Watching Rented Movies on Multiple Devices
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have two Apple TVs in my home, one in my bedroom and one in the family room. If I rent a movie on either of my Apple TVs, it shows up on both and I seem to be able to start or continue watching it from either. I’m wondering, however, if there is a way to access a rented movie on my iPad or iPhone? A friend of mine seems to think this is possible, or at least was with the original Apple TV, but I can’t seem to figure out a way to do it. Any suggestions?
A: With the second- and third-generation Apple TV models, any movies you rent can only be accessed directly from the Apple TV, although as you’ve noted they are shared between multiple Apple TV devices using the same iTunes Store account. These movies are actually streamed directly from Apple’s servers and only temporarily cached on the Apple TV during viewing; for whatever reason Apple has not chosen to make these rented items available to other devices.
If you know before you actually rent a movie that you may want to watch it on different devices, however, you can choose to instead rent it directly through iTunes on your Mac or PC. Movies rented in this manner can be streamed from your computer to any Apple TV on the same home network, or can be transferred to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. For the Apple TV, rented movies will simply appear alongside your purchased movies under “Movies” in your “Computers” section; if you have video playlists enabled in your Apple TV settings, a “Rentals” virtual playlist will also appear if there are any rented items in your iTunes library.
For viewing an iTunes-rented movie on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you must move the rental to a specific device using the iTunes sync process; once moved, it can be viewed only on that specific device until it is moved back. All of the same rental time restrictions apply and will transfer along with the movie rental.
You can also rent movies directly from the iTunes app on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, however you will only be able to watch these directly on those devices, or streamed to an Apple TV via AirPlay; movies rented on an iOS device cannot be transferred back to iTunes. Note that this restriction only applies to 2010 and later iOS devices, namely the iPad, iPhone 4/4S/5 and fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch.
Keep in mind as well that movies are not streamed to an iOS device, but are instead downloaded, and you must therefore have enough storage on your device for whatever movie(s) you are renting until you have finished watching them; on average this is about 1.5GB for a standard-definition movie, 4GB for a 720p HD title, or 6GB for a 1080p title, depending of course on the length of the movie.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- Cook discusses ambitious plan to beef up Apple Watch’s health monitoring
- New leak shows dual camera exclusive to ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ but no Smart Connector
- Apple releases first developer betas for iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2
- More iPhone 7 leaks surface, protruding camera seen
- Apple pulls iOS 9.3.2 update for 9.7” iPad Pro due to ‘bricking’ issues
- Report: CarPlay coming to BMW vehicles later this year
- Report: One iPhone model to use a glass casing next year
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)