iTunes movie purchases can not be re-downloaded

  • January 20th, 2012

Ok, I admit up front that this is more of an [informational] rant regarding the iTunes Store. In addition to iPhone / iPad apps, I purchase music, television and movies. I rented a movie once but was disappointed by the asinine expiration rules of digital rentals.

  1. After hitting play I have 24 hours to finish the rental (is a problem)
  2. I have 30 days from the date of rental to watch (unlikely problem)

Digital rentals should be leisurely. The most unusual of renters should be able watch 10 minutes of a film every other day if they wanted. Once it’s finished, done. No more access to the rental. But that’s rentals and I will rarely if ever go down that path again.

My rant is about movies downloaded from the iTunes Store. Earlier this month I was packing up for a trip to Whistler, BC for a weekend of snowboarding. Last minute I decided I’d download some epic snowboard / ski films for downtime at the lodge. I opened the iTunes Store and purchased The Art of Flight, All.I.Can and One for the Road. Easy. The weekend happens and I capture lots of GoPro Hero2 footage. I’m running out of disk space on my MacBook Air so I start deleting previously viewed movies from iTunes.

Once home, I sift through the GoPro footage – deleting a good portion of the files and recovering some disk space. After reviewing my homemade clips, I decide I want to watch The Art of Flight again. I had grown so accustomed to how the iTunes Store treated app, music and television purchases that I assumed the same applied to movies.

  1. Purchase and download [iPhone / iPad app, music or TV show]
  2. Use app, listen to music or watch TV show
  3. Grow tired of app, music or TV show
  4. Delete
  5. Months later decide to use, listen to or watch show
  6. Re-download free of charge

Who hasn’t done that?

You can re-download songs, apps and TV shows from the iTunes Store however you will not be able to re-download the movies.

Lesson learned. Digital movie purchases aren’t really yours to keep unless you really do keep them in your possession. I guess if I plan on keeping my Air as a main machine, I’ll have to consider carrying an external drive with me to hold my iTunes Library. So continue enjoying the freedom of re-downloading purchases from iTunes free of charge – just don’t forget movies are not re-downloadable.

P.S. If it’s a bandwidth thing, Apple can start saving some immediately if high-def (HD) and standard-def (SD) variants of videos were not bundled. If I want to purchase the HD version, don’t force the SD download as well. Note: even if you pause and delete a SD variant during download, the iTunes Store will continually attempt to serve the file until you accept.

P.P.S. If you’re contemplating picking-up the GoPro Hero2 and want to send some referral love use this link. I’m enjoying mine – Early powder morning at Stevens Pass.

UPDATE: On March 6th, 2012 Apple announced the ability to re-download movies via iCloud – the same feature previously extended to apps, books and music.