Renting a movie online is as simple as a few clicks – here’s a full breakdown of all the major rental services

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Movie rental services 4x3
You can rent new movies from services like Prime video, Vudu, Apple TV, Google TV, and FandangoNow.

  • There are a number of online services that let you rent movies to stream at home.
  • Popular video rental services include Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and FandangoNow.
  • Movie rentals typically last 48 hours after you start watching a film.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Remember when renting a movie meant going to a store? Times have changed for the movie industry. With video rental chains a relic of the past, online streaming has become the new standard for renting movies to watch at home.

With multiple services to choose from – including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and FandangoNow – it’s never been easier to find a film worth renting on a smart TV, media player, or mobile device. These platforms all allow you to browse through a huge catalog of digital films, enabling you to pay for rentals individually rather than as part of a subscription.

To help make your next movie night at home more enjoyable, we’ve broken down some of the basics of renting streaming films from a variety of services. So, put a bag of popcorn in your microwave and pick up your controller or tablet – there are a lot of great movies out there waiting to be discovered.

What services can you rent streaming movies from?

Services like Vudu, Google Play Movies, Apple TV, and FandangoNow all offer a comprehensive assortment of movies that you can rent individually without a subscription. Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, actually offers individual rentals in addition to its subscription service for Prime members.

Once you’ve created an account with any of the above services and added your payment details, renting a title is as simple as a few clicks. In most cases, you can simply browse through the platform’s website or download the service’s app. After finding the title you want, you simply click on the movie and complete the instructions to confirm your rental.

How much do streaming movies cost to rent?

Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, FandangoNow, and Google Play all let you rent movies for as little as $3, though most newer releases top out at $8 depending on the quality you choose. Brand-new movies that are still playing in theaters can cost a bit more, however, with some in-theater titles going for as much as $20 to rent.

How long can you stream movies after you rent them?

You typically get 30 days to start watching a title once you rent it. After you press play, you usually have 48 hours before your rental expires.

Can you buy streaming movies to keep permanently?

In many cases you can choose to buy a digital movie instead of just renting it. This will allow you to stream it whenever you want for as long as you want. Digital movie purchases typically range in price from $5 to $30 depending on how new a film is. 4K Ultra HD versions of movies are sometimes more expensive than high definition (HD) or standard definition (SD) versions.

It should be noted, however, that digital purchases aren’t quite as permanent as buying a DVD or Blu-ray. When you make a digital movie purchase, you’re essentially buying the license to keep streaming that title from the service you’ve selected. But, if that service somehow goes out of business or loses the rights to the title you bought, it’s possible that you’ll lose access to your digital copy.

Can you rent brand-new movies still playing in theaters?

In response to theater closures during the pandemic, studios have allowed people to stream many brand-new movies that would otherwise be exclusive to theaters.

Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNow, and Google Play all offer these “in-theater” titles. Disney Plus also releases select in-theater movies via “Premier Access,” which requires an extra fee in addition to your regular subscription. Depending on the studio, some titles might only be available to rent, while others are only available to buy.

Prices for in-theater rentals can be as high as $30 per title. This may seem expensive if you’re planning to watch “Spiral: From The Book of Saw” on your own, but if you’re a parent with kids who would have otherwise spent a small fortune to see “Raya and the Last Dragon” in a theater – this is a steal. Rental prices are also reduced over time – “Raya,” for instance, is now just $6 to rent through VOD, or free to stream with a Disney Plus subscription.

cruella emma stone hq 1
Emma Stone in “Cruella.”

Some notable ‘in-theater movies’ currently available to rent or own include:

Since the movie selection is about the same no matter which rental service you choose, picking a platform to use really comes down to choosing the app that works best on the devices you own. Below, we’ve broken down some key details for all of the major digital movie retailers.

Vudu

Vudu streaming app
The Vudu app interface is easy to navigate.

Vudu is available on many devices and even includes a selection of free movies with commercials.

Vudu maintains a massive inventory of titles to rent at various price points. The service used to charge more for 4K versions of its titles, but most movies are now priced the same regardless of their video quality.

The Vudu app is readily available on many platforms and recently expanded its support to Amazon Fire TV, which was one of the few devices it was missing from. We also like that its app tends to work well and support most features no matter what platform you use it on.

Vudu also has an edge over some competing services thanks to its “Free With Ads” selection. This collection of titles rotates practically every week, and though there are ads, breaks are rarely lengthy or too intrusive. So, if you’re trying to entertain on a budget and don’t feel like paying for a rental — this is one of the best options available.

Apple TV

apple tv plus
You can rent movies and sign up for Apple TV Plus in the same app.

Apple TV ties in seamlessly with the rest of Apple’s services.

Apple offers a large selection of movies to rent through its Apple TV app on a variety of connected devices. Though in-app transactions were originally limited to web browsers and mobile devices, you can now rent movies directly from the Apple TV app on most media players and smart TVs. 

The Apple TV app is also a strong performer when it comes to general video and audio quality. The service offers one of the largest 4K rental selections, giving you the best overall AV experience for your dollar.

