Apple Will Soon Let Developers Entice Past Subscribers With Discounted iOS, macOS, and tvOS Subscriptions

In an article posted to App Store Connect, Apple has detailed how iOS, macOS, and tvOS app developers will soon be able to offer discounted subscriptions to past subscribers in an attempt to win those customers back.

ios promotional subscription
As with introductory offers for new subscribers, there will be three categories of promotional offers for previous subscribers:

Free
Customers access your subscription for free for a specific duration — for example, a 30-day trial for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $4.99 per month.

Pay As You Go
Customers pay a promotional price for each billing period for a selected duration — for example, $1.99 per month for three months for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $9.99 per month.

Pay Up Front
Customers pay a one-time promotional price for a specific duration — for example, $9.99 for the first six months of a subscription with a standard renewal price of $39.99 per year.

Developers will be able to offer up to 10 different promotions at once to test the waters.

The promotional offers will also be available to existing subscribers, allowing developers to both retain and win back subscribers. A customer who has yet to subscribe to an app will not have access to the promotional offers, but may be presented with an introductory offer if the developer offers one.

Using receipt validation, developers will be able to identify subscribers who have turned off auto-renewal so that they can act quickly with a promotional offer in an attempt to win them back before the end of their current subscription period.

Once the promotional period ends, the subscription auto-renews at the standard price, according to Apple.

Promotional offers for previous and existing subscribers will be available in iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 and later. Developers can get ready now by creating offers in App Store Connect and by downloading the Xcode 10.2 beta and implementing the new StoreKit APIs into their apps.

Apple first announced this change in its iOS 12.2 beta release notes. More information is available on the Apple Developer website.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

Pafoofnik Avatar
23 months ago
When I start renting other people's pants and shoes to wear, I'll start "subscribing" to software.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
23 months ago
Call it what it is: software rental. The moment you stop paying, you're left with nothing.

It's one thing to pay monthly for access to a deep and expanding content library (Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix) but quite another for an app that's already written to just keep charging you "a cup of coffee a month" just to keep working.

Agenda is an example of an app with a true "subscription" model. You pay for a year of newly introduced "premium" features, and at the end of that year, you keep the features you paid for even if you stop paying. If you want access to subsequent premium features, you keep subscribing.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
diazj3 Avatar
23 months ago
Ugh.... does this means apple will now start abusing their platforms to sell their users unsolicited crap?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
drcre8tive Avatar
23 months ago
No. Please god no.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dave-Z Avatar
23 months ago
Ugg, another move by Apple to get more money. Remember when its products sold themselves? Now Apple's web site and retail stores have ads vomited all over them.

I will not rent software. Period. I'll write my own before I do.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuropsychguy Avatar
23 months ago


Software subscriptions are bad when the software or content is not expensive, or when it's used only a mechanism to increase prices. Price increasing via boiling frog. Microsoft is guilty of this with Office. A home version of Office used to cost ~$150, and you could easily skip a version and not miss much. So upgrading every 3-5 years was needed - about as often as you bought a new computer. Now Office 365 is $100/yr?? That's actually a huge price increase, and bundling some cloud features along with it does not justify what is effectively a 2x-4x price increase for freakin' Work and Excel! Other companies are guilty of this too.

Why criticize Microsoft? You can purchase Office 2019 for $150 if you don't want 365 (limited to 1 PC or Mac). Factoring in inflation, it's cheaper than it used to be. Office Home & Business is $250 for a one-time purchase if you need a commercial use license.

Further, Office 365 can regularly be purchased for $55 or less for a year (NewEgg on Feb 2 for $50, Amazon on Dec 6 for $55). If you only need 1 account, the normal cost is $70 per year (includes 1 TB of OneDrive). For the 365 Home subscription, considering this comes with unlimited devices for 6 unique users, it's not bad - split the cost with friends and/or family if needed. Add to that the 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user (let's value that at $5 per month; 1/2 of Apple's 2 TB $10 plan) and the value is even better. Does everyone need this? No, but many of us use cloud storage.

Over time some people spend more with the 365 subscription. Others, however, are spending less than they would with a traditional purchase and upgrade cycle, especially if you factor in the OneDrive subscription.

Not every subscription is better than what used to be offered but Microsoft's (and Adobe's) offering provides good value for the cost for many people.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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