Is Apple Arcade Still Worth It?

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by Jack Taylor | Last Updated:  April 30, 2020

Apple Arcade has been out for several months now, now offering well over 100+ games, and more being released each month, but is Apple Arcade still worth subscribing to all these months later?

An Apple Arcade subscription grows in value over time because the number of games available to play, increases each and every month for the same monthly price of $4.99.  Not only do you get more games each month, but you can share your Apple Arcade subscription with 5 other family members.

This article is not a review of the games offered by Apple Arcade. It is a review of the service itself. Together, we are going to dive into all that Apple Arcade offers, briefly covering the highlights of the service, and then we will cover topics like game controllers, how to set up Family Sharing, even multiple ways to cancel the service. Before we begin, let’s first define what Apple Arcade is, and see what it comes with.

What Does Apple Arcade Come With?

Apple Arcade is a monthly subscription service that grants you and your family members unfettered access to over 100+ games that can be played on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV.  Below are some highlights of the service and what you can do with an Apple Arcade subscription. 

You Get Unlimited Access to Over 100+ Games

I know of no other gaming platform that offers over 100+ games that work just well on an iPhone as they do on a big screen TV, and all for a monthly subscription of only $4.99.

You can play as long and often as you want, and on top of that, the number of games available to you increases each and every month!

You Get Ad-free; No in-app Purchases

Every Apple Arcade game is ad-free.  That means you won’t have to put up with nagging ads, or need to spend .99 or $1.49, or $1.99 or more in order to advance to the next level. Think of the money you’ll save!  

You can Download to Play, Online or Offline

Now you can play games during those long flights without the need to connect to the internet for gameplay.

Do you have a limited amount of data you can use each month on your cell phone plan?  With Apple Arcade, there is no need to worry, because you Apple Arcade games do not require internet access.  Once your device connects to Wi-Fi again, your game scores will sync with iCloud, and only you will see those scores unless you share them.

Up to Six Family Members Can Play Using One Subscription

As a subscriber to Apple Arcade, you can share your subscription with up to 5 other family members, at no additional cost. Everybody’s game information is private and can’t be seen by any other family member that is sharing the Apple Arcade subscription.

Start playing on one device, pick up on another

If you start playing a game on your iPhone, you can easily pick up where you left off on your iPad, Mac or even Apple TV.  If you complete level 6 on an Apple Arcade game on your iPhone, you can start level 7 on your Apple TV.  When you finish playing on Apple TV, you can pick the game up on your iPad or Mac where you left off.

You Can Play with Wireless Controllers

Apple is not interested in rolling out a service for the sake of rolling out a service.  That service must provide a great experience. Being able to use a wireless game controller enhances your game experience.  Its games are not limited to finger touch or a mouse click.  Apple Arcade allows you to connect wireless game controllers to your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV, or even on your Mac.

Integrates with Screen Time and Parental Controls

Playing games is fun, and kids love playing games on their Apple devices.  But sometimes, kids don’t know when to stop playing.  This is where Screen Time comes into play, (no pun intended, honestly).  With Screen Time, can limit gameplay to a specific time.  For example, from your Apple device, you can set limitations for your child(ren), by preventing them from being able to play any Apple Arcade game after bed time, or during school hours.

What Game Controllers Does Apple Arcade Support?

With the release of with iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina, Apple now supports the ability to pair your DUALSHOCK®4 or Xbox Wireless Controller to your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac. 

How do I pair or unpair a controller with my iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch?

  1. To start, you first need to make sure that your controller is turned off.  If you want to put your controller in pairing mode, do the following:
    • Xbox Wireless Controller
      Press the Xbox button to turn the controller on and then press and hold the Connect button for a few seconds.
    • DUALSHOCK®4 Wireless Controller
      Press and hold the PS and Share buttons at the same time until the light bar begins to flash.
  2. On your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, tap SETTINGS
  3. Select BLUETOOTH and make sure that it is turned ON.
  4. To PAIR
    Under OTHER DEVICES, find the name of your controller and tap it to connect. 
  5. To UNPAIR
    Tap the “i” next to the name of the device in questions, then tap FORGET THIS DEVICE.  

How do I Pair or Unpair a Controller with my Apple TV?

