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

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30 months ago
This story should have been written in 2012. But we'll take it...
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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30 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)
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30 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)
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30 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)
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30 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)
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30 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)

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