Free Trials for All Paid Apps Now Possible Thanks to Updated App Store Guidelines

Apple yesterday introduced updated App Store Guidelines, which bring a much-desired feature that both developers and customers have been wanting for some time -- free trial options for all apps.

A modified 3.1.1 rule in the guidelines says that apps are now able to offer a free time-based trial period using no-cost in-app purchase options that will temporarily unlock app functionality.

So, for example, you will be able to make a $0.00 in-app purchase in an app to unlock a free trial period that lasts for a set period of time, usually a few days to a week or two.

With this change, all apps in the App Store will be able to free trials to customers should the developers choose to implement the feature.

Prior to the guideline update, free trial periods for App Store apps were available only for subscription-based apps, where you had to agree to make a monthly or weekly payment to get access to a free trial.

A lack of free trials for apps has been a major complaint for both the iOS and Mac App Stores, and especially so on the Mac App Store, where apps are often more expensive and offer more extensive functionality that customers may want to test before making a high-dollar purchase.

Apple implemented several other changes to its guidelines, including restrictions on subscription apps that attempt to scam people out of money and new rules for remote mirroring apps like Steam Link.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
24 months ago
This story should have been written in 2012. But we'll take it...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
Am I missing something or does this policy change seem like it means more apps will move to in-app purchases to unlock the full functionality of an app?

I kinda don't like that, because it prevents family sharing, and then I have to buy it twice for me and my wife.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
I like the idea but this effectively kills family sharing as you'd have to re buy IAP for each family member.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
It was always possible to create two apps, free and paid, but it was rarely done. It's also a pain to manage both, and you lose your data (game progress, etc.) when you upgrade. Let's say you buy it for yourself, later you decide to share it with the whole family, you may need a special data migration facility as well. Every time they fix a bug, they need to get both reviewed and published. Then my purchase history is going to show both apps, and it's not immediately clear which one is which, or why I have two copies. It's a little bit of a pain.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
Doesn’t this encourage developers to use IAP more often, making it more difficult for users to take advantage of Family Sharing? I hate when they do that.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 months ago
My wish is that devs wouldn't be able to put their apps in the free section if it's just a trial. Heck maybe the free apps with in app purchases should be barred as well.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...