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How to redeem iTunes gift cards

Sections: Features, Home and Personal, How-To, iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod, iPod touch, iTunes, Mac Software, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Originals, Software

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Being the go-to Mac guy amongst my family and some friends, I’m no longer surprised by the questions I’m asked. Or how many times I’m asked. This is the case with iTunes gift cards. They’re becoming more and more common as the popularity of the Mac and iPhone/iPod continues to grow, but the giver doesn’t always understand that the recipient may be new to these devices and is unaware of how they work. Thankfully, it’s actually quite basic once you know where to go.

[Update: In some countries, iTunes does not allow for app purchases to be made with a gift card. Check the iTunes policy for your country for app compatibility.]

iTunes

If you’re downloading music/videos for your Mac, or the same plus games for your iPhone or iPod touch, you can easily handle all of this through iTunes. iPhone and iPod touch owners will already have an account. If you’re a Mac user checking out iTunes for the first time, you’ll need to create your account. Apple has basic instructions on this at their support site.

Okay, now that we’re all past that, let’s hit the iTunes App Store. Log in, if you haven’t already. You do that by clicking on “Sign In” in the upper right of the window and filling in your information. If you’re already logged in, you’ll see your account name here instead of “Sign In.”

With this done, on the left hand side, you’ll see the little green shopping bag icon next to “iTunes Store.” Click on that.

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

After a loading period, you’ll see the welcome screen of the store hawking the latest releases. Ignore all of that and look up at the upper right of the window. Just under “Quick Links” you’ll see “Redeem.” Click on that.

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

You’re then presented with the iTunes gift card/certificate redemption screen. Depending upon the card you got, the graphic may look familiar.

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

Enter the code on your card here. The amount of the card will be applied to your account, and you’re set to start shopping.

iPhone / iPod touch

Suppose you’re not near your computer, though. Maybe you’re trapped at a gathering and you really need some distraction. Apple feels your pain, and they’ve made it possible to get your credit applied to your account directly with the iPhone and iPod touch.

The first thing you’ll want to do is launch the App Store app (likely on your home screen, unless you moved it). Once you’re in, tap the “Featured” button on the bottom left of the screen.

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

After this, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the list to find the “Redeem” icon (with thick sarcasm, I would like to thank Apple for making this so easy to find).

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

Tap this, and you’ll see the blank field for entering your code. If you’re not logged in, you’ll be asked to do so. Then, the money will be in your account. Feel free to start downloading. Looking for some ideas? Katie Gatto has offered some recommendations for both $25 and $50 budgets.

Enjoy!

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67 Comments

  1. Any ideas when I get an error that my free song code isn't valid?

    I'm bit a confused as I entered a code from a $15 giftcard, not a free song code…

    Nicholas Montgomery
  2. Not sure. Where'd you buy the card? Are you entering it through iTunes or through an iPod touch or iPhone?

    Kirk Hiner
  3. iTunes. I'm not sure, I got it as a gift. Maybe I should try US Store as well, it might have been a store problem.

    Nicholas Montgomery
  4. Ah, yes, that's likely it. The international stores don't play well together, so a gift card purchased in the U.S. may only be good in the U.S. store.

    Kirk Hiner
  5. @Terri

    I noticed this as well. It seems you can't buy apps you can only buy music with an iTunes giftcard. Correct me if I'm wrong, but every time I purchased an app it used my credit card, and for a song it used the money from the giftcard.

    Nicholas Montgomery
  6. I entered a $10 gift card, and it worked and says I have $10, but when I try to buy a movie that is $9.99 it says I don't have enough credit!

    PlEASE HELP ME!

    Sam
  7. Well entered my redeem code in but it didnt add the money…anyone know why/how to fix this ??

    Elliott
  8. Sam, is there tax on the movie?

    Elliott, not sure. Did you enter the code through iTunes or the iPhone? Did it give you any sort of confirmation?

