Apple's new Apple Arcade subscription-based gaming service is basically Apple's way of helping customers sort through the chaff in the App Store, as the highly curated service features premium games that are untainted by in-app purchases and ads. If all goes well, it could elevate the perception of mobile gaming in general.
Apple Arcade is a gaming subscription service for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS that features well over 100 games. Apple is handpicking the games that you'll get with the service and working with highly regarded game developers such as Hironobu Sakaguchi and Ken Wong. Apple Arcade games have no in-app purchases, are downloadable for offline play, and can be played across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
What does it run on?
Apple Arcade is now available on iOS 13, iPad OS 13, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina or later.
How do I sign up for Apple Arcade?
There isn't an Apple Arcade app on mobile devices. In iOS 13, iPad OS 13, and macOS, you access it through the App Store app. Look for the Arcade button at the bottom of the App Store app (or in the left column on macOS). A sign-up screen with a Try It Free button will appear. You get the first month free, then it's $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Tap the button to sign up.
You'll need to enter your Apple ID password. And you'll have to confirm your subscription purchase a few times.
Once you're done with the sign up, the Arcade section of the App Store shows what games are available to you. To access a game, tap on it in the App Store, then tap the Get button. When the game is done installing on your device, the Get button turns into a Play button, and you can tap it to launch the game. The game app icon will also appear on your device's Home page.
On the Apple TV, you'll see a separate tab for Apple Arcade on your home screen. It's pink and has a joystick icon. Press it, and you'll go through much the same process.
How much does Apple Arcade cost?
Apple Arcade costs $4.99 per month, and you'll also get a one-month free trial. You can also sign up for the annual plan, which is $49.99. (Apple introduced this new annual plan in December 2019.)
If you're currently on the $4.99 month-to-month plan and want to switch to the annual plan, you can do so on your iPhone or iPad. Open the App Store app, then tap your account icon in the upper right. Tap Subscriptions, then tap the entry for Apple Arcade. Here, you can switch to the annual plan.
First off, keep in mind that if you cancel Apple Arcade before your one-month free trial is up, you won't be able to keep playing the games unless you resubscribe. If you're okay with that, you can use the same process you use to cancel any other subscription service on iOS. Here's the easiest way to do it on the iPhone and iPad:
Open the App Store app and press on your profile photo in the upper right-hand corner.
In the screen that pops up, press Subscriptions near the top of the page.
You'll then see a list of active subscriptions, and Apple Arcade should be listed there. Press it.
You'll either see Cancel Free Trial or Cancel Subscription toward the middle of the page that appears. Press whatever option is available.
You'll then see a prompt that says Confirm Cancellation, and when this pops up, press Confirm.
And here's how to cancel Apple Arcade on the Mac:
Open the App Store app and then press the icon with your profile photo in the lower left-hand corner.
The Account window will appear, and you should then press View Information in the upper right. Enter your password when/if prompted.
When your Account Information appears, scroll down to the Manage section and press Manage to the right of Subscriptions.
When the list of your active subscriptions appears, press Edit to the right of Apple Arcade.
Toward the middle of the page that appears, you'll see a button that says either Cancel Free Trial or Cancel Subscription. Press the option that shows up.
You'll then see a prompt that says Confirm Cancellation, and when this pops up, press Confirm.
Which Apple devices will allow me to play Apple Arcade games?
Apple says subscribers can play Apple Arcade games across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Apple also says that you can pick up where you left off when you switch to another Apple device. Currently all the stated devices are supported, although the number of games available for Mac and Apple TV is a tad smaller because a handful of Apple Arcade games rely on touch controls.
This seems like a small thing, but it hints at some big changes that might be coming to iOS and macOS.
Do Apple Arcade games have microtransactions or in-app purchases?
No. In Apple's words, since every game includes access to the full experience, including all game features, content, and future updates, no additional purchases will be required.
Do Apple Arcade games have ads?
No. On a related note, Apple says Apple Arcade has no ad tracking.
