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How to Find Free Apps at the Apple iTunes Store

It used to be easy to use no credit card iTunes apps in iTunes version 10.3 and earlier. Since the 10.4 and 10.5 versions were released, it’s become much harder to log into the iTunes store, select “NONE”, and listen to music without inputting a valid credit card number. Now that 12.3.1 is out, it’s a far cry from the old days when you could download on iTunes without plastic.

That’s a huge issue for people that have no credit card or those who don’t want to use their VISA or Mastercard credit cards, but would still like the modern convenience of what is otherwise the world’s best music downloading platform.

So I’ve done a little research and found out how to use free apps at the iTunes Store without a credit card. It annoys me that people have to jump through hoops to use services online without a credit card. It’s like everything in this world is set up to make lead us down the garden path of lifelong debt. Bah–I’m sounding like a commie. Here’s the information you need.

Creating an iTunes Account without a Credit Card

Apple iTunes Coldplay Commercial - No VISA or MasterCard

This Older Method Should Still Work, But I’ve Added New Fixes for 2015 in Case It Doesn’t.

Here’s the 5-step process to help people starting making downloads if they have a bad FICO score.

  1. Go to iTunes.
  2. If you have an existing account, sign out of your account. If not, proceed.
  3. Click on the i-Tunes Store on the right.
  4. Find a free apps. Install the free application. Note: If you don’t follow this step, everything else becomes impossible.
  5. At this point, you should be prompted to either create a new account or sign in using the old one. Choose to the “New Account” option.

The biggest reason people trip up is they’re asked to “Create Account” in the main Apple iTunes Store. They click “Create Account” and then they have to use a credit card. Do not click on the create-account button on the store site. Instead, go to the free apps page, install the free app, and then be prompted whether you wish to create a new account or sign up under an old one. This is the step where you click on “Create Account”.

The difference in being prompted in the Apple iTunes Store and the free apps store is the main cause of confusion, so I harped on this (perhaps) a little too much.

Using Your Previous Appleid Account

It’s occurred to me that some people don’t want to go into the Apple iPod Store under an alternate email address, so I’d like to introduce one other possibility for those who want to switch over their credit card account as their primary iStore account and make the no-credit option their primary iTunes identity. You’ll need to manager you AppleID to open up the option of using your old email address. Here’s how you do that.

  1. Sign in using your current Apple ID at the appleid.apple.com website.
  2. Click on the “manage account” option. Change your current email address to an alternate email address. This should leave your preferred email address unused, so you can use it when signing up under the “No Credit Card” account you’ve yet to create (in this scenario).

Hack Using Free Apps and Selecting “None”

The following video for “Powlas Hvac” provides a step-by-step tutorial on signing up at the Apple Store without tying it to a credit card. He uses the method of a free app download on the site as a hack. It’s like what we discussed above, but updated for 2014 and 2015. All you need is a separate valid email account and several reliable identity verification questions. This lets you set your child up on the apps store without giving them access to your VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. While we like to think we can trust them, it’s often best that we don’t have to test that theory.

There’s a bit of bad language on this video, so don’t click “Play” if you are offended by the occasional four-letter word. It’s the quickest and best tutorial I found that explains what you need. I hope it helps.

Again, this method is much the same as the one described above, but with a handy video you can start and stop and replay at your own convenience. If you’re like me, it helps to go over the instructions two or three times. Good luck.

What If None of the Above Work?

Many Apple iPod users will find that, for whatever reason, these methods won’t work. Also, even if these tips work now, they might not work in the future, when corporate policies might change. So here’s a fix that should be workable for the foreseeable future–at least until some clever person at Apple figures out how to ruin every possible way of getting around the need for credit cards on their web services. Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy an Apple gift card.

On the positive side, you’ll be able to purchase the cheapest Apple Gift Card or iTunes Gift Card. In fact, the cheaper the gift card, the better it will work. These are perfect gifts these days on your birthday or Christmas, because parents, grandparents, and adult family members have no idea what you want. Simply ask for an Apple or iTunes Gift Card and point out to they can get a cheap one.

Apple iTunes Store - No Credit Card Required

Online Shoppers Should Not Have to Input Their Credit Cards to Download Music and Apps.

When ordering gift cards from older people, keep these instructions as simple as possible, since I’ve seen from experience that parents tend to mess up the simplest instructions when buying gift cards.

I’ve given similar advice to my parents and, on two different occasions, they bought some kind of renewable debit cards instead of the gift cards I specifically stipulated. (Note: My parents example involved their paranoia using credit cards online and wasn’t iTunes related–but I digress.)

Once you have an Apple gift card, use it to set up your new account.

Apple iTunes Store – Downloading with No Credit Card

A favorite gift for kids on their birthdays and during the holidays is an Apple iPad or iPhone. The problem for parents is it opens a Pandora’s box for parents, because they often end up tying a credit card to their children’s apps store account. That can be dangerous for a variety of reasons, even if your child is perfectly responsible. This should help you avoid those pitfalls, without buying a Trojan horse for Christmas, in the form of a mobile device.

All of this might be in vain in a year or two, so I’ll try to keep updating this page for 2016, 2017, and so on. Technology changes all the time. Tech companies’ policies and the pathways to their products change all the time. So people reading all of the above might end up having trouble anyway.

In case that ends up being the case, I’ll link to an Apple iTunes Support page called “Creating an iTunes Store, iBookstore, App Store, and Mac App Store Account without a Credit Card“. The thread discusses this very subject, though it might be dated. Also , there’s a lot of input on the thread, so it might be confusing for some. Hopefully, some bit of this glut of information helps out some iTunes users out there.

Good luck hearing the music.

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