What is the new App Store policy?
Apple has said that developers of “reader” apps will now be allowed to directly link their customers to their own sign-up website. “The update will allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account,” Apple said in a press release. Reader apps are those that provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video. So Amazon Kindle is a “reader” app. Or a music streaming app is also a reader app and as are many of the OTT apps like Netflix and others.
What made Apple change the App Store policy?
In 2016, the Japan Fair Trade Commission opened an investigation against Apple and the App Store practices. Some developers had been complaining about Apple’s rules being too stringent. On paper, Apple has said that it has been a result of the Japan investigation but it has been facing a lot of flak from many quarters. For instance, Apple takes 30% cut on in-app purchases and a lot of developers weren’t happy with it. Apple has tweaked the policy so some of the criticism over the App Store dies down.
When does the new App Store policy come into effect?
Early 2022 is when the changes come into effect. Apple has said that it will update its guidelines and review process to make sure users of reader apps continue to have a safe experience on the App Store. The company further said that, “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.”
What does the new policy mean for users?
As mentioned above, the policy is only for the “reader” apps but they are quite popular. Let’s take the example of the Amazon Kindle app. Currently, if you want buy a book in the app, you can’t do so as you will have to go to the mobile browser to get the book. From next year, users will be allowed to directly make the purchase. Similarly, on many of these reader apps, you aren’t allowed to sign up directly and need to go to the mobile browser or the site to do so. With the new policy, all these things will be possible in the app itself.