As a bonus, the Apple TV app is also home to the Apple TV Plus streaming service. You have to pay a subscription fee of $5 a month to unlock Apple TV Plus content, but it’s convenient to be able to access TV Plus shows and movies in the same app as your rentals.

On the downside, the Apple TV app is not available on Android mobile devices.

FandangoNow

FandangoNow streaming app
FandangoNow lets you rent movies to watch on many devices.

FandangoNow is the only rental service with IMAX Enhanced movies for high-quality streaming on select Sony TVs.

Like all of the digital rental stores on our list, FandandgoNow offers a large selection of movies to choose from. The platform is also available on most connected devices, and was recently added to Apple TV products.

The service has been in the 4K streaming game a long time now and they do an impressive job bringing high quality picture and audio to homes. FandangoNow is also the only rental service currently offering support for the IMAX Enhanced format. This tech offers specially optimized HDR picture and DTS sound on supported Sony TVs.

If you have a Dolby Vision compatible TV or a Dolby Atmos audio setup, however, you’ll likely want to opt for Vudu or Apple TV since FandangoNow does not currently support those formats. 

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video has a big selection of rental options in addition to its subscription library.

Prime Video has a huge library of movies you can pay to rent, even if you’re not a Prime subscriber.

Amazon Prime Video does a lot of things right, and it provides an impressive list of digital rentals you can buy without a subscription. If you’re a Prime member you also gain the added benefit of a massive number of movies and shows as part of your subscription. On top of that — similar to Vudu — Amazon Prime offers a small selection of “Free With Ads” titles sponsored by IMDB.

Prime Video is one of the only digital retailers currently offering support for the HDR10+ format. With that said, the platform’s Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support is sorely lacking as there are very few titles that offer those features. 

On that note, my main problem with Prime Video is its lack of clear format and quality labels. 4K HDR viewing options aren’t always available and it’s not even always clear whether a title is supposed to include those features or not.

Depending on the device you’re using, you often have to hunt specifically for the 4K UHD version of a movie or show to see if that option exists.

Google Play Movies/YouTube

Google Play Movies streaming app
Google Play Movies is available on Android devices, while YouTube offers the same selection on smart TVs.

Google Play Movies and YouTube are both convenient rental service for Android users.

When it comes to movie selection, Google is basically on par with the other services on our list. That said, Google appears to be in the process of phasing out the Google Play Movies app. As reported by Variety, the service is no longer available on Roku devices or smart TVs from Samsung, LG, and Vizio. Instead, you can rent movies directly through Google’s YouTube app on those devices.

YouTube doesn’t have the best interface for highlighting Google’s selection of movie rentals, but the rental process works about the same as any other service once you’ve found a movie you’d like to watch.

Google Play Movies is still available as an app on Android devices, however, and I prefer this mobile interface for renting movies. It easily allows me to find what titles I have in my digital library and what titles offer 4K, as well as navigate new rentals and purchase options, shop deals, and browse what new “in-theater” titles are available.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to backup an iPhone to iCloud, to a computer through iTunes, or to an external hard drive

  • You’ll likely want to backup your iPhone’s data with iCloud storage, but there are ways to backup an iPhone without using iCloud. 
  •  You can also delete previous backups and find storage space for new ones. 
  • Here’s how to backup an iPhone to iCloud, to a computer through iTunes, and to an external hard drive.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

How well do you know your iPhone‘s various backup options?

Like many iPhone users, you might have set your phone to back up automatically and not given it another thought. That is, until you run out iCloud storage or hard-drive space.  

Or maybe you just like to handle your backups manually.

In this feature, we’ll show you how to backup your iPhone to iCloud, your computer through iTunes, or to a hard drive, as well as how to locate backups, delete old ones, and save backups to an external hard drive.

How to backup your iPhone with iCloud

Backing up with iCloud is convenient. It can be done over WiFi and in the background so you don’t have to think about it. But should you want to back up your phone via iCloud manually from your phone or adjust your settings, here’s how you do it.

1. Tap the Settings icon on your phone and select your username where it says “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store.”

icloud4
Select your username in Settings.

2. Next, select “iCloud” from the menu.

icloud2
Select “iCloud.”

3. Now, select “iCloud Backup” and toggle it to “On,” if it’s in the “Off” position.

icloud5.0
Click “iCloud Backup” and choose to automatically backup your phone, or “Back Up Now.”

4. From here, you can select “Back Up Now” to back up your iPhone manually. If you leave iCloud backup on, your Mac will back up your files daily, as long as you’re on WiFi and connected to a battery source, according to Apple. So plug your phone in at night before bed and your files should back up regularly.

What to do if you run out of iCloud storage

Apple only gives you 5 GB of free space on iCloud. If you have multiple Apple devices backed up to iCloud – or even one reasonably full 10 GB iPhone – that space runs out quick.

At that point, you will be prompted to upgrade your storage space.

The good news is that iCloud storage is cheap. It’s just $0.99 per month for 50 GB, $2.99 per month for 200 GB, and $9.99 per month for a whopping 2 TB. The latter two plans you can also share with your family.

