How to download shows on the Apple TV app for offline viewing on iPhone and iPad

The Channels feature in the redesigned Apple TV app is cool because it lets you sign up for services like HBO without using another app, and it also lets you download movies and TV episodes for offline viewing on your iPhone or iPad. This has long been a feature on dedicate apps for services such as Showtime and Stars, but it’s remarkable in this case because HBO has never allowed it for HBO Go or HBO Now.

The timing couldn’t be better. Apple dropped the new feature just in time for the series finale of Game of Thrones, which means you can use the Apple TV app to catch up on episodes while you’re on train commute rides with spotty connections or on long flights.

Here’s how to download Apple TV app videos to your iPhone or iPad.

How to sign up for a service through Apple TV

First, let’s do a quick rundown on how to subscribe to these services in the first place. If you’re already subscribed to an external service like HBO Now, keep in mind that you’ll have to sign up separately for it through the Apple TV app if you want to download episodes. You can try it out for a week to see if you like it, and then you need to decide if you should cancel your regular HBO Now subscription or stick with Apple TV.

One big drawback of sticking with HBO on the Apple TV app is that you won’t be able to access your Apple TV version of the subscription through the HBO Now app on other devices, so you’ll have to watch it on iOS devices, the Apple TV proper, and recent Samsung TVs. (A Mac version of the app is expected sometime later in the year.)

Here’s how to sign up:

  1. Once you’ve upgraded your device to iOS 12.3, open the Apple TV app. You should be in the Watch Now section by default. If you not, press Watch Now in the lower left.

  2. Scroll down to the section that says Subscribe to Apple TV Channels.

  3. You’ll see a selection of circular icons representing various services. At the time of writing, there are 15 in the U.S. Since we’re focusing on HBO, let’s press HBO.

  4. A new page for HBO will open. Press the big button that says Try It Free.

  5. The Apple Pay prompt will pop up, so use Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to approve the purchase. The fee varies depending on the service.

  6. Agree to the Apple Media Terms & Conditions.

  7. You’re in! If you need to know how to cancel your subscription before the trial ends, check out our dedicated how-to.

how to sign up for channels through apple tv app Leif Johnson

I didn’t include the payment screen for, well, obvious reasons.

How to download episodes and movies for offline viewing through the Apple TV app

You can find the show you’re looking for by opening the Apple TV app and pressing Watch Now in the lower left of the interface. This is handy if you want to browse for episodes within the Channel you’re subscribed to.

In the case of Game of Thrones, you would scroll down to Available Apple TV Channels, press HBO, and then press GoT (which is prominently featured at the time of writing). You’ll then see all the seasons, and you can download episodes individually from there.