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The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Apple Arcade Games After Subscription Ends

The short answer is unfortunately no. Once your Apple Arcade subscription expires or is canceled, you will lose access to all Apple Arcade games and will no longer be able to play them.

Even if you have already downloaded the games to your device, you cannot open or launch them without an active subscription. However, there are a few things you can do to maximize your playtime and access before canceling. Keep reading for my full guide and tips!

An In-Depth Look at Apple Arcade and How It Works

As your tech-savvy friend, let me give you a quick refresher on what Apple Arcade is and how the service works.

Apple Arcade is a gaming subscription service from Apple that gives you unlimited access to a catalog of over 200 premium, exclusive games across Apple devices. For one low monthly fee of $4.99, you can download and play all the games in the catalog with no limits or extra purchases required.

When you subscribe to Apple Arcade, you get a few key benefits:

  • No ads: All games are completely ad-free.
  • No in-app purchases: There are no extra transactions or fees beyond the subscription.
  • Support across devices: Play on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
  • New games added regularly: Apple adds new games frequently.
  • Play offline: No internet connection required once downloaded.

It‘s an awesome deal for mobile gaming fans! But there are limitations once that subscription ends. Let‘s get into it…

What Happens When Your Apple Arcade Subscription Lapses

Here‘s the key thing to know:

Once your Apple Arcade subscription expires or is canceled, you will immediately lose access to all of the games in the catalog. This includes any games you have already downloaded to your device.

Without an active subscription, the Apple Arcade games cannot launch and you‘ll see an error if you try opening them. Essentially, the games are locked until you resubscribe.

According to Apple‘s support site:

If you cancel your subscription, you can‘t play any Apple Arcade games, even if you downloaded them to your device. Delete the apps if you don‘t want them anymore.

So unfortunately, there is no way to keep playing Apple Arcade games indefinitely after canceling. But don‘t worry, I have some tips for maximizing your access below!

Maximizing Your Apple Arcade Game Access

While you can‘t play without an active subscription, there are a few things you can do to optimize your Apple Arcade access:

Take Advantage of Free Trial Periods

Apple offers a 1 month free trial of Apple Arcade to new subscribers. So if you haven‘t used that yet, sign up to get 1 month of free play.

Additionally, Apple sometimes offers free access periods to win back previous subscribers. Keep an eye out for any promotions offering 2-3 months free.

Utilize Family Sharing

You can share an Apple Arcade subscription with up to 5 family members through Family Sharing. By splitting the $4.99 monthly fee, you can save some money.

Download Your Favorite Games Before Canceling

Make sure to download any "must play" games before your subscription runs out. You‘ll be able to hang onto these games and play them if you resubscribe later.

Buy Individual Games If Possible

When an Apple Arcade exclusive game leaves the service, the developer may release it as a regular paid app. If you really loved a specific game, buy it on the App Store if available.

Use App Store Gift Cards

You may be able to use Apple App Store gift cards or reward points to cover the $4.99 monthly subscription fee. This lets you play for free using credits.

Set Reminders to Resubscribe

To avoid losing access to your downloaded games, set reminders to resubscribe a few days before the renewal date. You can resubscribe immediately to keep playing.

Contact Apple Support

If you have issues redownloading games or accessing purchases, reach out to Apple support. They can help restore your access.

What About Game Progress and Save Data?

Your game progress is stored separately from the games themselves. According to Apple:

You can use iCloud and Game Center to keep your progress, high scores, and game saves up-to-date across your devices.

As long as you are signed into the same iCloud and Game Center accounts, your progress will be synced across devices.

If a specific Apple Arcade game gets released for individual purchase, the developer may enable transferring your save data. But this is on a game-by-game basis.

Should You Subscribe to Apple Arcade?

Here‘s a quick pros vs cons breakdown of Apple Arcade:

Pros

  • Huge games catalog with exclusives
  • No ads or in-app purchases
  • New games added frequently
  • Play across all Apple devices
  • Generally very affordable

Cons

  • No game ownership after canceling
  • Occasional connection issues
  • Small number of "must-have" games
  • Can‘t share games with friends easily

For casual gamers looking to try out a variety of mobile games, Apple Arcade offers a very solid value. But for hardcore gamers interested in only a few specific titles, it may not be worth it.

Evaluate your own gaming habits and budget to decide if the $4.99 per month is a good fit. And use the tips above to maximize your access even after you unsubscribe! Let me know if you have any other Apple Arcade questions.