Apple now lets video and music apps sign up new subscribers at no cost

Apple said wednesday that so-called “reader apps”, which allow users to access content libraries on their phones, will be allowed to use external links in their apps to allow users to register or manage their accounts .

The move, announced last year as part of an agreement with the Japan Fair Trade Commission, applies to apps that provide magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music or video content, Apple said. Reader apps include some of the most popular apps on Apple’s App Store, including Spotify and Netflix.

Apple previously prohibited app makers from asking users to sign up through a website. Instead, it forced them to use Apple’s App Store payment system, which accounts for 15-30% of sales. The new policy will allow these apps to bypass Apple’s fees by connecting to an external website to enroll new customers.

The change, now reflected in Apple’s App Store guidelines, will allow reading apps to handle their own client management for users acquired through the app, a sticking point that app makers have grappled with. complained to regulators and courts around the world. The new policy is available worldwide, Apple said.

The rule does not apply to all applications. Games that offer in-app purchases, which include majority revenue from Apple’s App Store, will still need to use Apple’s payment system.

Apple said in a post on its developer website that interested developers can submit an application form to Apple and that Apple’s app review process will still approve app updates. The link should be formatted as a standard link, not a button, and contain the domain name of the website it links to.

Apple also has some restrictions – for example, any qualifying app can’t also offer in-app purchases, and the app can’t offer real-time services with one person like tutoring or fitness training, which are always required to use App Store Payments.

Apple said apps that include digital content as a feature but focus on other uses, such as social media, would also not be eligible for the program.

Apple requires a pop-up warning that “Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of any transactions with this developer” before the user exits the app.

The policy change comes as Apple’s App Store rules have come under intense scrutiny from courts and lawmakers around the world.

In response, Apple made several changes to its policies and created exclusions and discounts for certain types of apps and app makers, but failed to address its best interest which it is entitled to determine. what software can run on iPhones, and he continues to claim that the App Store fee is not just for payment processing, but also for App Store distribution and support.

In one separate blog post WednesdayApple said it also changed its policy in the Netherlands, where it was fined nearly 50 million euros for failing to comply with an order from the Antitrust Consumer and Markets Authority in that country requiring it to allow external links for dating apps.

Apple’s new policy does not require app makers in the Netherlands to submit an entirely different, or “binary” version that was previously required.

“As we’ve said before, we disagree with the original ACM order and are appealing it,” Apple said in its blog post.