Some iOS Apps Will Now Link to External Websites for Purchases

Some iPhone apps will now include outgoing links for in-app purchases. When you open one of these links, you’ll be met with a warning—Apple will tell you that it isn’t responsible for the privacy or security of your purchases on the general web. This warning is perfectly reasonable, but it shouldn’t dissuade you from purchasing items outside the App Store.

Every App Store purchase is subject to a 30% fee from Apple. This fee also applies to purchases you make inside of iOS apps. Some developers believe that the App Store fee is anti-competitive, as Apple is the only software distributor on iOS. This fee also forces developers to charge higher prices on iOS, at least in some situations.

In 2021, a judge ruled that Apple must allow external purchase links inside of iOS apps. The ruling came during a lawsuit with Epic Games, a developer that intentionally violated App Store policy by placing external purchase links inside of Fortnite. It’s taken a few years, but Apple has fulfilled its court-ordered obligation. Developers who follow a set of very strict guidelines can now place external purchase links within iOS apps.

As an iOS user, purchasing content through external links may save you some money. External links are not bound by Apple’s semi-strict rules for discounts or coupon codes. And although developers are forced to give Apple a 27% cut from external purchases, the fee for monthly or annual subscriptions falls to just 12% after one year. There’s a clear incentive for developers to make sales through external links, and they may offer special discounts as compensation.

But external purchase links are subject to some restrictions. If an app contains external purchase links, it must also contain internal App Store links. Also, external links must be relegated to a single page within each app. Customers may need to go out of their way to find external purchase links in some applications.

This is far from a perfect system. Still, it may help you save money on some items, specifically large purchases and subscriptions. If you encounter an outgoing link within an iOS app, don’t let Apple’s warning scare you away. Just be reasonably cautious when dealing with small or unfamiliar apps.

Source: Apple


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