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Why You Are Wasting Money with Apple Subscriptions

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So my boyfriend and I were going over our monthly transactions looking into vendors and charges we didn’t recognize. While looking at his Mint account, we saw a random charge from iTunes for $12.99.

We initially thought maybe it was a one off app, but he said the only app he had bought was a game that wasn’t more than a couple dollars. We dug through his email receipts and discovered it was for a Spotify subscription. The price seemed strange because I’ve only been paying $9.99 for Premium.

It turns out when he bought Spotify Premium, he had done it through iTunes. And it turns out Apple takes a 30% cut from its vendors offering subscriptions on their platform (I believe they just recently updated this to 15%). Some vendors choose to pass this percentage on to their customers instead of eating the loss, raising the price of the subscription on iTunes.

Apps with 30% Premiums

  1. Hulu – No Commercials Subscription – $13.99 (iOS) vs $11.99 (direct)
  2. Spotify – Premium/No Commercials – $12.99 (iOS) vs $9.99 (direct)
  3. Youtube Red – No Commercials – $12.99 (iOS) vs $9.99 (direct)

Spotify even encourages you on their site to unsubscribe from the Apple Subscription and directly subscribe through their website.

You can check whether there might be a price discrepancy by taking a look at the app page’s “Top In-App Purchases” section which shows users paying for the same thing at different prices.


Here are the instructions to cancel your subscriptions through Apple. Just resubscribe directly when your subscription runs out! Hopefully this will save a pretty penny. If you had all 3 services above subscribed through iTunes, you would be paying an extra $72 a year! I think I have way better places to spend that then paying a premium to subscribe through Apple. Cheers!

Jing is currently a software engineer based in Oakland, CA. She left her job in New York, moved to San Francisco unemployed, and more than doubled her salary in 4 months.

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