Netflix Tests Disabling In-App Subscriptions on iOS in Some Countries

Netflix is already one of the highest grossing apps on the App Store, as many iPhone and iPad users pay for their subscriptions via iTunes/Apple ID billing, but the streaming video platform wants an even bigger piece of the pie.

netflix ios previews
TechCrunch today reported that, until September 30, new or lapsed subscribers in some 33 countries will be unable to pay using iTunes.

The countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and the UK.

A customer service representative for Netflix confirmed the test with TechCrunch:

During this time, customers in these countries may experience any of the following when launching the Netflix app on an iOS (mobile or tablet) device:

1. Ability to sign up in app with only iTunes Mode Of Payment.
2. Ability to log into Netflix but not sign up (sign up only via mobile browser).

We are constantly innovating and testing new signup approaches on different platforms to better understand what our members like. Based on what we learn, we work to improve the Netflix experience for members everywhere.

This means that some iPhone and iPad users who open the Netflix app will only be able to sign into an existing, active account, with no option to create a new account. By the sound of it, Netflix is hoping that these users will close the app, and sign up through its mobile website or elsewhere with a credit card.

Apple collects a 30 percent commission—15 percent after the first year—from users who subscribe via its in-app purchase mechanism, so it's pretty clear that Netflix is trying to avoid padding the pockets of one of its biggest competitors, which just so happens to be working on a Netflix-like service itself.

Of note, Apple's App Store Review Guidelines state that developers are not permitted to "directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase," but it appears that Netflix has worked around this rule by simply not offering new users the option to sign up in-app whatsoever.

We've reached out to Apple for comment.

Tag: Netflix

Top Rated Comments

WarHeadz Avatar
32 months ago

It’s their loss. Most people like me subscribe from iTunes. They will lose lots of people.

Lmao, right. I promise you most people don’t subscribe to Netflix through iTunes. Nobody who wants to subscribe to Netflix will avoid doing it because you can’t do it through iTunes, if you think that’s the case you’re living in your own little universe. The only one who will lose out is Apple, losing out on fees they aren’t entitled to anyway and should have never received.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordVic Avatar
32 months ago
I can sortof understand Apple charging ~30% for purchasing an app on their store. They host the App afterall.

But taking 15% from subscriptions? 30% from in-app purchases that have absolutely NOTHING to do with Apple except using them as a payment processor is ridiculously high for a payment processor. MasterCard/Visa charges 1-2% of each purchase. Even your run of the mill non standard ones only charge 2-3%. Taking 15% of monthly subscription based services is very high and puts unecessary burdens on those companies.

Apple needs to adjust here to remain competitive. services like Netflix are already small margin and are fairly inexpensive. 15% of your fee can suddenly make the service unprofitable to deliver, and if that's the case, we al lose as the services that aren't profitable go away, even if they're great like Netflix.

Do we WANT Netflix to stop being used on iOS devices? do we want them to just say "it's not worth it" and walk away? of course not. That hurts everyone. Apple needs to realize this isn't 2010 anymore. they no longer have a captive position as the dominant platform.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moorepheus Avatar
32 months ago
can't say I blame them. Audible has never allowed you to buy from the app for anything. Why would any company want to lose out on 15% of revenue?
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
32 months ago

Your move, Apple. Take Netflix down from their App Store maybe? :D

Why? People aren’t subscribing to Netflix because of Apple.
[doublepost=1534862090][/doublepost]

It’s their loss. Most people like me subscribe from iTunes. They will lose lots of people.

Meh, it’s really easy to subscribe from the browser. That’s what I did when I had a Spotify subscription.
[doublepost=1534862216][/doublepost]

can't say I blame them. Audible has never allowed you to buy from the app for anything. Why would any company want to lose out on 15% of revenue?

Barnes and Noble doesn’t either. Doesn’t stop me from buying books on bn.com. Why should Apple get a cut of B&N book sales? Just because they offer their own book service? I assumed the yearly developer fee is to cover the cost of Apple hosting a free app on the App Store.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigby Avatar
32 months ago
The little angel on my left shoulder says "Netflix deserves to get the full price". The little devil on the right shoulder says "but you can save 15-20% by using discounted iTunes gift cards". And there is faint laughter in the distance that sounds like Tim Cook.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freida Avatar
32 months ago

It’s their loss. Most people like me subscribe from iTunes. They will lose lots of people.

how so? Giving Apple 30% is massive chunk and I never used in app purchases for subscription and this will certainly not deter people from using netflix. After all, you only need to subscribe once and please don't tell me people are so damn lazy these days to go on a website and do it from there.

I can safely say that those lazy slackers will still amount for less revenue lost than the 30% Apple is taking right now.

So good on Netflix, I would have done this ages ago.
[doublepost=1534864636][/doublepost]

So Netflix sacrifices user experience for their greed.

really? How often do you use this "feature"? I would rather that Netflix uses the extra 30% to improve the film collection and services then lose a massive chunk of money because people are so damn lazy these days
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
google maps detailed street level e1611052089473

Google Maps Gains Enhanced Street-Level Detail in Four Major Cities

Tuesday January 19, 2021 2:34 am PST by
Google Maps has quietly been updated to include significantly more detailed street-level information in a handful of key cities around the world. Upon zooming in, Google's maps for Central London, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York now benefit from shapes and widths that match the scale of roads more accurately. Meanwhile, enhanced graphical representations of sidewalks, crosswalks,...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
airpods max sim ejector

AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

Tuesday January 19, 2021 8:25 am PST by
It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway. Image via Prelook In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately....
macbook pro screensaver table

Some M1 Macs Affected By Fast User Switching Screensaver Bug

Monday January 18, 2021 1:57 am PST by
A growing number of user reports online suggest some of Apple's M1 Mac models are susceptible to a Fast User Switching bug that spontaneously activates the screensaver and leaves the user unable to dismiss it. In macOS Big Sur, Fast User Switching allows users to quickly switch between user accounts without having to completely log out. Based on posts in the MacRumors forums, Apple...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
shot on iphone 12 apple

Apple Highlights Photos Shot by iPhone 12 Users: Portraits, Cityscapes, and More

Tuesday January 19, 2021 6:05 am PST by
Apple today shared a gallery of photos shot by customers using the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with scenes including cityscapes, landscapes, portraits of people, and more at day and night. Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by "NKCHU" in China (top) and shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by Rohit Vohra in India (bottom) iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 models have a dual camera ...
Apple and Hyundai feature

Apple Car Production Again Linked to Kia Motor's US Plant in Georgia

Tuesday January 19, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Hyundai intends to transition the company's Apple Car involvement to its Kia brand as part of an internal arrangement that could see production move to the U.S., according to a new report today. On Sunday, Korea IT News reported that Apple and Hyundai are seeking a partnership agreement for the upcoming Apple Car by March, and that the electric vehicles could be made at a Georgia factory...