Why you can no longer buy or rent content in Apple’s TV app on Android and Google TV

Learn why you can no longer buy TV shows and films using the official Apple TV software for Android TV and Google TV devices, and what to do about the situation.

Glowing Apple TV+ logo set against an all-dark background
  • Apple’s TV app on Android TV and Google TV no longer includes the Store tab to purchase or rent films and television shows from the iTunes Store.
  • Apple hasn’t said why video rentals and purchases no longer work on Google’s platforms, but affected customers will need to buy shows on another device.
  • Aside from Apple hardware, the Apple TV app is supported on many smart TV sets, gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft and other devices.

Apple removes video rentals and purchases from Google platforms

As first spotted on Reddit, a recent update to the Apple TV app for Google’s platforms has removed the option to buy or rent movies or TV shows on Android TV and Google TV devices. The options were replaced by a new link, labeled with the text “How to Watch.” Read: How to configure your Apple TV the right way

Clicking it displays a message instructing the user to buy video rentals or purchases films using the TV app on other devices. “You can buy, rent, or subscribe in the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, and other streaming devices,” it reads.

Rentals and purchases in the TV app continue to work as expected on other non-Apple platforms such as Roku TV, as well as Samsung and LG smart TVs from Samsung and LG. For those wondering, the option to subscribe to Apple TV+ and download its shows and movies still works as expected as it hasn’t been removed from the app. Read: How to mirror your iPhone or iPad on a smart TV

What to do about this change?

If you use automatic updates on your Android TV or Google TV, the app has already updated to the latest available version. In that case, there’s nothing you can do about it other than follow Apple’s advice and use the app on another platform to buy or rent shows, then you can stream them using the Apple TV app on Android or Google TV.

To continue renting and purchasing movies from the iTunes Store on Google’s platforms, simply avoid updating the Apple TV app to the latest version. Any previosly purchased content from the iTunes Store continues to be accessible in the TV app on Android TV and Google TV, whether you’re using the latest version or not.

Why is Apple restricting video rentals?

Video rentals and purchases used to be normally supported on Google’s platforms before this update. It’s unclear what might have prompted this sudden change of heart on Apple’s part. It could be something as simple as a bug, in which case Apple should issue an update to re-enable this functionality.

But this isn’t very likely. The most obvious culprit could be Google’s 30 percent commission fee charged on in-app purchases for Android apps. Now, we don’t know whether Google is giving Apple preferential treatment for these purchases in form of a lower fee. But the fact that Apple has decided to remove the purchasing and renting options from the app on Google’s platforms suggests otherwise.

At any rate, we’ll be making sure to update this article with Apple’s statement as soon as the company comments publicly on the situation.