Ted Lasso season 2 lands Friday. Here's how to watch (and make sense of Apple TV Plus)

Ted Lasso -- a feel-good, fish-out-of-water sports dramedy that's perhaps Apple TV Plus' closest thing to a breakout hit -- is set to kick off its second season early Friday. But Apple's subscription video service is a bit different than the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max. Unlike its main competitors, it doesn't have a deep library for you to dive into. Instead, Apple TV Plus has a relatively small (but growing) lineup of originals, like Ted Lasso, Schmigadoon, Physical and The Morning Show and others.

It also doesn't have its own dedicated app. Apple TV Plus' shows live inside the Apple TV app

Apple TV Plus also recently shook up the deals that let most of its subscribers watch its original shows and movies free. This month, many existing customers were charged for the first time, and Apple also has phased out a longtime offer for a yearlong free trial.

When is the release date for Ted Lasso season 2?

Ted Lasso is set to return Friday for its second season.

It's one of the biggest premieres since Apple changed its free trial offers. If you kicked off your free year after July 23, 2020, then you should still have free access when Ted Lasso season 2 premieres. Keep in mind, Apple releases episodes of most of its series week to week rather than all at once, so the finale of Ted Lasso's second season won't be available for weeks after its premiere.

What channel is Ted Lasso on?

It's, um, not on a channel.

This is actually a common question when a single title on a service may have wider awareness than the service itself. But Apple TV Plus is indeed a streaming-video subscription that you can watch within Apple's TV app. It's not a channel on any traditional pay-TV service.

See the sections below for more details on how and where you can watch.

Does Ted Lasso come out all at once?

No. Unlike Netflix, Apple TV Plus releases episodes of its series on a weekly basis. It does tend to release the first few episodes of a new series or new season on the day of its premiere, and Ted Lasso is expected to have two episodes available to stream starting early Friday. But the bulk of Ted Lasso's second season will be released weekly.

So where exactly do I watch Ted Lasso (or Schmigadoon, The Morning Show, Physical, etc.)?

Unlike Netflix and other subscription streaming services, Apple TV Plus doesn't have its own dedicated app. The Apple TV Plus programming resides inside Apple's TV app, which also serves as a hub to watch programming from other video subscriptions and to rent or buy movies and shows a la carte. That can be a little confusing, but the TV app has a tab dedicated just to Apple TV Plus originals, so you can find them in one place without other kinds of programming you need to pay for separately.

Apple's TV app (and, by extension, Apple TV Plus) is available for:

Apple TV Plus is also available to watch on the web at tv.apple.com.

However, if you want to watch on an Android phone, or any mobile device besides an iPhone or iPad, you'll have to watch in a web browser. Apple's TV app isn't available on any mobile devices except the ones the company makes itself.

How much does Apple TV Plus cost?

Apple TV Plus costs $5 a month, or $50 for an annual subscription. By comparison, Disney Plus is $8 a month, with a library of movies and shows that dwarfs Apples. And Netflix, the world's biggest subscription streaming service, prices its most popular plan at $13 a month in the US; it offers other tiers at $9 and $16 a month.

Apple is also including Apple TV Plus with its Apple Music student-discount plan, now offering both streaming services in the $5-a-month deal at no extra cost.

Apple TV Plus is also available as part of a discount bundle of services called Apple One. Long expected since Apple began making subscription services a bigger strategy, Apple One ranges in price from $15 to $30 a month for different combinations of subscriptions. Apple TV Plus is included in all tiers of Apple One; depending on the tier, Apple One bundles may also include Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, storage service iCloud and the coming guided-workout service Apple Fitness Plus. (Disney Plus had offered something similar by packaging that service with both Hulu and ESPN Plus.)

Does Apple TV Plus offer a free trial?

Apple TV Plus has a seven-day free trial standard for any new subscriber.

Starting July 1, Apple TV Plus offers an extended, three-month free trial to people who buy an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch or Mac.

The extended free trial applies to both new and refurbished models, including devices from the iPhone Upgrade Program, and it's not restricted to any specific sales channel, so it applies to both Apple Store purchases and those at resellers. It's available in all countries where Apple TV Plus is operating.

Back when Apple TV Plus first launched in November 2019, the company offered an extended, one-year free trial for anyone who bought a qualifying Apple gadget. Even though Apple TV Plus is among the cheapest subscription streaming services of its kind, the generous promotion compensated for its lightweight library. Apple TV Plus launched with only nine original titles and no catalog of older shows.

Then as Apple TV Plus slowly worked to widen its catalog of original programming, Apple kept extending those yearlong free trials past their expirations multiple times. Many subscribers had never paid for the service as long as it existed up through July 1. One analyst estimated that 62% of Apple TV Plus accounts were freeloading with some sort of promotion.

But that changed this month. Apple charged anyone who had been on a free trial longer than a year starting July 1, and any new subscriber who wants to unlock an extended free trial with an Apple gadget purchase gets only three months free now, not an entire year.

