Apple Promotes Subscription-Based Apps With Free Trials in the App Store

Jan 12, 2018 4:00 am PST by Tim Hardwick

Apple has opened a new section of the iOS App Store that promotes subscription-based apps offering free trials (via 9to5Mac).

Called "Try it for Free", the subcategory appears in the Apps tab and is currently home to just four apps, including USA Today, 1Password, Panna: Video Recipes & Classes, and Lake: Coloring Books. Tapping "Free Trial" next to one of the apps takes the user to a screen showcasing the subscription offer (if the app hasn't been previously downloaded), which details how long the trial runs, the recurring cost after the trial ends, and how to download the app.


All of the apps in the subcategory have offered free trials for some time, suggesting Apple is renewing efforts to push subscription-based apps by encouraging users to try them out for a time before committing to recurring payments.

Subscription-based apps tend to divide the user community, but adoption of the model has increased over the last six months. Apple began incentivizing developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its App Store subscription policies in 2016. Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent.

Late last year, Apple also started letting developers offer discounted introductory pricing and time-limited free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, based on the idea that subscriptions provide a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.


Top Rated Comments

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37 months ago
All apps should have a "try before you buy" option. One of the most frustrating things is getting an app and it turns out its total garbage, or doesn't have one feature you really need.
Score: 20 Votes
37 months ago
I delete any app that pushes a subscription. I know servers are not cheap but when I have to pay $1-5 per app per month, it becomes very expensive.

I noticed an uptick in apps where to use the apple pencil, you need to subscribe. Like Duet for example. flippin ridic
Rating: 19 Votes
37 months ago
Thanks, but no thanks.
Rating: 17 Votes
37 months ago
The only types of apps that offer subscriptions that I think are fair are music services, video content services and cloud storage. I may start to minimize my use of mobile tech and begin getting cheaper phones if I have to subscribe to services that were previously free. I'm already paying a hefty monthly fee for a data plan and I'm not paying $5 a month to check the weather. No.

The subscription model for password management seems particularly ludicrous to me.
Rating: 11 Votes
37 months ago
Two different things going on here:

1 - Try before you buy. This needs to become the norm, not the exception.

2 - Subscription model. That in itself often sucks.

But, don't throw out #1 because #2 sucks.
Rating: 8 Votes
37 months ago

Excellent. Developers prefer users who want to help pay the rent to cover the time taken to develop, then support and update apps over the long term. Why should we work for free for users who have no interest in painting our fences or weeding our lawns for free? If you find some free knock-off app covered with ads instead, go for it.

I will happily pay for an app once and only once. I write software too and I know the difficulty and time involved to build an app from scratch. If the dev choses to write a new upgraded app and release that, I can choose to upgrade (like Star Walk). I refuse to pay a dev $1/month because they wrote an app that essentially parses NOAA data or it toggles a software switch to enable a feature that is already there.


It's like having a buddy who did you a favor. You buy them lunch once, not every month for the rest of your life.
Rating: 7 Votes

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