Apple Extends Deadline Requiring Apps Offering Virtual Group Events to Use In-App Purchases

Apple in September tweaked its App Store rules surrounding in-app purchase requirements for realtime experiences, and as a result, apps that offer virtual events for more than a single person must use in-app purchases.

apple developer banner
Apple was originally requiring apps to comply starting in December 2020, but the deadline has now been pushed out until June 30, 2021.

As the world fights COVID-19, we recognize that adapting experiences from in-person to digital continues to be a top priority. Although apps are required to offer any paid online group event experiences (one-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences) through in-app purchase in accordance with App Store Review guideline 3.1.1, we temporarily deferred this requirement with an original deadline of December 2020. To allow additional time for developing in-app purchase solutions, this deadline has been extended to June 30, 2021.

Apple's App Store rules allow apps that offer realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals to use purchase methods other than in-app purchase, but this does not extend to group classes. So, for example, tutoring, medical consultations, real estate tours, and one-on-one fitness training sessions can be purchased within apps without having to rely on in-app purchase, but that doesn't apply to group events.

All realtime person-to-person experiences that are one-to-a-few or one-to-many events that involve more than two people have to implement in-app purchases. Apple made this rule change because so many services have been forced to go digital due to the ongoing health crisis.

Apps like ClassPass and Airbnb normally offer real world purchase options that are not subject to in-app purchases, but have instead been offering virtual experiences in recent months.

Since virtual experiences are subject to in-app purchase rules, Apple has been wanting to take a cut of sales from those apps, which ClassPass and Airbnb have resisted. As a result, Apple tweaked the rules to allow for person-to-person purchases that don't have a fee, while subjecting group events to the fee.

Apple has said that waiving commission for ClassPass, Airbnb, and similar apps would be unfair to other developers. "Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone," Apple has said of the dispute.

Apps like ClassPass and Airbnb will now have until the end of June 2021 to comply with Apple's new requirements. Apple also recently announced a policy that allows app developers that earn under $1 million per year to pay 15 percent commission to Apple instead of 30 percent.

Top Rated Comments

ozzymo Avatar
15 months ago
Did anyone else laugh when they read the quote that "Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone"? Yea everyone who isn't Netflix or anyone who doesn't have enough power to threaten our bottom line. Apple hates Netflix and tried years ago to make them adhere to a stricter set of rules like the ones they are holding game streaming apps to. Netflix laughed and called their bluff and then Apple caved and made a different rule for video streaming apps known as the Netflix exception. Apple knows that if they pissed Netflix off and they took their app off iOS devices they would lose millions and millions of iOS customers to Android. Apple is so full of it. And it's crazy how many hoops the people on here will jump through to justify every random decision Apple makes.

But I posted in another thread and I would love for the apple cultists on here to defend two positions of Apple: 1). The fact that Apple caves to the Chinese government and kicks off apps the government doesn't like. Nothing wrong with doing that, but then you can't turn around and claim to be a company with a conscience that believes in human rights. 2). The privacy violations that are just coming out about Big Sur. Apple changed the network extension API that firewalls are allowed to use and made sure that their own processes and telemetry go around that api so no firewall can block it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PickUrPoison Avatar
15 months ago

Good to see the Apple money grab machine alive and well.
You mean the Apple money giveaway machine, right? Or maybe you didn’t read the article ?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ozzymo Avatar
15 months ago

Since when do governments around the world “force” companies to drop their commission rates 5 or 10 points because some complainers think it’s “too much”. That’s not a thing lol.

But yeah, cutting fees in half for all companies making less than a million is an awesome move. Thanks Tim Apple!

Large companies like Epic pay the full 30%, or maybe that 30% goes up to 35-40% to cover the money Apple will lose from giving smaller companies the 50% cut on commissions.
Dude drink kool-aid much? Apple really cares about small businesses? Why did Apple just decide to spread forth the goodwill now years after the App Store opened? They could have done this years ago. You really really think its a coincidence they're doing it now when they are under investigation all around the world for monopolistic app stores. Apple's bread and butter is not iPhones or iPads it is the App Store ecosystem. If they are forced to open up the ecosystem they will lose billions. Certain governments are already holding talks about these Silicon Valley app stores and their practices. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before they bust them open and knock apple down a peg or two.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Coconut Bean Avatar
15 months ago
Looking forward to the day when VAT finally stands for VERY APPLE TAX!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PickUrPoison Avatar
15 months ago

