Right now, Apple App Store’s guidelines require all developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system. Developers can’t allow users to use an external website to make a purchase or manage their account. To close an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Apple has agreed to allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to external website for users to manage and setup an account.
“Reader” apps offer previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Kindle are some of the examples of “reader” apps.
While the above agreement was made with the JFTC, Apple has decided to apply this change globally to all reader apps on the store in order to avoid further scrutiny in other countries.
Before the change goes into effect in early 2022, Apple will update its guidelines and review process to make sure users of reader apps continue to have a safe experience on the App Store. While in-app purchases through the App Store commerce system remain the safest and most trusted payment methods for users, Apple will also help developers of reader apps protect users when they link them to an external website to make purchases.