Apple has today pushed out a change to the App Store that adds an “Offers In-App Purchases” disclosure right below the Purchase/Download button for apps which let users buy virtual goods using Apple’s IAP framework.
The warning would help make things clear to a lot of users who download an app under the presumption that it’s free, only to later realize that it’s full of In-App Purchases. Apple already let users see “Top In App Purchases” in a column below the ratings of the app, but the placement and the wording of this warning puts the message across in a more effective way.
The new tagline is currently only appearing in the desktop version of the App Store that sits within iTunes. For now, it’s not shown in the iOS App Store app, nor does it appear on webpages for iOS apps.
Apple confirmed to The Guardian that the message is a new addition to the App Store. Its location – directly below the icon and “Free” button on each app’s page – makes it even easier for people to identify that an app uses in-app purchases (IAP) before downloading it.
Apple has been criticised a number of times by parents whose kids download a free app, and unknowingly purchase IAP content sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars. The company recently settled a lawsuit over a similar issue, agreeing to give parents with over $30 of accidental IAPs a refund in the form of iTunes cards.
We expect Apple to roll out this change to web previews and the iOS App Store as well. With apps, especially games, increasingly relying on the freemium model for revenues, we think Apple’s move is a welcome change towards increased clarity.