Apple's new TV streaming service launches on Friday 1 November 2019, so you may well be wondering exactly what shows will be on Apple TV+ and whether they will be any good. Here's our complete list of what you can watch on Apple TV+ if you subscribe to the service, and what you can watch even if you don't have a subscription.
Even before Apple's 25 March "Showtime Event" at which it announced its streaming service, Apple had been unable to keep rumours and snippets of information about its plans from getting out, so we already knew about many of the shows that are in the works at Apple. Since the event we've learned about even more shows and seen trailers for the new projects.
At the March event Apple invited various actors, writers and directors onto the stage to pitch their work to the audience. We saw Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani, Oprah Winfrey, and even Big Bird, take to the stage and describe the new shows that they are making for Apple's customers.
In this article we'll be looking at what new shows will be premiering on the Apple's TV+ subscription service (you can jump to that section here), and also at what you can watch on Apple's TV app without paying the subscription to Apple TV+. We've also got an article focusing specifically on the best Apple TV+ shows.
What can you watch on Apple TV without a subscription?
Back in January 2008, soon after Netflix started streaming, and long before Amazon Prime Video existed, Apple started selling TV shows and films on iTunes. Ever since, movies and TV shows have been available to rent or buy from the iTunes Store. Sometimes movies are available on iTunes before they launch on DVD, and long before appearing on Netflix.
More than a decade later and you can still find tons of movies, TV shows and more on the iTunes Store and you can either buy or rent them there and watch on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or TV (via an Apple TV set-top-box or other supporting device). Occasionally movies and shows are available on iTunes before they appear anywhere else - in fact, some movies even come to iTunes before they have left the cinema - and TV shows are often available to download and watch at the same time as they premiere on TV.
But there's a lot more competition now with Amazon also offering rentals, and the catalogues of both Amazon and Netflix growing with popular programmes and original series. It's often the case that a movie or show that would need to be rented or bought from Apple can be streamed on Netflix or Amazon at no extra cost.
Rather than switch the iTunes store to a subscription service, Apple's embraced this situation by being up front about where you can get the best deal on the movie or show you want to watch. Currently, you can use Apple's TV app (on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire or 2019 Samsung TV) to search all your subscription and on demand services for a show or movie you want to watch. The app will show you if it's available to buy or rent on iTunes, or if you can get it cheaper, or for free elsewhere. The TV app will tell you exactly where it is available and whether you can buy, rent, or subscribe to watch it. You then decide where you want to watch it, and are directed to that app.
Thus the TV app will help you find the content you want to watch, and showcase content that you might like, but you won't actually watch it within the TV app. Instead, once you've found the show you wish to watch, you will be sent to the relevant app to watch it there (be it Amazon, iPlayer, or Netflix). The exception to this is if it is movies or shows purchased from iTunes, content you have uploaded yourself, or content that is available in one of the Apple TV Channel's, which are third-party streaming services you can subscribe to from within the Apple TV app (there aren't many of these in the UK right now).
And, of course, if you subscribe to the Apple TV+ streaming service, you will watch all that content in the TV app too.
So in a nutshell here's what you can watch on Apple's TV app:
- Shows purchased from iTunes Store
- Movies purchased or rented from iTunes Store
- Content you have uploaded yourself
- Content that is available in an Apple TV Channel - third-party streaming services you can subscribe to from within the Apple TV app
- Anything on Apple's TV+ if you subscribe
If you have an iPhone, iPad you can use the TV app to find where content is available so that you can decide to watch it in the relevant app. If you have an Apple TV you can also use the TV app to find content and then watch it in the required app (assuming that app is available in the Apple TV App Store - it most likely is). On a Mac running Catalina you will find the Apple TV app, but you may find the choice of content to be more limited due to the limited number of streaming apps on the Mac.
If you aren't keen on subscribing to Apple TV+ read: How to get Apple TV+ for free.
How to use Apple's TV app to find shows
In the UK the Apple TV app lets you browse content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, Prime Video, Netflix, and more, along with the iTunes store. Elsewhere the TV app will offer a similar wealth of content from various apps. In the UK we still see Netflix recommendations under Where to Watch, but in the US it appears that no Netflix content is highlighted by the TV app.