How to backup your iPhone to iTunes on a computer

itunes1
Backup your iPhone to iCloud or your computer through iTunes.

If, however, like this humble author, you’re a bit more frugal, you can eschew iCloud altogether and backup to your physical computer.

iTunes lets you select where you want to backup your devices, letting you choose between iCloud and your laptop hard drive. And, with a little finagling, you can find these backups and move and delete them as you see fit.

Note, however, that Apple is soon going to shut down iTunes on Mac computers. It will still be available on PCs for the foreseeable future, but Mac users will have to perform this step through their Finders instead.

Here’s how to do it on Windows and Mac for the time being. 

1. Open iTunes with your iPhone plugged in and wait for the device to finish syncing.

2. If the device prompts you for your Passcode or asks if you want to “Trust This Computer,” select yes.

3. Select your device in iTunes, which should bring you to the Summary panel. From here, you can see and manage your backups, choosing from either iCloud or your computer. Note that if you want to backup your Health and HomeKit data, you must select “Encrypt iPhone backup.” There’s not a real drawback to encrypting your data, anyway, so you might as well.

4. This screen will also show you when your most recent backup was and allow you to backup manually.

How to delete backups on iTunes

Relatively simple, right?

One thing the above screen doesn’t show you is how to delete previous backups, which could be a concern if you have limited hard drive space. But deleting old backups is still pretty straightforward.

1. Go to the iTunes Menu and select Preferences.

2. From the Preferences Menu select “Devices.”

3. This menu should show you all of your devices’ backups with the options to delete. 

How to backup your iPhone to an external hard drive, and how to move backups

For the majority of users, the steps above will more than suffice.

If, however, you’re interested in keeping device backups on an external hard drive or simply want the flexibility to store and restore old backups from multiple devices, you’ll have to dig a little deeper.

Find the backup files

On Mac:

Click the Spotlight search button or press Command – Shift – G together with a Finder window open and copy in the following text: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

That will take you to the folder where your backups are stored.

On Windows 7 through 10:

Use a similar process for Windows. Open your Search bar and type in Users(username)AppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup.

This will take you to the folder with your backups.

Copy and move backups

Now that you’ve found where your backups are hidden away, you can copy them to an external drive and delete the ones on your hard drive.

Apple advises users to copy the entire folder if you want to preserve the data without any chance of it becoming corrupted, so go ahead and make a copy of the folder and drag that over to your external hard drive or a different cloud service than iCloud.

Now, you can delete your copy and if you wish to remove your now-redundant iPhone backup from your primary machine’s hard drive, return to iTunes and follow the instructions on deleting backups above.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to cancel subscriptions on your iPhone through the Settings app

Apple iPhone 11
You can cancel certain app subscriptions on your iPhone through the Settings app.

We generally associate one-stop shopping with convenience. We generally want to be able to buy all our groceries in the same store, listen to all of our music via a single music service, and pay all of our bills using one banking service.

That’s the idea behind the Apple ID subscription manager – Apple has tried to centralize all of your recurring payments for music, in-app purchases, and similar subscriptions in one place on your iPhone.

You should follow these steps to, at the very least, remind yourself what subscriptions you are paying for every month. You might be surprised to find that you are still being billed for some long-forgotten subscriptions. Once there, you can eliminate the ones you no longer need.  

Just remember that this only applies for subscriptions that you signed up for using your Apple ID account. If you go through these steps but can’t find the service you’re looking for, it means that you didn’t use your Apple ID to sign up for it.

How to cancel a subscription on an iPhone

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap your name and Apple ID at the top.

subs1
In the Settings app, tap your name and Apple ID at the top.

2. On the Apple ID page, tap “Subscriptions.” You may need to enter your password or use Touch ID or Face ID to log into your account.

subs2
Go to “Subscriptions.”

3. Review the list of active subscriptions. If you see one you want to learn more about or cancel, tap it.

subscription 2
Tap any active subscription to cancel it, or an expired on to renew it.

This screen lists both active subscriptions and any old, cancelled subscriptions you’ve had in the past.

4. On the subscription page, review the details about your subscription. To cancel this subscription, tap “Cancel Subscription” and then confirm your choice. If you are in the middle of a free trial, you might see a message like “Cancel Free Trial” instead.

Be aware that you when you cancel a subscription mid-cycle, you will typically still have access to that service through the end of the current billing period. For example, if you cancel a service on February 15, but the subscription would normally be renewed on the first of every month, in most cases you will be able to continue using the service until the start of March.

How to restart a cancelled subscription on an iPhone

Regret choosing to cancel a service and want it back? No problem – you can easily do that by returning to the same place in Settings.

1. Open the Settings app and then tap your name and Apple ID at the top of the screen.

2. Tap “Subscriptions.” You may need to enter your password or use Touch ID or Face ID to log into your account.

3. Look for the list of expired subscriptions at the bottom of the screen. Tap the one you would like to reactivate.

subs3
Select the expired subscription you want to reactivate.

4. On the subscription page, tap the subscription option you want and then confirm your choice. You’ll now be re-subscribed.

subs4
Select a subscription option from the list.

 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider