Many people think that once you buy something from the iTunes or App Store–be it an app, movie, or book–there’s no way to get a refund. But that’s not exactly true. We’ve taken a look at Apple’s store refund policies and show you how to get your money back for that crappy app.
iTunes & App Store Refund: “All Sales (Not Really) Final”
Media, unlike other types of products, has always had strict return policies around them in the real world. Once you’ve opened a CD or DVD your chances were gone of getting a refund for that item. The reasoning was that the store had no way of knowing if you had simply bought it to rip the content and then get refunded for the full price.
When our media distribution went digital with the advent of the iTunes Store–and later, the App Store–Apple followed in physical retailer’s footprints. While it’s easier to ensure that digital media bought through the iTunes and App Stores isn’t as easy to copy as traditional media, the company has always had strict purchase terms in place. Matter of fact, the Apple Media Services Terms and Conditions state that “all transactions are final”.
The thing is, that’s not really true. It’s something the company says, but they do have a refund policy in place. And it’s actually pretty easy to use.
iTunes & App Store Refund: How To Get A Refund
The easiest way to get a refund is to do so through your Mac or PC, though you can ask for a refund through the App Store app on your iPhone too. However, a PC is generally better as you’ll need to type up a reason why you want a refund. Here’s how to ask for one on your Mac or PC.
- In iTunes on your PC or Mac (or in the Music app on your Mac if you’re running macOS Catalina or later) go to the iTunes Store and on the home screen click “Account” under the QUICK LINKS section.
- You’ll be prompted to enter your password for the Apple ID account which you are seeking a refund for.
- On the Account Information page that appears scroll to where it says Purchase History and click “See All”.
- On the Purchase History screen, you’ll see every single iTunes & App Store purchase you’ve ever made with that Apple ID. Purchases are listed chronologically with the most recent purchase–be it a movie, app, or book–listed at the top–and you can use the date drop-down menu to jump to a certain timeframe to see more purchases. Find the item you want to have refunded and then click the “More” button next to it. Below the listing, you’ll now see a Report A Problem button. Click it.
- Once the Report A Problem button is clicked, you’ll be taken from the iTunes Store to a page that opens in your web browser.
- In your browser, you might be asked to enter your Apple ID and password for confirmation. If so, do it. If not, skip to step 7.
- One the Report a Problem webpage for the item you want a refund for select a reason there is a problem with the item from the Choose Problem drop-down menu. You can also enter additional information in the box provided. When you are done click the Submit button.
iTunes & App Store Refund: What Happens Next
After you’ve submitted the item for a refund it usually will take 12-24 hours to get an emailed reply from Apple. During this time a representative from the company will look at the item, your comments about it, and your explanation as to why you want a refund.
In most instances, Apple is not legally required to give you a refund, but if this is your first refund request or you have a valid reason for requesting a refund the very first email you’ll get from Apple is usually one saying they’ve credited your account.
Note that the date you purchased the item is very important in Apple choosing whether to give you a refund or not. If you purchased an app or movie last week that you want a refund for Apple probably wouldn’t have a problem doing that. But a refund for any purchase over 90 days old is extremely rare.
iTunes & App Store Refund: What Happens After The Refund
If your refund is approved and your iTunes account is credited for the refund, the item in question (the movie, app, book, etc) will be removed from your devices and you won’t be able to re-download it without paying for it again.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.