    Kirk Hiner
  9. Yes it did confirm. I did it on my iPhone but my money has not been added.

    Elliott
  10. Nicholas, I'm pretty sure the Canadian iTunes store still does not allow gift cards to be used for app purchases, whereas you now can in the U.S. I'll update the article to point that out.

    Elliott, are you in the U.S.?

    Kirk Hiner
  11. Actually im in the UK. Unfortunately i can no longer re-enter the code as my iphone states that this card has already been used.(By me).

    Elliott
  12. JUst recieved this message when used on the computer: The Gift card or Itunes card has not been activated. See the retailer for more assistance.
    How can i do that if i bought it from a super store.

    Elliott
  13. Gift cards have to be activated by the store (usually the cashier) when you purchase it to verify they haven't been stolen. It's possible the cashier messed that up, or didn't do it. Can you take the card back to the store for activation? You may need the receipt.

    Kirk Hiner
  14. Alright may have to do that. Grrr. Thats my own money ive spent and now i have to waste more time for £15. Very annoying becuase of the cashier. She should have noticed that i guess. I'll have to ask every time i buy one from now on…

    Thanks for the answer.

    Elliott
  15. I redeem my $20 itunes card, after i was browsing around foo apps,(but on top of the right had corner i see the credit of $20.00)
    After my itunes frozed, so i shut it down, now when i went back on itunes, the credit is not there anymore, i tried to redeem again, but it said already redeemed, how can use the card?

    Judy
  16. Um when I went to the app store and scrolled to the bottom of featured, the redeem icon wasn't there. Advice?

    matt
  17. Is the "New" tab selected at the top? "What's Hot" and "Genius" don't have the Redeem link.

    Kirk Hiner
  18. Hi there,

    I'm from Canada, I purchased a I-tunes gift-card, went and redeemed it. Shows a 15$ credit at the top right of I-tunes. Which I understand that can be used to make purchases with.

    I went to the game apps, went to go buy an app, and it takes me directly to the method of payment page. Doesn't even register I have a 15$ credit.

    And help would be appreciated.

    Sonny
  19. Hello, Sonny. Unless it's been recently changed the Canadian iTunes store doesn't allow you to use gift cards for app purchases. As far as I know, that can only be done currently in the U.S.

    Kirk Hiner
  20. CRAP!

    Thanks Kirk, even though you bare bad news, I appreciate the response.

    (at least didn't spend large, went with the 15$ gift card)

    Sonny
  21. Well, you could always buy some good music or a movie with it!

    Kirk Hiner
  22. i used to have a ipod shuffel and nowi got a ipod nano and i for everything to my ituens acount so i made a new one how do i get my old music to my new acount and finsh useing the old ituns card with my new wmail and itunes acount

    Jessica
  23. That one's tricky Jessica, because Apple now sees those as two separate accounts. You may have to log out of your new account, log into the old one and use the card.

    As for transferring your old songs to the new account, I'd give an Apple a call to see if they have a quick way to do it, although I doubt it. If that's the case, report back here and I can recommend some programs that'll allow you to export them from the old iTunes account and then import them into the new one.

    Kirk Hiner
  24. I redeemed my gift card and did not try to use it for 6 days…….when I tried to use the money it disappeared. I double checked my purchases with my credit card and it equals out. Any suggestions?

    Jenne
  25. What country are you in?

    Kirk Hiner
  26. I can't redeem my Itunes Gift cos I'm outside of US, and i can't change my country because it wont match my billing address. Help?

    Asi
  27. From what I understand, you don't need to verify the physical billing address, so you can always just enter a fake one (should probably make sure it's an actual address, though). I know quite a few people who have set up fake Japanese addresses so they can purchase music from iTunes Japan.

    Kirk Hiner
  28. In have been buying apps in the U.S. with ITunes cards. Now I'm in Canada and the ITunes card I bought here won't work here. Is there any way I can make it work, or do I just give it away?
    HELP!!!
    David.

