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In-App Purchase Rules

Written by Marco Ament / Original link on Sep. 11, 2020

A summary of today’s changes to 3.1.3 Other Purchase Methods:

Your app must use Apple’s in-app-purchase (IAP) system for all purchases made in the app.

Unless they’re purchases for goods or services that are consumed outside the app, in which case you are prohibited from using IAP.

Unless those goods or services consumed outside the app are magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video, in which case, you are required to use IAP.

But if your app only “reads” previously purchased magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video, and doesn’t mention the possibility of purchases anywhere in the app, you don’t need to use IAP.

Unless you offer account creation, in which case, you are required to use IAP.

Unless you only offer free account creation, in which case, you don’t need to use IAP.

But if you offer paid upgrades from free accounts within the app, you are required to use IAP.

Except for accounts that were created outside the app, which can offer paid account upgrades and don’t need to use IAP.

If you’re selling “experiences” between people, you don’t need to use IAP.

Unless those “experiences” include three or more people, or aren’t consumed live, in which case, you are required to use only IAP.

If your purchase is for services, features, or game items, you are required to use only IAP.

Unless you operate on multiple platforms, in which case, you can also offer purchasing outside the app. But you can’t tell anyone about it.

Unless you get their contact info somewhere else, in which case, you can tell them about it, but not in the app.

You are required to use IAP even if you sell your app or service directly to other people.

Unless you only sell it to businesses or groups for their employees or students to use, in which case, you still must use IAP, but you can include your own payment method as well.

Unless those groups are families, or unless those employees or students are somehow “consumers”, in which case, you must only use IAP.

Do I have that right?

* * *

How about an alternative that’s clear, fair, reasonable, and consistently enforceable?

Apps may offer other payment mechanisms in their app, as long as terms are clear and customers aren’t misled, and may or may not choose to implement in-app purchase based on its merits.

In one stroke, antitrust and regulatory pressure disappear, developer relations are significantly repaired, and Apple can go back to spending its time, resources, PR, and political capital on making their products better and customers happier.

marcoament

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