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.]


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.


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  • Nicholas Montgomery

    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…

  • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Nicholas Montgomery

    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.

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • Nicholas Montgomery


    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.

  • Sam

    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!


  • Elliott

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

  • Kirk Hiner

    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?

  • Elliott

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

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.?

  • Elliott

    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

    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.

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • Elliott

    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.

  • Judy

    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?

  • matt

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

  • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Sonny

    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.

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • Sonny


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

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

  • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Jessica

    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

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • Jenne

    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?

  • Kirk Hiner

    What country are you in?

  • Asi

    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?

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • David Warren

    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?

  • julie

    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

  • Bryony Meek

    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

  • Kirk Hiner

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

  • debbie

    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

  • bonita millhollin

    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…

  • Terri

    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.

  • Megan Koch

    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


  • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Will

    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?

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.


    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?

  • Kirk Hiner

    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.

  • Taylor

    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.

  • Caitlyn

    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!! :(

  • Maz

    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?

  • Laurie

    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.

    • Kirk Hiner

      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?

  • Vicki

    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?

    • Kirk Hiner

      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.

  • Greis

    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.

    • Kirk Hiner

      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.


    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 ?

    • Kirk Hiner

      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.


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

    • Kirk Hiner

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


    Store in Canada


    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??

  • sey

    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.

    • Kirk Hiner

      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?

      • Seyitan

        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

        • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Seyitan

    Ok, that’ll be fine.

  • ashleigh

    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!

  • http://jumpmanxavier Xavier

    Is the app free or does it cost money?

  • Diane Cere

    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?

  • Jonathon hall

    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?

    • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Jonathan hall

    Hmm that may be it, I believe I did not account for tax

    • Kirk Hiner

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

  • Danielle

    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 :)

  • Louise

    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.

  • http://Itunes Louise

    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.

  • Joe Carpenter

    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 ???

  • Arianna

    Ok. Here I go: I just got a $25 iTunes gift card and I not even joking entered the code a minute ago and when I did it said: “$25 has been credited to your apple ID, you’re balance is $21.13″WTF??? I have a $25 gift card I deserve $25 in my balance…… What the actual FUCK is going on here?!

  • Theodore Ching

    Help! I got a 200 HKD IPhone redeem card, but for some reason, when I entered the code in, it says ‘code invalid’. I tried many times and triple-checked the code, but it still doesn’t work. I really want the 200 HKD so please help me.

    • Kirk Hiner

      An HKD gift card would only be accepted in the HK iTunes Store. Is that where you’re trying to redeem it? If so, and if it’s not working, your only option is to take it back to the store where you purchased it, I believe.

  • Kirk Hiner

    Not sure I understand the question. Did you redeem the card?

  • Hannah

    WoAHHH I have the same name and had this exact problem today. Go to apple support and then manage your Apple ID. You can change your security questions there

  • jordan shaw

    I just bought a card, scratched off the code, impuTed it like you showed, but it says the card was already redeemed. I have video evidence that it’s brand new, but the thing won’t work. Any ideas?

    • Kirk Hiner

      Apple is really good about refunding bad cards, in my experience. Try them here:

  • Tyy Smith

    I just bought a iTunes card. At a place and it says I have to go to the storefront to redeem it how do I redeem it ?