Can I download free apps without a payment method?

I clicked on the link to the question that it's a duplicate of and no answers were provided there. I clicked on the link to the question that that's a duplicate of and the answers are either irrelevant to the question that I asked or I'm bad enough at using iPhones that they don't make sense to me.

  • Thanks so much for raising this question here. My answer is going to be a little messy since this topic is one that needs a good canonical question so we can point all the duplicates (yours is one of dozens) to the canonical question and answer. – bmike Nov 12 '17 at 14:43

This happens from time to time. The system allows editing - so the fastest way to fix this in the general case is to edit your question to show how you fail to see what action to take.

Now - this is a bit of a special case since it’s a pure customer support / education issue in the end. Also, we probably have a hundred questions that all would be answered by an answer like this.

I would discourage you from editing or re-opening your post - the one answer you have is totally correct. You need to enter payment and then remove it once your account is past the “verification” challenge stage.

Look at the related questions and linked questions to the ones you find from your post. My suspicion is everyone gets they have to enter payment information, but they don’t like the answer and hold out that there’s some “trick” to avoid having a bank or organization vouch for your identity in some small manner tied to real life and the potential to spend money and/or less risk that the identity is farmed and totally bogus.


  1. You get one shot to make an account with entering payment. If you make an account and don’t go through the hoops Apple set - you must enter payment information. My guess is that’s to establish a “paper trail” in case that Apple ID then goes on to do things like abuse the review system, steal credentials, reverse engineer the security of iCloud, etc...

  2. You can enter payment information - let Apple record who you are, and then remove the payment information next.


I’ll see if I can find a better duplicate to close your question (so you don’t have to follow the chain of duplicates so long to get to the answer), but the TL;DR answer is once your account triggers / flags as needing payment information - you must provide it and there’s no workaround unless you contact Apple Support and get them to fix things on Apple’s end. This is clearly by design since Apple has done this for more than 10 years.

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