How do I access Apple Arcade games?
On iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS, you can find Apple Arcade in its own tab along the bottom bar of the App Store app alongside the usual Games tab. You can sign up for the subscription service and download games through that menu. On Apple TVs running tvOS 13, you'll see a separate tab with a controller icon for Apple Arcade. Once you download the games, you'll see each game listed with its own icons on the Apple TV home screen.
You'll find this tab on the Mac, too.
Can you download Apple Arcade games for offline play?
Yes. It's essentially like downloading an existing non-freemium game like The Room, but the game is tied to the Apple Arcade subscription service rather than a one-time purchase.
Is Apple Arcade a remote game streaming service like Google's Stadia?
No. All Apple Arcade games involve downloads, much as we see with the existing App Store. As it stands, nothing about Apple Arcade will rely on streaming.
Does Apple Arcade support family sharing?
Yes. One $4.99 per month subscription can be shared between up to six people.
Does Apple curate the games on Apple Arcade?
Yes. Apple says it is handpicking the games in Apple Arcade and that curates them based on originality, quality, creativity, fun, and their appeal to players of all ages. If all goes well, this approach should allow Apple to sidestep the quality concerns that are causing controversies on more open services like Steam.
Are Apple Arcade games available on other systems?
It depends on which systems you're talking about. Apple says that Apple Arcade games will not be available on any other mobile platform or in any other subscription service (emphasis ours).
So while you won't see an Apple Arcade game on Android, you might see it on, say, the PlayStation 4 or the Nintendo Switch.
Shantae 5 is one example of a game that's available one Apple Arcade in addition to non-mobile platforms like PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Will I still be able to buy games on the App Store without an Apple Arcade subscription?
Yes. There's no sign that the existing games model will be going away, as it works fine for freemium games like Idle Heroes or Toon Blast. Keep in mind that inclusion in Apple Arcade comes with mobile exclusivity, so games that are also available on Android will still be found on the regular App Store.
Apple is focusing on handpicked games for Apple Arcade, so there's little doubt that the library will be much smaller than the wider App Store.
Am I able to buy Apple Arcade games individually from the regular App Store if I don't want to pay the subscription?
The games are exclusive to the service on iOS, so no.
Are there demos for Apple Arcade games?
No, unless you count a free trial of the subscription itself. In fact, Apple partly envisions Apple Arcade as a way of letting players try out non-freemium games with more freedom than the App Store currently allows (which is basically none). In its own words, rather than pay upfront for each game, a subscription to Apple Arcade will give players the opportunity to try any game in the service without risk. The service has a free trial, though, as we've seen with both Apple Music and Apple News+.
Am I able to keep playing Apple Arcade games if I decide to stop subscribing to Apple Arcade?
Can I use controllers with Apple Arcade games?
Yes. In additional to traditional MFi (Made for iOS) controllers, you can pair some specific Bluetooth controllers for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with either your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Since many Apple Arcade games are playable on Mac and Apple TV (where controller support is more common), the majority of games will support them. Here's a list of all the Apple Arcade games known to support controllers.
It seems to be a requirement for Apple Arcade developers, as every game released from early 2020 onward includes official controller support.
Recently Apple relaxed the requirements for MFi controller certification, which may have grown out of the Apple Arcade negotiations.
Is Apple doing anything to assist with the development of games on Apple Arcade?
Yes. The extent of Apple's participation isn't clear (and I'm sure it varies per title), but Apple says it's contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring the games to life.
What games have been released for Apple Arcade so far?
Apple said that over 100 new and exclusive games will be available at launch, although Apple didn't reach 100 until November 8. More games will be added over time.
How frequently does Apple plan to release new games?
Games are almost always released on Fridays, but not every Friday. The release schedule is sporadic—some Fridays there are no new games released, some have one game released, some more than one game. Sometimes there will be no new game release, but existing games will get a big update.
On average, new games are released at a rate of about one every 2-3 weeks.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.