  1. To start, you first need to make sure that your controller is turned off.  If you want to put your controller in pairing mode, do the following:
    • Xbox Wireless Controller
      Press the Xbox button to turn the controller on and then press and hold the Connect button for a few seconds.
    • DUALSHOCK®4 Wireless Controller
      Press and hold the PS and Share buttons at the same time until the light bar begins to flash.
  2. If you have an Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, go to SETTINGS > REMOTES AND DEVICES > BLUETOOTH.
  3. You will need to wait a minute or two while your Apple TV searches for nearby Bluetooth Accessories. 
  4. To PAIR
    Once your controller is recognized, select the name of your controller. You will know that it is connected when you see a notification reading, CONTROLLER CONNECTED.
  5. To UNPAIR
    Select the name of your controller to unpair it, and then select UNPAIR DEVICE. You will know that it is not connected when you see a notification reading, CONTROLLER CONNECTION LOST.

How do I Pair or Unpair a Controller with my Mac?

  1. To start, you first need to make sure that your controller is turned off.  If you want to put your controller in pairing mode, do the following:
    • Xbox Wireless Controller
      Press the Xbox button to turn the controller on and then press and hold the Connect button for a few seconds.
    • DUALSHOCK®4 Wireless Controller
      Press and hold the PS and Share buttons at the same time until the light bar begins to flash.
  2. At the top left-hand corner of your Mac, click on the Apple logo to display the drop-down menu, and then click SYSTEM PREFERENCES.
  3. Click BLUETOOTH and make certain that it is turned on.
  4. Now look for the name of your controller under DEVICES.
    • To PAIR
      Control-click the name of your controller, and then click CONNECT
    • To UNPAIR
      Control-click the name of your controller, then click REMOVE

How do I Join Apple Arcade?

The nice thing about becoming a subscriber to Apple Arcade, is that you use the same process on all devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or Apple TV.  You just want to ensure that you are running the latest version of the operating system on each respective device before subscribing.

  1. Open up the App Store and select the Apple Arcade tab and click on the FREE 30-Day subscription trial offer.  If it is not there, simply attempt to download any Apple Arcade app, and you will be presented with the option to subscribe.
  2. Tap or click the trial subscription offer. (Note, that you can only take advantage of the trial subscription offer once).
  3. Sign in with the same Apple ID login credentials that you use to download apps from the App Store.
  4. Confirm that you have a valid payment method set up for your Apple ID and agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. Enjoy!

How to Family Share with Apple Arcade

This is so cool, it’s almost ridiculous.  After you have signed up for Apple Arcade, you can share your subscription with everyone in your family. 

Apple has what they call, Family Sharing, and with Family Sharing, if one person in your family subscribes to Apple Arcade, then everyone in your Family gets access.  How cool is that!?

Let me rephrase that, to drive the point home.  If you subscribe to Apple Arcade at $4.99 a month, (no commitment), you can add up to 5 other people in your family who will get the same access to Apple Arcade as you do, at no additional cost to you or them.  That is just incredible.

Before you invite others to join in, you’ll want to manage your Family Sharing subscriptions if you have not already done so, by opening the SETTINGS app, then tap [your name] at the top of the screen > tap FAMILY SHARING.

Here, you will see the family members that you are sharing with.  If you don’t see anyone listed there, simply tap ADD FAMILY MEMBER

Now, tap “INVITE VIA MESSAGES,” and enter their name or phone number, and tap SEND. The recipient can accept the invite by viewing the invitation and then tapping “JOIN FAMILY.” 

Now, to share your Apple Arcade subscription, go back to the FAMILY SHARING screen and scroll down the page a little and toggle APPLE ARCADE from OFF to ON.  It’s that simple.

How Many Devices Can Use Apple Arcade?

An Apple Arcade subscription associated with your Apple ID, not with an Apple device that you own.  So, technically, you could use Apple Arcade on an unlimited number of devices, provided that you are logged into the device in question using your Apple ID.

So, for example, if you were to purchase an Apple Arcade subscription today, and decided to visit a friend tonight at their house, but they did not have an Apple Arcade subscription, you could log into their Mac using your Apple ID and your Apple ID password and play any one of the over 117+ games available in Apple Arcade.  Of course, once you log out of your friend’s computer, they won’t be able to play games on their computer, unless they subscribe to Apple Arcade.

Again, the subscription follows your Apple ID, not the device.   