    David Warren
  29. ok so i redeemed my $15 itunes card and on the home screen on the top right it sayes i have $15 but when i try to buy a song it sayes i have to pay with my credit card even though i have $15 to spend please help

    julie
  30. I entered my gift card details after I received it at Christmas it has always shown my balance as being £15 which was the card value but now when I want to spend £1.89 it does not allow me to use my credit HELP PLEASE

    Bryony Meek
  31. Bryony, what type of card was it (music store or app store) and what are you trying to purchase?

    Kirk Hiner
  32. HI
    Similar problem to the above. I have a credit on Itunes but when attempting to purchase a song, it takes me to the credit card details
    How can I pay for a song from the account credit
    Any advice would be appreciated

    debbie
  33. I redeemed a gift card and the amount shows up at the top of the page but when I try to purchase anything i am not getting any access to the money, I just get the page where you enter credit info…

    bonita millhollin
  34. I redeemed my itunes card and on my account it says that I have a $15.00 credit but when I go to buy an app it takes me to the credit card page.

    Terri
  35. I have pressed redeem and it says my code is not valid and I have used it before and I still have got a lot of money on there

    PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!

    Megan Koch
  36. If you used your code already, the credit should be in your account. You don't have to enter the code twice.

    Kirk Hiner
  37. Okay, so I live in Canada, and my dad lives in the states, and he got me an iTunes gift card, but I can't redeem the gift card cuz it's only in the US store that I can redeem it (I guess), can you help me figure this out, please?

    Will
  38. As far as I know, U.S. gift cards can't be redeemed with a Canadian account. You can create a U.S. account using a bogus U.S. address, but it won't be tied to your normal account.

    Kirk Hiner
  39. I got an itunes card as a gift and redeemed it but every time I try to purchase a movie it keeps taking me to my billing information. what to do?

    ELISA
  40. Have you already created an iTunes account? Even if you're redeeming a gift card, you need to create an iTunes account with a billing address in the country of the iTunes store you're logged into.

    Kirk Hiner
  41. I have $25 on my account but when I try to purchase a song it takes me to my credit card information. I have no idea what to do.

    Taylor
  42. for the first time i was given an itunes giftcard for $30. It's a music one. I redeemed the code and i have the $30.00 up in the right hand corner next to my username. YES… BUT BUT BUT… now every time i go to buy a song, it asks me to confirm my credit card details… or to enter a giftcard… (i tired entering the gift card again but of course it says it's already been redeemed.)
    HOW can i access this $30.00 on my account to buy songs. i want to support the industry and buy things legally… but this is so hard!! :(

    Caitlyn
  43. Hey I redeemed my gift card on my Iphone and the money appears at the bottom in the app store. But when I'm on my mac and i'm on iTunes the credit hasn't come up. I don't know why this is it's the same account and it shows me everything i've purchased on my iphone but i can't purchase on itunes because the credit doesn't appear?
    Can somebody help?

    Maz
  44. hey so i just got this 15 dollar itunes giftcard and i put in on my itouch and it said that i have entered a $15 gift card but my balance is $5.87….can someone help me fix this please?!?! it makes no sense. oh and i live in the US.

    Laurie
    • Are you getting that balance on your iPod touch or when you log into iTunes on your computer? Is there a difference between the two or do they both read $5.87?

      Kirk Hiner
  45. Hi I redeemed my £25 gift card and when I go on my account it says I have £25 but when I try and buy a song it takes me to my billing info and won’t let me use the money I redeemed.
    What shall I do?

    Vicki
    • Is the gift card for the App Store or the iTunes music store? I’ll have to check to see if the U.K. still has them separate.

      Kirk Hiner
  46. Okay so what if you have an AppleID and you entered your iTunes giftcard code into there when you were creating your AppleID (because you wanted to download Apps so you went to the App store where you ended up creating your AppleID account) can you use that money that you eneterd in the App store for iTunes? Because I logged into iTunes and it says that my balance is 25.00$ and I don’t know if I can use it to buy music and I want to make sure.