Free trials were long the industry standard, but they are becoming more rare. Services like Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Peacock have all phased out their standard free trials for new members. And Apple's one-year free period for gadget owners was atypically long. The tactic worked well for Apple Music, though. Apple launched its music service with an extended, six-month free trial, and Apple Music quickly became the world's second most popular music service by subscribers behind Spotify.

How do I cancel Apple TV Plus?

The simplest way for you to cancel Apple TV Plus, regardless of how you signed up or what device you're using, is to sign in with your account's Apple ID at tv.apple.com. Click or tap the small circular account icon in the upper right corner and select Settings. Then scroll down to Subscriptions and, finally, tap the link to Manage. From there, you can choose to cancel your subscription.

How do I check the time left in my free trial?

You can check the remaining time of your free trial at the same Settings page described above, under the Subscriptions section. CNET also has an article explaining other ways to find the expiration date of your free trial on your iPhone or your Apple TV streaming box.

What other big shows and movies are coming?

In addition to Ted Lasso's return on July 23, Apple has a number of other big releases in the pipeline this summer and beyond:

What other shows and movies does it have?

Apple's shows run the gamut of drama, comedy, documentary -- even undefined deals with a single big star attached. It's also spending big to get top Hollywood names: Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams and other heavy hitters are on board. Apple also struck an exclusive deal with Alfonso Cuarón for the famed director's first television projects.

Since Apple TV Plus resides in Apple's TV app, you can check out the selection there before signing up. You can also browse the catalog through third-party services like Reelgood.

Apple's press site also rounds up all Apple TV Plus original titles, including some that have been announced but aren't released yet.

Apple planned to give theater runs to some of its films before streaming them on Apple TV Plus, but the coronavirus pandemic has halted nearly all theatrical releases for the time being.

How does Apple TV Plus compare with Netflix, Disney Plus and other subscription video services?

Apple TV Plus is a subscription streaming service to watch the company's original series and movies exclusively. Like Netflix, it doesn't have ads.

Unlike Netflix, it doesn't have a big library of licensed shows or movies, nor will it release full seasons of its shows all at once in a binge-able bunch (for the most part). Most Apple TV Plus series premiere a small cluster of episodes, often three, followed by one new episode every week. Full seasons of some series drop all at the same time, though.

Apple TV Plus is available in more than 100 countries and is also part of Apple's family-sharing feature, which allows you to add up to five family members to share a plan. Apple originals are available in 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision, and most titles also offer Dolby Atmos sound, according to this Apple support page.

How do I sign up?

Apple TV Plus is associated with Apple ID, which is the same log-in you'd use for iCloud or downloading apps from its App Store. If you don't already have an Apple ID, you can create one here.

If you already have Apple's TV app on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, you simply need to open the app and navigate to any of the places where Apple is prominently promoting its original shows. On newly purchased iPhones, for example, the app already knows you've purchased a new gadget to qualify for the deal. Whether you're starting Apple TV Plus with a year free or just the standard one-week trial, the shows start playing in the app after a few taps.

You can also sign up and watch online with a web browser at the Apple TV Plus site.

What devices can stream Apple TV Plus?

Apple's programming is available on all its devices with the Apple TV app.

In addition, Apple TV Plus is available on some competitors' devices. Apple's TV app is available on Roku and Fire TV, two of the most widely used streaming devices in the US, and for smart TVs from Samsung and LG. You can watch it on Sony and Vizio smart TVs via AirPlay, and the TV app should be available for those smart TVs now.

Apple widened support for Apple TV Plus to game consoles in the fall. In October, Sony said its Playstation 5 would support Apple TV Plus at launch. A couple of weeks later, Microsoft said Apple TV Plus would be supported on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Subscribers will also be able to watch Apple TV Plus on the web at tv.apple.com.

But the Apple TV app isn't available on any mobile devices except iPhones or iPads. That means Apple TV Plus subscribers with non-Apple phones -- meaning, the huge population of people with Android phones -- need to stream to their mobiles via the web, rather than in an app.

Apple is a gadget giant. Why does it want to become Netflix?

Apple is taking aim at original video because it could be a crucial enticement for people to buy more iPhones and other gadgets. You can't overstate the importance of the iPhone to Apple. The phone, one of the most popular in the world, still accounts for more than half its sales and was critical to Apple's march to become the first US company worth $1 trillion.

Apple quickly established its bona fides in subscriptions businesses with Apple Music. But the content on Apple Music is essentially the same as every other music service. They all have tens of millions of songs. Apple Music has been successful largely because of its presence on the iPhone, already in the pockets of millions of people. It hasn't been nearly as successful working the other direction, acting as a lure to buy the latest Apple gadget.

Original video from big-name stars and creators you can't watch anywhere else, however, could be different.

Apple clearly has a hunch it will be.