- Open the TV app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac. (Soon the TV app will work on Macs, various smart TVs, Roku and Fire TV stick - more information about where you can use Apple's TV app here).
- Search for the TV show or movie you want to watch.
- You will see results that indicate where the show or movie is available and whether you can buy or subscribe to watch it. So, if it's available on one of the services you subscribe to you can watch it there.
- Choose the version that you want to watch and it will open in the relevant app. (Later this year an update to the TV app will mean it opens inside the TV app, regardless of which service you are using - unless that service happens to be Netflix, in which case you'll need to go to the Netflix app).
There will be even more choice in terms of what you can watch when Apple launches its upcoming TV+ subscription service on 1 November 2019.
Apple has been spending billions on creating lots of new shows to be streamed via the Apple TV app. In addition to what we saw at the March Showtime event, there have been multiple reports about the different talents Apple is working with and the shows that are being produced.
Apple has bought Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. During the Showtime event keynote, Spielberg said he would be "resurrecting this 93-year-old brand and offering to multi-generational audiences a whole new batch of Amazing Stories".
He revealed that in one story a World War II pilot‘s plane magically travels through space and time from the past and into the present day.
Back in May 2018 it was revealed that 'Once Upon A Time' co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis would be the executive producers on the show.
Each episode will be disconnected, but there will be one compelling narrative running throughout that will link the first season.
This is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic drama set in a future where all humans are blind - except for a pair of twins. It will star Jason Momoa (of Aquaman and Game of Thrones) alongside Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave, Captain America: Civil War) and comes from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and The Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence.
Apparently the show will include scenes of a violent and sexual nature, despite claims that Apple was intent on making only family-friendly shows.
See will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday 1 November. Here's how to watch See
Sesame Workshop: Helpsters
Apple has a deal with Sesame Workshop for a programme that will apparently teach kids to code.
Helpsters will feature a new muppet, called Cody. Cody is described as "a monster who loves to help". This is one of several projects in the works in collaboration with Children's Television Workshop.
The show will premiere on 1 November.
Peanuts: Snoopy in Space
Another one for the kids. This DHX Media project will be developing new Peanuts content with one show called Snoopy in Space.
Snoopy in Space will be available to TV+ subscribers on 1 November.
Little Voices is described as a dramedy set in New York, with characters attempting to find their “authentic voice”. It will be produced by J.J. Abrams with original music by Sara Bareilles.
There will apparently be ten episodes of the show, but the launch date isn't yet known.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
J.J. Abrams will also produce this drama series, based on Amy Silverstein's book about the group of women who supported her when she was waiting for a heart transplant. Staring Jennifer Garner (13 Going On 30, Alias).
This one is being co-written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon who wrote The Big Sick. It's about American immigrants and will be produced by Master of None co-creator/executive producer Alan Yang.
Nanjiani appeared on stage during the Apple event and revealed that each episode will be directed by an immigrant or the children of an immigrant. It is based on the true stories of immigrants, many of which were printed in Epic Magazine’s Little America series.
The Morning Show
Apple has also bought a new drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
The company beat others in a bidding war for the two-season show, based on the book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter. The book looks at the lives of morning TV presenters.
Aniston and Witherspoon will co-star alongside Steve Carell. Aniston and Witherspoon are also co-owners and executive producers along with Michael Ellenberg's Media Res company, which will produce the show. The series was to be written and executive produced by Jay Carson (who was behind House of Cards) but Jay Carson left the project due to "creative differences" according to Variety.Apparently Apple has also voiced concerns about the humour of the script, according to a Wall Street Journal report in September 2018.
The Morning Show will start streaming on 1 November 2019.
A Christmas Carol
Apple's said to be preparing to stream A movie adaption of Dickens' A Christmas Carol starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.
We expect to see this in time for Christmas 2019, although it could be delayed until December 2020.
Apple has signed up Oprah Winfrey to create original programmes for it. The multiyear deal will see Winfrey create “original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” according to a statement from Apple.
Two documentaries are in the works. Toxic Labor looks into sexual harassment in the workplace, the other will focus on mental health and it is said that Prince Harry is collaborating on that documentary.
Oprah will also bring her Book Club to Apple TV+.
