An oft-frustrating thing with renting movies on iTunes is that users are locked to finishing a film on the device they watched it on initially. So when they rent a specific film using an iPhone, that same film can't be watched on other iDevices. Until now, at least.
iTunes Movie Rentals Just Got Better Cross-Platform Support
Apple has now introduced a "rent once, watch anywhere" feature with the arrival of iTunes 12.6, which signals that the company is loosening its restrictions on movie rentals in the iTunes Store. No longer will users be forced to finish a movie on the iDevice they initially rented it on.
iOS 10.3, however, is still in its late beta-testing stages, although a wide rollout of the newest OS update shouldn't be far off, since a software update is required for the rent once, watch anywhere feature.
The same goes for tvOS 10.2 for Apple TVs, which Apple has yet to give out a specific release schedule for. The update to iTunes's movie rentals does make it seem more imminent, though.
Previous Methods Of Transferring iTunes Movie Rentals
Of course, transferring iTunes movie rentals weren't entirely impossible. As AppleInsider notes, in the past, Apple allowed users to transfer rented movies to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, but that content would literally transfer to the new device and disappear from the iTunes library on Mac or PC. Conversely, a film rented using Apple's mobile devices couldn't be transferred to iTunes on desktop. As a recourse, Apple instead allowed movie rentals on mobile devices to be streamed to Apple TV devices using AirPlay.
The new approach, which does away with all the restrictive transferring and removing, seems like a more simple approach for anyone who just wants to relax, pop a movie open, and not have to worry about using the proper device to watch it on. It's a rare move for Apple to be this lax in terms of its ecosystem, since it's often keenly particular about these aspects.
That's not to say, however, that Apple has totally freed up restrictions. Rentals on iTunes still come with a number of limits as detailed in Apple's support page, but the new watch anywhere feature is a welcome update that simply makes sense.
How To Download iTunes 12.6
iTunes 12.6 is a free update from Apple, and it can be downloaded by clicking "Check for Updates" in the iTunes file menu.
The iTunes updates follows Apple's string of announced devices for March, including a Product(RED) iPhone 7 and a new 9.7-inch iPad to replace the iPad Air 3.
Thoughts about Apple's new rent once, watch anywhere feature? Does it ease your movie rental watching habits? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!