Oh how nice of Apple. Won't they go bankrupt though without taking that juicy 30% of everything they can?
Nope, they’ll be fine. I’m sure they appreciate your concern though ?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PickUrPoison Avatar
15 months ago

Yea they're getting scared of all the government scrutiny going on now. There is no goodwill on Apple's or Google's part. They figure it will be cheaper for them to drop some of the fees to 15% rather than take a chance of governments around the world forcing them to drop their rates and make other concessions.
Since when do governments around the world “force” companies to drop their commission rates 5 or 10 points because some complainers think it’s “too much”. That’s not a thing lol.

But yeah, cutting fees in half for all companies making less than a million is an awesome move. Thanks Tim Apple!

Large companies like Epic pay the full 30%, or maybe that 30% goes up to 35-40% to cover the money Apple will lose from giving smaller companies the 50% cut on commissions.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

app store blue banner

App Store Ecosystem Responsible for Estimated $643 Billion in Billings and Sales in 2020, According to Apple-Commissioned Study

Wednesday June 2, 2021 10:00 am PDT by
The App Store ecosystem facilitated an estimated $643 billion in billings and sales in 2020, an increase of 24 percent year-over-year, according to an Apple-commissioned study done by Analysis Group economists. [PDF] The study, "A Global Perspective on the Apple App Store Ecosystem," comes as Apple awaits a decision in its ongoing trial with Epic Games, much of which focused on App Store...
app store blue banner uk

UK Class Action Accuses Apple of Breaking Competition Law by Overcharging for Apps

Tuesday May 11, 2021 12:54 am PDT by
A new legal case filed with the U.K.'s Competition Appeal Tribunal has accused Apple of breaching competition law by overcharging nearly 20 million customers for App Store purchases. The collective action case alleges Apple's 30% commission on app sales and consumers' forced use of its own payment processing system generates "unlawfully excessive levels of profit," and calls for the company...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
app store safe secure

Developer Highlights How Fake Apps Scam Users Via Apple's In-App Purchasing System

Wednesday April 7, 2021 4:59 am PDT by
Apple hosts millions of apps on the App Store, calling the platform a "safe and trusted" place to discover apps. While mainly true, Apple has come under criticism for hosting many different scam apps on the platform, some even raking in millions in revenue. In February, developer Kosta Elefherious highlighted how many of his own apps, including the popular Apple Watch keyboard, FlickType,...
parler app

Parler Returns to the App Store With Improved Moderation

Monday May 17, 2021 7:43 am PDT by
The controversial social media app Parler has today returned to the App Store, several months after Apple suspended it for breach of App Store rules. Parler was removed from the App Store in January because Apple said that it failed to take "adequate measures to address the proliferation" of "threats to people's safety." According to the Washington Post, Parler has now implemented a...
app store blue banner

Judge Grills Tim Cook on App Store Policies as End of of Epic Games v. Apple Trial Approaches

Friday May 21, 2021 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in the Epic Games v. Apple trial today, and some of the final questioning by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers did not appear to go in Apple's favor. She spent several minutes grilling Cook on Apple's App Store policies and some of the statements that he made. "You said you want to give users control, so what's the problem with allowing users to have a cheaper option...
timcookantitrust

Tim Cook 'Practicing for Hours' Ahead of Epic Games Testimony Expected This Week

Monday May 17, 2021 4:17 am PDT by
So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a backseat in defending Apple as it faces a significant legal battle with Epic Games regarding the App Store. While the CEO has commented on the platform in the past, for the first time this week, Tim Cook will take center stage in his company's battle with Epic Games. Apple in March submitted its list of executives that will testify during the trial...
WordPressStoppedByIAP Feature

WordPress for iOS Was Blocked From Updating Unless it Agreed to Add In-App Purchases for .Com Plans [Updated]

Friday August 21, 2020 1:18 pm PDT by
Apple is requiring the WordPress for iOS app to implement in-app purchase options for its .com plans, and prevented the app from getting updates until the development team agreed to add the feature, WordPress developer Matt Mullenweg said on Twitter today. Mullenweg says the WordPress iOS App was "locked" and to push updates and bug fixes, the company had to agree to add support for in-app...

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...