Apple Changes App Store Rules to Allow Users to Gift In-App Purchases to Friends and Family

Apple today made a tweak to its App Store Review Guidelines, allowing developers to implement a new feature that will let iOS users purchase in-app content as a gift.

Right now, iOS users can purchase paid apps as gifts for other iOS users, but there's no way to purchase in-app content as a gift. As more and more apps work on a free-to-try or subscription basis with various content only available through an in-app purchase, this change to the in-app purchase rules makes sense.

The new in-app purchase gifting rule is outlined in Apple's updated App Store Review Guidelines.

Before the change: "Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others."

After the change: "Apps may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchase to others. Such gifts may only be refunded to the original purchaser and may not be exchanged."

It's not entirely clear how gifting an in-app purchase will be handled, but Apple may be planning to add new in-app purchase gifting options to its App Store interface. Apple may soon send more information about the in-app purchase gifting change to developers.


Right now, to gift a paid app to a person, a user needs to open up the App Store, tap on the three dots icon next to an app's price, and choose the "Gift App..." option. This brings up an interface for sending an App Store credit for a specific app to a contact via email.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
23 months ago
In-App-Purchases kill Family Sharing. :(
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

Say what you want. People are not buying paid apps anymore. It's dropped significantly. The same paid app, when it becomes free and has an in-App purchase to unlock features has a better success rate, even if its the same features and same price as when it was paid.

That just sounds like a end-around Apple's refusal to implement a way to demo an app. It let's the developer code in a demo of sorts - like Infuse does.

If Apple just allowed proper demoing, then maybe the IAPs as a way to purchase an app wouldn't be so common.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
It seems apple is trying to eke out profits all of a sudden.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

In-App-Purchases kill Family Sharing. :(

So much this! The fact IAPs aren't available to all the family sucks big time. I'd rather take a lesser app that is a one-time purchase that the family can use, over one that has IAPs
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
While I hate subscriptions for most apps apps, I do understand and support one time in-app payments for "pro" features. Actually there is one in-app purchase I wanted to buy for a relative for a long time. Now I'm hoping this particular company is going to support this soon.

As far as I understand it the developers have to implement this change first.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
Get rid of in app
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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