Apparently Apple is working on adapting a "gritty Israeli TV show” for the US market. Show-runners Howard Gordon and Warren Leight worked on 24, Homeland and Law and Order. The show centres on two elderly Vietnam vets - one of whom is played by Richard Gere.
This will be Apple’s first International series, an English language adaption of French series Calls. Each story is based around the audio recording of a 999 (911) call. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Calls "takes storytelling innovation to the next level, allowing audiences to experience short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals."
Apple has bought an adaptation of Terry Gilliam's 1981 film Time Bandits. It's the story of six dwarves on the run from the Supreme Being. Gilliam will reportedly be a "non-writing executive partner", according to Deadline.
The two-part series will be co-written and directed by Taika Waititi - who bought us Thor: Ragnarok.
This comedy is coming from Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day and is set in a video game development studio. Apparently the show will will explore the intricacies of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways, according to the Hollywood Reporter. McElhenney will star in the show as well as write for it.
It seems that games studio Ubisoft is involved too.
Based on Gregory David Roberts' 2003 novel, which is based on Roberts' life. The main character is a convict who flees an Australian prison for Bombay where he meets gangsters and criminals.
Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle, The International) will write and produce the series and the lead character will be payed by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim).
Hailee Steinfeld (of Pitch Perfect 2&3, Enders Game and Edge of Seventeen), will star in Dickinson - a series about American poet Emily Dickinson, born in 1830.
It's said to be a coming-of-age comedy about the early life of Dickinson.
Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock) has also joined the cast as the mother of Emily Dickinson, according to Variety.
Dickinson will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on 1 November.
This will be a psychological thriller written by Tony Basgallop. The first of ten half hour episodes will be directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Toby Kibbell, Lauren Abrose and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) will star in the show.
Servant will be premiere on 1 November.
This is a coming-of-age story about a young Muslim girl. It has already been screened at the Sundance Festival.
This is a remake of a 1990's US show. The series follows four kids who must release fictional characters from works of literature with help from a ghost in a bookstore.
The show will be one of those available at launch on 1 November 2019.
Isaac Asimov's Foundation
Apple has landed a TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel trilogy Foundation. It's based in a galaxy where humans live under the control of the Galactic Empire.
According to a Deadline report, the project from Skydance Television will be produced by David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman as well as Skydance's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.
Goyer's credits include The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Ghost Rider, and more. He also co-wrote the upcoming Terminator reboot.
Friedman's credits include Avatar 2, the War of the Worlds remake and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
The show will star Lee Pace (Halt and Catch Fire, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jared Harris (Chernobyl, Mad Men) according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Sky is Everywhere
The Sky is Everywhere will be adapted from a young adult novel of the same name. The protagonist is the younger sister of a girl who died suddenly and the story details how she copes with the loss of her sister, and her developing relationships with the fiance of her sister and another boy who moved to the town.
The Mosquito Coast
This adaptation of the novel The Mosquito Coast will star Justin Theroux (whose uncle published the story and later made it into a movie staring Harrison Ford).
Masters of the Air
This series will be about World War II bombers. It's said to be a follow-up to the hit HBO series Band of Brothers and is the first show to be produced by Apple's own studio, Masters.
This drama series is written, produced and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock from the Sun) as a school teacher struggling to cope with life as an adult in Los Angeles.
This show is being made in conjunction with the BBC and will star Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter). It's an eight-part series that will be released in 2020.
This will be an animated musical comedy series staring Kristen Bell and Josh Gad (who last worked together on Frozen), as well as Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr and Daveed Diggs, Tituss Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Transparent actress Kathryn Hahn and Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci, according to Digital Spy.
The series is based on a family of Central Park caretakers who have to save the world.
It's from the creator of Bob's Burgers, Loren Bouchard and is being co-written with Josh Gad and Nora Smith. Apple is committed to 26 episodes over two seasons.
This is the story of a young hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack of evil wolves, but instead befriends a wild native girl who runs with them. The film comes from Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon.
Swagger is a drama series based on the life of Kevin Durant, a Basketball player. It will be written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood who wrote Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious.It's being
La La Land's Damien Chazelle has been signed up by Apple to write and direct a drama series for Apple.
House of Cards studio MRC is also involved with the show.
