Apple to Allow ‘Reader’ Apps to Redirect Users to Sign Up for Services Outside the App Store

iPhone App Store

In another major App Store-related change, Apple has decided to allow “reader” apps to include in-app links and buttons to sign up and manage their account on their website. The move from Apple also leads to the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) closing its investigation on the App Store over its unfair practices.

Starting next year, Apple will allow “reader” apps like Netflix to include a sign up and/or manage my account links in their iOS app. Apple currently prohibits apps from redirecting users to their own website for set up and subscription process.

To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, the App Store’s guidelines require developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system. Because developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple agreed with the JFTC to let developers of these apps share a single link to their website to help users set up and manage their account.

The changes will go into effect in early 2022, and Apple will update the App Store guidelines and review process to ensure that “users of reader apps” have a safe experience on the App Store.

This change from Apple will be beneficial for “reader” apps like Netflix and Spotify. They will be able to urge new users to sign up for their service from their own website, thereby bypassing the App Store payment system and saving the 30 percent commission in the process.

Apple will also look into and address other developer complaints with the App Store, including further clarifying the App Store guidelines, improving the transparency of the app review process, and more. Apple will also be required to submit annual reports to the JFTC for the next three years.

This change comes hot on the heels of Apple announcing an array of other changes for the App Store to settle a lawsuit from US developers.

As a part of those changes, Apple will allow developers to use email and other forms of communication to reach out to their customers and inform them about alternative payment methods outside of the App Store. It will also be paying $100 million to small US developers as a part of the settlement process.

[Via Apple]