Apple Arcade: A SuperParent Guide
Everything you need to know about Apple's game subscription service.
Apple Arcade was introduced in September of 2019. The game subscription service gives subscribers unlimited access to a curated selection of games for a single monthly price.
Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Arcade.
How does Apple Arcade work?
Apple Arcade is a game subscription service from Apple, the company behind products like the iPhone and iPad. Subscribers to Apple Arcade receive unlimited access to a curated selection of games for a single monthly price.
The games in the Apple Arcade catalog are not allowed to have advertisements or optional in-game purchases. That means there’s no way for kids (or adults) to watch ads or spend real money while playing.
As of this writing, Apple Arcade features more than 200 games, and new games are regularly added to the catalog. Some of these games are completely original, meaning they’ve been created specifically for Apple Arcade, while others are new versions of older games that have been updated for Apple Arcade. For instance, if an older game used to have in-game purchases, these have been removed in the Apple Arcade version of the game.
“Arcade Original” games (the games that have been created specifically for Apple Arcade) can be played on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV devices. Older games are split into two categories -- Timeless Classics and App Store Greats. These Apple Arcade games can only be played on iPhone and iPad devices.
How much does Apple Arcade cost?
Apple Arcade offers a free 1-month trial. After that, the service costs $4.99 per month.
Apple Arcade is also included in Apple’s “Apple One” subscription plans, which allow users to subscribe to multiple Apple services (like Apple Music and Apple TV+) at the same time for a discounted price. Apple One plans start at $14.95 per month for a single user. You can learn more about Apple’s Apple One plans on the company’s website.
Finally, shoppers will receive three months of Apple Arcade access for free when they purchase an Apple device.
Apple Arcade supports Apple’s Family Sharing feature, which means someone can share their subscription with up to five other people in their family.
Is there anything else parents need to know about Apple Arcade?
Many Apple Arcade games support controllers, in addition to offering touch-screen controls. You can tell if a game supports controllers by viewing its page in the Apple Arcade catalog and looking for the “Controller Supported” icon.
In addition, parents should know that games on Apple Arcade have varying age ratings, meaning they've been deemed appropriate for players of different ages. Instead of using the ESRB’s letter rating system, Apple has its own system that gives games a specific age rating. Some of these ratings include 4+ and 9+. You can view a game’s age rating before downloading a game to your device.
You can learn more about Apple Arcade on Apple’s website. Or, while you’re here, check out our list of some of the best kid-friendly games available on the service.
Editor's note (10/13/2021): This article has been updated with additional details about Apple's age rating system.