media company also confirmed to The Verge that it's eliminated the iTunes billing option for existing subscribers, forcing them to pay Netflix directly. The change will affect basic plan members in certain countries, including the US and Canada, but not all regions at this point.

Also: The best live TV streaming services for cord cutters

Apple introduced App Store subscriptions back in 2010 to help users directly pay for and manage plans for third-party services. But like many companies, Netflix balked at Apple's 30% cut of the take and didn't even allow such subscriptions until 2015. In 2018, Netflix ended the option altogether for new subscribers but allowed existing customers to continue, until now.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) spotted by The Verge, a Netflix customer said that the service suddenly stopped working with Apple Pay without informing them. "Now I'm locked out of my $9.99 a month price I had paid for years and I had to get charged $31 until I get a refund through Apple," the person added.

As a result, this subscriber, who was paying $9.99 a month for a Basic plan, will either need to move to a Standard plan for $15.49 a month or downgrade to one that costs $6.99 but saddles them with ads. This is because Netflix put the kibosh on its Basic plan last year.

To further complicate the matter, anyone who signed up for Netflix via Apple before May 10, 2014, will need to first cancel the subscription through Apple and then rejoin Netflix once the current billing period is over.

Also: The best Netflix alternatives: Binge-watch elsewhere

Netflix has tried other schemes to squeeze more out of its customers. Last year, the company started cracking down on people who share their passwords and accounts outside their household. Adding another user to an existing subscription will now cost you $7.99 a month. All of this comes at a time when streaming services are raising prices as they try to fund more programming, pay off higher bills, and turn a greater profit.

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