    Greis
    • In the U.S., app store and music store balances are interchangeable, so you can use the gift cards for either. That may not be the case in all countries, though.

      Kirk Hiner
  47. I have a $30 I tunes card bought in the states i did no know that they are not valid in Canada I brought the card back but they won’t take it back because the lable is scrached . Wat do I do ?

    Eda FEREGOTTO
    • I think your only option is to see if you can find someone in the States to buy it from you…provided you haven’t redeemed it yet.

      Kirk Hiner
  48. If I bring it to an apple store will they ghive me my money back?? Don’t now eny body in states !!!

    Eda FEREGOTTO
    • Apple won’t refund your money for a gift card purchase, I’m afraid.

      Kirk Hiner
  49. Store in Canada

    Eda FEREGOTTO
  50. i had a 10$ gift card and i bought music and i had 0.14$ left on it i couldnt spend music on it so i wanted to have a gift card be off of the computer so i could just purchase the music with out a gift card so what do i do??

    aol@515.com
  51. Hey, I tried redeeming my card but, it says Your iTunes Store(United States) doesnt match that of the gift certificate(Canada). Can you please help me find a way to get the money into my account.

    sey
    • You may be out of luck. Cards purchased outside the U.S. don’t work in the U.S. iTunes store. Does the back of the card indicate the country in which the card was purchased?

      Kirk Hiner
      • Yup, its from Canada like I said earlier, Your iTunes Store(United States) doesnt match that of the gift certificate(Canada). But thanks I checked out the Apple Store Support, and contacted them

        Seyitan
        • Let us know what they say, as their response tends to differ from year to year.

          Kirk Hiner
  52. Ok, that’ll be fine.

    Seyitan
  53. hey!
    recently bought an iPad so I’m trying to get all the cool apps that i want/need. when ever i try to get the app i want, it has a pop-up to enter my AppleID, as well as all my details, but then asks for a gift card code – of which i don’t have. If i click to confirm all of it, it redirects me to the same pop-up and says it requires a gift code before i can go further.
    This is obviously very frustrating so any advice would be great!

    ashleigh
  54. Is the app free or does it cost money?

    Xavier
  55. I entered a gift card a few months ago into the Ipad. Unfortunately, the purchases I made went through my credit card. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how to redeem the $50 credit I have against the purchase of books. Can someone help?

    Diane Cere
  56. Hi I just got a 15$ iTunes gift card and I entered the code. I then went to the App Store (card registered successfully) and bought a ten dollar game. I then went to get another game that was 5 dollars yet it says I do not have enough credits….any help?

    Jonathon hall
    • Did the tax on the purchase take you below $5 credit?

      Kirk Hiner
  57. Hmm that may be it, I believe I did not account for tax

    Jonathan hall
    • It likely pushed you to the point that you’ll have to find a $3.99 game to stay within the $15 total.

      Kirk Hiner
  58. I bought a samsung tablet and would like to transfer my songs from itunes to the tablet any way i can do this.

    p.s. I am not a techie person :)

    Danielle
  59. Everytime I buy from iTune, they always charge me double. Am I the only one?? It is really kind of annoying having to check my balance and to see they took more on my account. Again last night, you charged me $$$ 9.02 and the App was 2.99 + taxes. What is going on, I feel as if you steel me every way you can. Very upsetting. This is not the first time I write to you for the same problem.

    Louise
  60. I truely recommand not to buy itunes cards. They take money out of your account and believe me, you do not have to buy anything. Lots of people i know experienced the same thing. I do not think that it is fair of their part. I have send them emails many many times, and they never replied. Another proof that they just dont care about their costumers. Quit buying their cards.

    Louise
  61. Having possessed a previous credit of $25.00, why can’t I make a purchase ? Does I-tunes make everyone chase their tails till they lose their senses and decide it’s just as well to chew their tails off instead ???

    Joe Carpenter