Free Trials for All Paid Apps Now Possible Thanks to Updated App Store Guidelines
Jun 5, 2018 3:32 pm PDT by Juli Clover
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.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

Top Rated Comments

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19 weeks ago
This story should have been written in 2012. But we'll take it...
Rating: 19 Votes
19 weeks 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.
Rating: 13 Votes
19 weeks ago
I like the idea but this effectively kills family sharing as you'd have to re buy IAP for each family member.
Rating: 11 Votes
19 weeks 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.
Rating: 10 Votes
19 weeks 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.
Rating: 8 Votes
19 weeks 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.
Rating: 7 Votes
19 weeks ago
This is why the fam here has, and always will be, on a single account. This stupidity has never been sorted properly. One persona, and additional iCloud accounts for individual stuff such as personal calendars and emails.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 weeks 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.

Exactly, plus if you don't like the app after the free trial is over, it follows you around forever and ever in your app purchase history. They should just offer a free trial directly from the App Store that automatically ends and deletes the app (from your device and any history it might be stored in) unless you go back in and make the purchase.
Rating: 4 Votes
19 weeks ago
I think this addresses a couple concerns raised in the movie - App: The Human Story and https://www.thedevelopersunion.org. Specifically creators of more expensive apps can now offer free trials for potential customers to check out before committing $$. Plus it'll help reduce the number of negative reviews based on expectations for pricey apps. https://www.macrumors.com/2018/05/18/app-store-developers-form-union-ahead-of-wwdc/ @appdocu ('https://twitter.com/appdocu')
Rating: 4 Votes
19 weeks ago
Ha! Everybody has the same exact concern. Add me to the list.
Rating: 3 Votes

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