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How to Get a 20% or Higher Discount on All of Your Mac App Store Purchases

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If I were to suggest that you could save 20%, or more, on all of your purchases in the Mac App Store, you might treat that statement with some caution, and you would be right to do so. But what if I were to tell you that this saving is entirely legitimate? This is not a scam, it is not a trick, it’s just a matter of playing your cards right. Your iTunes gifts cards, that is. Are you interested in saving money? Then read on!


Play Your (iTunes) Cards Right

Perhaps not many people realize that iTunes Gift Cards, along with purchasing music and apps for your iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone can also be used towards, or for, purchases in the Mac App Store. You may, however, be aware of this if you have redeemed some iTunes Vouchers on your iPhone and, before spending the lot, visited the Mac App Store and spotted your remaining balance listed there, too.

To be frank, buying iTunes Gift Cards is not going to save you any money in itself. It all depends precisely when and where you purchase your iTunes vouchers.

From time to time certain stores will conduct a promotion on iTunes Gift Cards. The promotions normally take the form of ‘Buy one iTunes Voucher and get another of same value at a reduced price’ or ‘Buy an iTunes Voucher of a certain value at a discounted price.’

Both are good deals, but the percentage discounts can vary.


Can I Really Use iTunes Gift Cards in the Mac App Store?

Short answer: yes. If you purchase, or are given, an iTunes gift card, there is a special code that you redeem through iTunes on your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or through the Mac App Store application available in OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.7), Lion and Mountain Lion.

iTunes Gift Cards
iTunes and App Store Gift cards. You can use credit on either for both iTunes and App Store Purchases.

A point of note is that, since the introduction of apps on the iOS devices and, through the Mac App Store, on OS X, Apple has started marketing separate Mac App Store gift cards. It doesn’t matter whether you buy these or iTunes branded gift cards. Apart from the design on the card itself, the value that you redeem is valid for the purchase of music or apps using either your iOS device(s) or your Mac.


Where Can I Buy Discounted iTunes Gift Cards?

So, you’ll be wanting to know the best places to source the discounted iTunes vouchers? In the United Kingdom, the usual places are Argos, Boots the Chemist, Clinton Cards, Co-operative Food Stores, HMV, Sainsbury, Superdrug and Tesco.

There are also vendors on eBay that offer iTunes gift cards at bigger discount rates. Personally, I have not purchased from eBay vendors due to their relative anonymity, poor customer service - generally speaking - and the chance that you are more likely to find a scammer on eBay than on the High Street.


What Level of Discount Can I Reasonably Expect?

The best deal that I have seen, on the high street, was at Co-operative Food Stores where it was possible to purchase a £15 iTunes Voucher for £10. That’s an effective discount of 33.33%. To put it another way, £30 of vouchers would cost you just £20. I purchased £90 worth of vouchers for £60 - quite a saving.

Another deal was available from Argos. This took the form of buy two £25 iTunes Vouchers (total cost £50) for £40. This offer is an effective saving of 20%. Not quite as good as the Co-operative Food Stores, but still better than the full price.

The most recent deal, of which I took advantage for this article, was at Boots The Chemist, who were offering a £25 iTunes Gift Card for £20, an effective saving of 20% on the face-value of the card. Or 25% extra spending power for your £20 spend, free, depending on your point of view.

Receipt showing discounted iTunes Gift Cards
Receipt showing two £25 gift cards each discounted to £20.

This means that you can purchase apps from the Mac App Store in OS X (and music, films, television programs etc., from iTunes, and apps from the iOS store) at greatly reduced prices – you just have to invest in some discounted iTunes Gift cards upfront.


When Can I Purchase Discounted iTunes Gift Cards?

It is possible that you can not immediately find the discounted iTunes Gift cards to which I refer, so when can you get them? Well, you have to keep an eye out for the promotions.

Websites like HotDealsUK (a crowd-sourced deals and promotions spotting site) help, as does Twitter and Google search for tracking down these time-limited offers.

Keep a look out in high street stores if you are out shopping.


OK, I’m Convinced. How do I Redeem iTunes Gift Cards?

Mac App Store gift cards and iTunes gift cards can be redeemed through your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac - provided that your version of OS X has the Mac App Store in the case of the latter.

Tip: If, for any reason, you do not see the Mac App Store app icon in the dock, press Command and Spacebar simultaneously to launch Spotlight (in the top-right of your screen) and type: App Store. You might notice that it has found the correct app before you have finished typing the first word! Simply select this item in Spotlight list to launch the Mac App Store app.

To redeem a voucher, launch the Mac App Store application on your Mac (since this is a Mac tutorial). This has the icon that shows a white pencil, paintbrush and ruler in the shape of a capital letter A contained within a blue circle, which you should find in the dock.

Redeeming an iTunes Gift Card in the Mac App Store
Redeeming an iTunes Gift Card in the Mac App Store

Towards the top right of the Mac App Store you should see a section entitled “Quick Links”, the third of four options being “Redeem”. Click on this.

Revealing the Code on Reverse of iTunes Gift Card
Revealing the Code on Reverse of iTunes Gift Card

Simply remove the grey panel from the reverse of the gift card by gently rubbing a coin over it to reveal a code.

Enter the iTunes Gift Card Code
Enter the iTunes Gift Card Code

Enter this code, taking care not to make any mistakes, into the box on the “Redeem Code” page and, when you are sure that it is entered correctly, click Redeem.

Gift Card Redeemed
iTunes Gift Card Redeemed

All being well, your iTunes account will be credited with the face-value of the gift card, meaning that a £25 gift card that cost £20 will give you the full £25 value. You are then free to spend this credit on apps in the Mac App Store confident in the knowledge that you are effectively making a saving of 20% or more on every purchase that is made with that credit value.


Conclusion

By taking advantage of the periodic discounts on iTunes and Mac App Store gift cards at major high street retailers, you can stock up and bag yourself some serious bargains when app shopping. Look out for the special offers which often appear around public holidays or Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days.

Consider that upgrade for a potential £13.99 instead of £20.99? Or how about Final Cut Pro (which retails for £199.99) for just £159.99 (20% off) or £131.99 (at 33.33% off) - depending on which iTunes promotional deals you find. Those are big savings!

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