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.]
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.
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.
You’re then presented with the iTunes gift card/certificate redemption screen. Depending upon the card you got, the graphic may look familiar.
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.
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).
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.
- What to do with that iTunes gift card you got for Christmas: $25 Edition
- What to do with that iTunes gift card you got for Christmas: $50 Edition