How do I Cancel my Apple Arcade Subscription?

Apple Arcade is not for everyone. I get it.  Apple makes it super easy to cancel your Apple Arcade subscription should you decide to cancel for any reason.  If you do cancel, and later decide that you want to sign up again, not a problem.  Simply sign up following the steps listed above under the “How Do I Join Apple Arcade”, section above.

Before you cancel your subscription, let me share 3 things that you need know about canceling an Apple Arcade subscription:

  1. Your Apple Arcade subscription will automatically renew unless you cancel it. 
  2. If you cancel, you can keep using Apple Arcade until your next billing date. 
  3. If you cancel during the 30-day trial period, you will probably lose access immediately.  If you don’t want to renew it, be sure to cancel at least 24 hours before the trial ends, otherwise, you will probably be charged for the upcoming billing period.

4 Easy Ways to Cancel Your Apple Arcade Subscription

You can cancel your Apple Arcade subscription from your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Mac, or even from your Apple TV.  Clearly, you have options and Apple does not make it difficult to cancel.

How to Cancel your Subscription on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

  1. Open the SETTINGS app.
  2. Tap [your name] at the top of the screen. 
  3. Tap SUBSCRIPTIONS. (If you don’t see “SUBSCIPTIONS,” tap “iTUNES & APP STORE“. Then tap your Apple ID > tap VIEW APPLE ID > SIGN IN, scroll down to Subscriptions, and tap SUBSCRIPTIONS.)
  4. Tap the APPLE ARCADE subscription.
  5. Tap CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION. Now, if you don’t see the option to cancel Apple Arcade, it has already been canceled and will not renew.

How to Cancel your Subscription on your Mac

  1. Open the App Store app from Launch Pad.
  2. Click your picture at the bottom left side of the screen.
  3. Click VIEW INFORMATION at the top of the window. Note that you might be asked to sign in.
  4. On the page that appears, scroll all the way to the bottom under the MANAGE section and look for the SUBSCRIPTIONS line, then click MANAGE to the right.
  5. Click EDIT to the right of the Apple Arcade subscription.
  6. Tap CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION. Now, if you don’t see the option to cancel Apple Arcade, it has already been canceled and will not renew.

How to Cancel your Subscription on your Apple Watch

  1. On your Apple Watch, Press the CROWN of your Apple Watch
  2. Tap the APP STORE app.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap ACCOUNT.
  4. Tap SUBSCRIPTIONS.
  5. Tap APPLE ARCADE.
  6. Scroll all the way down and tap CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION.

How to Cancel your Subscription on your Apple TV

To begin, if you have an Apple TV (3rd generation or earlier), you will have to cancel your subscription using one of the methods listed above.  If you have a newer Apple TV and wish to cancel your Apple Arcade subscription on your Apple TV, simply follow the steps listed below. 

  1. Navigate to SETTINGS.
  2. Select USERS & ACCOUNTS, then select your account. 
  3. Select SUBSCRIPTIONS.
  4. Select APPLE ARCADE, and then select CANCEL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Now, if you don’t see the option to cancel Apple Arcade, it has already been canceled and will not renew.

So, is Apple Arcade Still Worth it?

There are now over 117 games that have been released on the Apple Arcade platform.

How many Games have been Added Since it Launched?

When Apple first launched Apple Arcade on September 19, 2019, it launched with about 60 games.  They had stated that the service would have “100+ games”, and they certainly have delivered on that promise, given that since launch, dozens of titles have been added to the inventory, bringing the number to 117 titles as of this writing.

Will they retire titles after a specified period of time? We don’t know, but we do know that they will continue to add more titles each month.  The fact that Apple is constantly adding new titles to their inventory above and beyond their promise of 100 titles, is evidence of added value.  In other words, each and every month, you are getting more games for the same monthly fee of $4.99.

The numbers speak for themselves, and the subscription offered by Apple literally is a better value with each month that passes by.  Regardless if you are a “gamer” or not, everybody from the Mom who wants to entertain her kids while at the grocery store, to the teenager who just can’t get enough gaming out of day, Apple Arcade offers exceptional value. 

If you are looking for very inexpensive entertainment, even if it is only used to wind down just before going to sleep for the night, you just can’t go wrong in subscribing to Apple Arcade.


Jack has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article or working on his YouTube channel, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Jack, click here.
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