Macworld explains how to buy an Apple Gift Card and how to give iTunes credit as a gift. Plus: avoid Apple Gift Card scams.
A quick online search for 'Apple Gift Card codes' will turn up a stack of results, many of them proferring 'free' Apple Gift Card codes, that let you buy iPhone apps, music and movies for free. But don't be fooled: there's really only one way of getting hold of codes for iTunes, and that is the legitimate way. See also: Apple reviews.
How to gift an Apple Gift Card
Much the simplest way to purchase an Apple Gift Card is to go to your nearest Apple Store, or indeed many other retailers including larger WH Smiths. There's you'll find an array of physical Gift Cards that you can purchase and then hand over or post to yourgift's recipient.
But that's all a bit inconvenient and Web 1.0. Even easier is to head online to Apple's Gift Card gallery.
Then you simply select the amount and the image you want, input an email address for your gift's recipient, and send it on over (not forgetting to pay first). It couldn't really be easier.
How to gift credit for iTunes
Also easy is to gift credit for iTunes direct from your iPhone or iPad. First open up iTunes or the App store. We're going to use iTunes.
Now scroll to the bottom of the main page of the app and tap Send Gift. Make sure you are signed in to the iTunes Store with your Apple ID, then type in the email address for the person you wish to send the iTunes Gift.
Tap an amount you'd like to gift, or type in another amount, then add a message and select the day you want the gift to be sent. Choose a theme, tap Buy, and then tap Buy Gift to confirm. That's it, your friend will receive the gift on the date you selected. See all iPad reviews.
How to avoid 'free Apple Gift Card' code scams
The very fact that it is so easy to purchase gifts of credit to Apple stores and services, and the fact that Macs and iDevices are so popular, means that there are a lot of Apple Gift Card codes flying around. And where there is brass, there's muck.
As we mentioned at the outset: type into a search engine 'Apple Gift Card codes' and you'll find myriad entries, many of them claiming to offer you 'Free' Apple- or iTunes Gift Card codes.
At this point, stop and have a little think. Why would anyone in their right minds be giving away free money? And would you trust someone who claimed to do so? Finally, why would Apple allow codes to be generated that in essence steal from its coffers? As we always say: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
As in all areas of the internet where black and white bleed into a murky grey, there are no hard-and-fast rules. If you are given an iTunes gift card code and asked for nothing in return, you probably don't have much to lose. There are reports of people being locked out of their iTunes accounts because they are known to be dodgy codes, however, so there is a small risk.
Much more important: don't give anything in return for a free iTunes Gift Card code. Certainly not any money or details of either your iTunes- or bank account. (You should never give up either of those.) But we'd also suggest you avoid giving away personal details such as your name, date of birth and/or email address. Do you really trust someone on the grey market with these critical data?
Finally, be aware that a popular but an illegitimate search term such as 'Free iTunes Gift Card codes' is a honeypot for all kinds of internet fraudsters. There's a good chance that you are being drawn to click those URLs purely so that a scammer can attack your PC or Mac with dodgy software.
As with any thing that offers something for nothing on the internet, keep your wits about you. Visit our iPhone spotlight for more iPhone tips.