Quick Tip: How to Redeem an App Store Gift Code

It’s the time of the year for gifts, and yet if you spend enough time around AppStorm and other app-focused sites, you’ll find a number of gifts throughout the year. We’re always excited to feature a giveaway of an app we love, and I’m certain many of you have filled your launchpads with apps you’ve picked up on deals and free giveaways we’ve featured. And yet, there’s one thing that always seems to stump almost everyone once in a while: redeeming gift codes.

So here, in a nutshell, is how to redeem an App Store gift code for any Mac or iOS app — or just to add App Store credit to your account if you’re lucky enough to find an iTunes Gift Card in your stocking this year.

Redeem Mac Apps

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Mac apps are what we giveaway the most — and if you’re a fan of Mac.AppStorm, chances are you’re most excited when you get new Mac apps. If you get a free code for a Mac app, it’ll be a 12 digit alphanumerical code that you simply have to copy into the App Store to redeem. Just copy the code, perhaps from the email where you got it, and open the Mac App Store. There, on the right sidebar, you should see a Redeem link under the Quick Links. Tap that, and enter your normal App Store password to login.

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Now, just paste that code into the box that appears on the bottom where you can enter your code manually. Then, tap the Redeem button that’ll appear beside the text box, and your app will automatically download. That’s it!

You’ll do the very same to redeem an iTunes Gift Card or App Store gift card — and yes, any iTunes Gift Card or App Store gift card can be used to purchase anything from any of Apple’s digital stores: the Mac App Store, the iTunes store, the iOS App Store, and the iBooks store. And if you have a gift card, the Mac App Store is the simplest place to redeem it. Just tap the Redeem link and login as before, and this time, you can use your Mac’s camera to add the gift card if you’d like. Just tap the Use Camera button, hold your gift card’s barcode up to where it’s visible on your Mac, and it’ll automatically be added to your account. Or, you can type the code in manually if that’s easier.

One more thing to remember: app gift codes expire after around two weeks, so always be sure to hurry and redeem them whenever you get them.

Redeem iOS Apps

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If you win an iOS app code, and get it while you’re on your Mac, you might as well go ahead and redeem it right there. This time, iTunes is your friend. Just open iTunes, then tap the iTunes Store button in the top right, and select the now-familiar Redeem link under Quick Links. Sign in as before, and you’ll soon see a nearly identical Redeem Code screen.

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Now, it’s the same as before. Just enter your gift code in the box on the bottom, and tap the Redeem button. Your app will go ahead and start downloading, but if you don’t usually sync your iOS devices with your Mac, you can just cancel the download by tapping the x in the iTunes status pane on top. Then, from your iOS device, you can download the app directly from your device’s App Store under the Purchased section.

And, yes, you can redeem your iTunes Gift Cards here in iTunes as well, if you’d like. The Mac App Store just happens to require one less click. Either way, though, the credit will be visible in any Apple digital store you’re logged into.

It’ll Get Easier

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Now, it’s not so hard to redeem App Store codes — after all, it’s nice to get something for free anyhow, even if it is a tad difficult. But it’s getting easier, actually. The Tokens for Mac app that came out earlier this year lets developers share their App Store codes in a simple webpage that launches the appropriate App Store and auto-fills your free key for you. All you’ll have to do is click one link, and enter your password once the App Store opens. That’s insanely simple.

Otherwise, though, all you have to look for is that slightly elusive Redeem link. So, if you happen to get any App Store codes this holiday season — or anytime in the foreseeable future — now you’ll know how to redeem them.