As a consultant to small business owners, I regularly advise clients on strategies to improve their financial efficiency. With limited budgets, entrepreneurs must carefully manage all expenses – and that includes subscriptions on your iPhone. While subscriptions provide helpful services, accumulation of unused or unwanted subscriptions can divert funds from more productive uses. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll provide in-depth instructions on locating, canceling, waiting for expiration, and fully deleting iPhone subscriptions, infused with insights from my small business experience. Follow these steps to optimize your finances and operate lean.
The Cost of Unused Subscriptions: A Small Business Perspective
Before diving into the how-to, let‘s briefly discuss the financial impact of subscriptions from a small business viewpoint. The average iPhone user actively uses less than half of their app subscriptions, according to a 2022 survey by Subscription Economy Index. Yet unused subscriptions still represent real costs:
- Average number of app subscriptions per iOS user: 7
- Average monthly cost of app subscriptions: $9.49
- Total average monthly spend per user: $66.43
For a bootstrapped entrepreneur, several unused $9 subscriptions could pay for web hosting, software tools, marketing campaigns, or other essentials. As a consultant, I regularly advise clients to audit subscriptions and cut unused ones. This simple step often yields meaningful extra capital to reinvest in productive areas.
Step 1: Locate Your Subscriptions
Now let‘s get started with actually identifying your subscriptions on iPhone. Apple provides a convenient Subscriptions menu to view all active and expired app subscriptions:
- Open the Settings app
- Scroll up and tap your Apple ID banner at the top
- Select Subscriptions from the menu
Tip: If you cannot see the Subscriptions option, you may need to tap "Media & Purchases" first.
This Subscriptions menu is your central destination for managing everything related to your app memberships.
Step 2: Identify Subscriptions to Delete
Carefully review the full list of your active and expired subscriptions. Based on my consulting experience, here are key types of subscriptions to consider deleting:
- Free trials – Delete if you signed up just to try but don‘t want to convert to a paid plan. This avoids surprise charges when the trial ends.
- Unused subscriptions – Be brutally honest about apps you don‘t actually use much or at all anymore. Delete those.
- Overlapping services – For example, multiple streaming or cloud storage subscriptions. Consolidate.
- Expired subscriptions – Clear out old subscriptions from your purchase history.
Tip: Sort by most or least frequently used to identify low-use subscriptions.
Step 3: Cancel the Subscription First
Once you‘ve identified subscriptions to remove, the next step is cancellation. You cannot immediately delete active subscriptions – you first must cancel and wait for expiration.
- Tap the subscription to open its details
- Select Cancel Subscription and confirm when prompted
This prevents auto-renewal at the next billing date, but does not delete the subscription. It will remain active until its term expires.
Step 4: Wait for Complete Expiration
Before deleting a canceled subscription, you must wait for its full expiration date:
- Monthly subscriptions: Wait until the end of the current month
- Annual subscriptions: Wait until the end of the current year
The subscription status will change to "Expired" when the final billing period closes. As a consultant, I always advise clients to be patient during this expiration period.
Step 5: Delete the Expired Subscription
Once a subscription shows as expired in your Subscriptions menu, you can fully delete it:
- Open the App Store
- Tap your Profile icon
- Select View Information > Subscriptions
- Swipe left on the expired subscription
- Tap Hide to remove from your purchase history
This final deletion step is crucial to complete the process and avoid renewed charges.
Step 6: Confirm Successful Deletion
Finally, double check that the expired subscription no longer appears in your Subscriptions menu in Settings. It can take up to 24 hours to fully process.
As a small business owner, regularly auditing and removing unused subscriptions can meaningfully optimize your finances. Apply the steps in this guide to keep your iPhone subscriptions lean and productive. Let me know if you have any other questions!