Apple to Allow Apps to Link to External Sign-Up Pages

New processes go into effect in 2022

Apple has announced that it will begin allowing reader apps to directly link customers to their own, external sign-up pages.

The announcement was made on Apple’s Newsroom blog, where the company said it will apply the change globally in early 2022.

Woman watching a comedy

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A reader app refers to an application that provides content or a subscription to paying users. Netflix and Spotify are examples of reader apps.

Prior to this change, Apple required developers to use its built-in payment system to be listed on the Apple Store. That way, whenever someone signed up for a subscription, Apple could collect a commission from the developer.

According to The Verge, that commission went as high as 30%. Developers refused to pay the commission, which resulted in users being unable to sign up for a reader app subscription on the iOS app. Instead, those users had to sign up for the subscription outside the app.

In the post, Apple states it will allow a single in-app link to a service’s website for users to set up and manage their accounts. The company said this gives "developers more flexibility and resources…"

Despite this seemingly good news, critics are unrelenting. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek tweeted that while this is a good move, the problem still persists. Ek says developers want fairer rules that apply to everyone equally.

It’s worth pointing out this new change only applies to audio, music, video, books, and other select forms of content.

It’s unknown whether Apple will extend its new reader app rule to gaming apps or other subscription service.

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