Wednesday, September 7, 2016

App Store Subscriptions Clarification

Apple Store Review Guidelines History (Apple, Hacker News):

If you offer an auto-renewing subscription, you must provide ongoing value to the customer. While the following list is not exhaustive, examples of appropriate subscriptions include: new game levels; episodic content; multi-player support; apps that offer consistent, substantive updates; access to large collections of, or continually updated, media content; software as a service (“SAAS”); and cloud support.

The “consistent, substantive updates” part is the most interesting, but I don’t understand how that works in practice. When you are submitting a new app, it doesn’t have a track record of updates, and it’s hard to even predict what the development path will be like.

Curtis Herbert:

Unfortunately subscriptions require a lot more work on our part than paid up front. StoreKit and receipt validation can be new territory, even for a lot of senior developers as many just haven’t had to touch a lot of this before.


One annoyance, here, is that this only seems to happen on app launch. If the user is inside your app when the renewal actually goes through, you won’t get the callback until next time.


There is no insight into when they turn off auto-renew. I can’t adjust my wording in-app to acknowledge that they disabled auto-renew.


Subscriptions were born from newstand, and it still shows. One of the final steps of the purchase phase is to prompt the user to share email, name, and zip code. It is billed as “the publisher wants this information”, but I don’t! A friend on Twitter pointed me to this dev forum post which explains that there is no automated way to opt out of asking this, but if you email App Review they’ll manually flag your app to remove the prompt.

Previously: Pre-WWDC App Store Changes.

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