Apple now allows “reader” apps to be linked to its payment methods

Apple is notorious for its strict (and sometimes arguably unfair) App Store rules. The Cupertino tech giant has been taken to court on several occasions for lawsuits surrounding these practices. One of its popular anti-competition guidelines forbids iOS app developers from linking to their own payment methods. This forces developers to use Apple’s in-app purchase (IAP) system and pay a 15-30% commission fee to the technical overlord. Alternatively, they can avoid implementing any IAPs in their apps. Users will then have to figure out how to subscribe to their service through the website. That’s because referring to external websites for payment purposes – without linking – violates Apple’s guidelines. Fortunately for developers and users, Apple is now allowing “reader” apps to link to their payment methods in iOS apps.


Last year, Apple promised that it would eventually allow “reader” apps to link to their websites — where users can subscribe to a service directly. What are “reader” apps? The company defines them Apps that provide one or more of the following digital content types – magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video – as the primary functionality of the app, So apps like Spotify and Netflix will now be able to link to their websites in their respective iOS apps. This makes it easy for users to subscribe to a service without the need to dig online and find its webpage.

By default, developers cannot take advantage of this new change. Those who believe their app is an eligible “reader” must fill out a form and submit a request. Apple will then review it and make a decision accordingly. The company says that a qualified “reader” app should:

  • Provide one or more of the following digital content types as the primary functionality of your App; Magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or videos.
  • Let people sign in to an account.
  • Allow people to access previously purchased content or services outside the app when signed in, such as on your website.
  • Don’t offer in-app purchases on iOS or iPadOS when using External Link Account entitlement
  • Does not facilitate real-time, person-to-person services (for example, providing teaching services, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training).

The Cupertino tech giant has mentioned that apps that offer these digital goods but will not have them as part of their primary functionality will not be eligible for it. External Linked Account Eligibility, Yet the move is a promising move that could potentially expand to cover more app types in the future.

Would you rather use an IAP system from Apple or third-party developers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Apple

Via: ledge

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