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Apple TV App Blocks Movie Rentals, Purchases on Google, Android TVs

Matt Tamanini

Movie fans who have been using the Apple TV app to stream Oscar nominees, recent blockbusters, and classic films on Google or Android TVs have run into a surprising change after a recent upgrade; they can’t rent or buy movies via iTunes on those devices anymore. After Reddit users flagged the issue late last week, FlatpanelsHD confirmed that the options to either rent or purchase movies via Apple TV on Android and Google TVs have been removed, and it was not a mistake.

Apple TV

Apple TV is a streaming device that can be used to watch Live TV Streaming Services and On Demand Streaming Services.

In their place, viewers are encouraged to head to the Apple TV app on another device. The options were replaced by a new “How to Watch” button that says, “You can buy, rent or subscribe in the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, and other streaming devices.”

Users who opt not to upgrade the app are apparently still able to rent and buy movies, but it is unclear how long Apple will allow users to avoid the change. With or without the update, customers are still able to watch any previously purchased movies in their libraries, and, if they rent or buy a movie on an iPhone, iPad, or another supported device, it will then be able to be streamed on the TV. Additionally, access to Apple TV+ subscription content has not been affected.

Currently, this change has not impacted Apple TV users on Roku TVs or any other Smart TVs, which has led many to speculate that the issue behind the change could be between tech giants Apple and Google.

Google has long charged a 30% commission fee on in-app purchases for a certain portion of vendors. It is unclear what prompted the recent reversal from Apple, as the ability to buy and rent moves on Android and Google TVs had previously been available. It could be that a change in Google’s Terms of Service now lumped the Apple purchases under the 30% commission umbrella, causing the abrupt change.

This is not the first time that Apple has prevented the purchase of movies from certain streaming devices. In 2019 when the Apple TV app launched on Fire TV devices, the functionality to buy films and subscribe to premium channels was not included.

At the time, Apple was also encouraging users to pay for the movies on an Apple device before watching on Fire TV. That move was also believed to be centered on a 30% fee for in-app purchases.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a subscription video streaming service for $4.99 a month that includes high-quality originals shows and movies including Best Picture winner “CODA,” popular sitcom “Ted Lasso,” and dramas like “The Morning Show” and “For All Mankind.” Apple TV+ is also home to MLB baseball games on Friday nights.

They have titles coming from Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Garner, and Octavia Spencer.

If you purchase an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, you can get a free year of Apple TV+.

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