Is Apple pushing ads in the iPhone and iPad settings app?

System ads are amongst the most annoying intrusions you’ll ever encounter. Well, within the smartphone sphere. Chinese company Xiaomi is (in)famous for ads within MIUI, where you’ll encounter “recommendations” for many native apps, or even the settings app (you can still remove them—find out more here).

But if you’re on an iPhone, no worries, right? Apple wouldn’t do something like that, that’s a Xiaomi thing. Right?

Tom Warren, Senior Editor at The Verge, recently shared a couple of screenshots that purportedly show ads within the iOS settings app. At the top of the settings (right below the Apple ID), there is an ad for a free three-month subscription to Apple Arcade—a bonus that was included with his “recent Apple device purchase”.

This doesn’t just apply to Apple Arcade. A second screenshot shows similar messages about free subscriptions to Apple TV+, as well as AppleCare+ coverage. What’s worse is that several users reported that they couldn’t swipe to remove the prompts, which means that you might have to live with the ads—or simply take up Apple’s free offer.

This also applies to iPadOS, as a user complained. Declining the offer might work, although based on the replies to Warren’s original Tweet, this is a hit-and-miss.

Meanwhile, other users argued that these aren’t actually ads, given the fact that they pop up on new iPhones or iPads. Instead, these are simply “reminders” from Apple to take advantage of their premium services for free—for a limited period of time. Following that, you’ll need to pay full price for a subscription to Arcade, Apple TV+, and so on.

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Apple will probably argue that this isn’t an ad, it’s simply an offer for a new customer (or a new device) on an iPhone or iPad. That would be true, to an extent. Plus, it’s an ad for a free trial. However, as mentioned earlier, all free trials lead to paid subscriptions, and most users probably don’t want to be reminded about it every time they open their settings app.

My advice? Sign up for the free trial, and turn off auto-renewal. That way, you get rid of the prompt, you get to sample the premium service, and you don’t get charged for anything.