Developers who wanted to release an app on Apple’s digital store were previously limited to using the company’s in-app payment system, but not anymore. This major move by Apple, which will go into effect in 2022, will allow developers to provide users with a link to an external site where the user can make purchases without using the in-app purchasing system.
Apple released a statement on September 1, 2021 detailing an upcoming change to the App Store. According to the release, as the Japan Fair Trade Commission closes its investigation into the App Store, Apple has agreed to allow developers to provide users with a link to their website. This link is to allow users to set up and manage their account. The announcement goes on to highlight the main element readers are no doubt curious about: in-app purchases:
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.
Though in-app purchases must be made using Apple’s payment system, developers will now be able to link to an external payment site, a move that would previously have them rejected from the store. The press release clarifies this point:
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.
This effectively means users will now have two means of paying for a service: in-app or through an external site.
It’s worth noting that this change will only affect “reader” apps. The statement notes, “Reader apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.” There’s no mention of video game services there, so the likes of xCloud are seemingly still in a tough position. What’s more, Fortnite players will still be limited to using the in-app payment system.
Sam Chandler posted a new article, Apple to allow app devs to link to external payment sites next year
'forced to allow'
One might start to wonder what 'safety' features are being offered to Apple customers with Amazon Video offering in app purchases with their own payment system while Netflix can now link to their own site for purchase options but still every game is unable to do the same.