Untitled: 'You Think It, I'll Say It'
This Reese Witherspoon-produced show was supposed to star Kristen Wiig but Wiig has left the show and it is currently on hold. The comedy series is based on Curtis Sittenfeld's short story collection titled You Think It, I'll Say It.
For All Mankind
This space drama comes from Star Trek veteran Ronald D. Moore and is set in a universe where the space race never ended. Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) stars as a NASA astronaut.
It will premiere on 1 November.
Truth Be Told
This crime drama, based on a novel called "Are You Sleeping" by Kathleen Barber, sees a murder case reopened after a Serial-style podcast publicises it.
The series is being written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, who also wrote The Good Wife.
Reese Witherspoon's production company, Hello Sunshine, is co-producing it for Apple and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer will star as the protagonist, Josie.
Truth Be Told will debut on 6 December.
CIA undercover agent inspired drama
Brie Larson (Captain Marvell) will star as CIA agent Amaryllis Fox in a show based on Fox's real life experiences. As yet untitled, although a Fox's biography Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA was released in October 2019 so it may use that name.
Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie will star in this film about two 1950’s African American entrepreneurs, Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, who recruited white man, Matt Steiner, to pose as the head of their business empire.
The movie will debut at AFI Fest on 21 November 2019 and then will be released in US cinemas on 6 December.
It should arrive on Apple TV+ on 31 January 2020.
Chris Evans (Captain America) stars as a father who discovers that his 14-year-old son, played by Jaeden Martell (It) is suspected of killing his classmate in this short series based on a novel by William Landry. Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) will also star in the series.
This ten episode series will tour the world's most innovative homes and meeting the people who designed them.
Home Before Dark
This mystery drama is based on a true story. 11-year old aspiring journalist Hilde Lysiak discovers a cold case murder covered up by her town. Staring Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess.
A drama about politicians, scientists, and activists trying to stop climate change in the 1970s and ’80s. The drama is based on a New York Times article that appeared in the summer of 2019.
On the Rocks
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola and staring Bill Murray, this film follows a young mother (Rashida Jones) who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York.
It's not yet known if the film will have a cinema release prior to its release on Apple TV+.
This eight-part miniseries will star Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right, Crazy, Stupid, Love, What Madie Knew) and is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel with King actually writing all the episodes.
It will be produced by J.J Abrams' production company Bad Robot.
Based on Min Jin Lee’s book, Pachinko will tell the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family, touching on the theme of forbidden love in Korea, Japan and America. Staring Soo Hugh.
This comedy series will star Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, a character that appeared in an NBC Sports video a few years ago. The character is an American football coach who goes to coach football in the UK despite not knowing how to play football (or soccer as it's known in the US) and thinking only in terms of American Football.
Natural history series will use CGI to follow the last days of the dinosaurs. It's being produced by BBC Studios' Natural History Unit.
Back in June 2018 Apple was seeking to acquire animation rights to a movie from Academy Award-nominee Cartoon Saloon, according to Bloomberg.
The company was negotiating with Cartoon Saloon - the studio behind Secret of Kells, The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea - for rights to an animation that hadn’t yet been made.
Apple would have to release the film to cinemas prior to making it available for download in order for it to qualify for an Academy Award.
This show was one of the first to be announced as an Apple project, with the Dr. Dre produced show said be a semi-autobiographical tale of Dre’s life. Since 2016 when the show was first discussed there has been no more word, so perhaps it will never happen.
Ed Sheeran documentary Songwriter
Apple is said to be making a documentary about singer Ed Sheeran.
The documentary will be directed by Sheeran's cousin Murray Cummings.
Apparently the documentary will be released in the cinema as well as on Apple’s own platforms (via Deadline).
The Elephant Queen
In this documentary Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble embedded themselves for four years together with the family of a giant elephant matriarch named Athena. The film follows the elephants' search of food and water after their watering hole dries up.
The Elephant Queen will debut on 1 November.
An article in the Daily Telegraph suggested that Apple is in discussions with mobile network EE (which is part of BT) regarding a deal that could see EE distributing Apple TV set-top boxes to its customers.
Should the deal go ahead, EE customers might be able to watch the BT Sport channel via the Apple TV.