Apple Letting 'Reader' Apps Offer Links for Account Sign Ups Outside of the App Store to Close Japan Investigation

Apple today announced that the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has agreed to close its App Store investigation in exchange for changes to how "reader" apps like Netflix operate. Reader apps allow users to browse previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.

app store blue banner
Going forward, developers that create "reader" apps will be able to include an in-app link to their website for users to either set up or manage an account, and signup using a non-App Store payment method will be possible. Apple says that this change will be applied globally to all reader apps on the ‌App Store‌.

Because reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple has agreed to let these apps share just one link to their website for "account management" purposes.

"Trust on the App Store is everything to us. The focus of the App Store is always to create a safe and secure experience for users, while helping them find and use great apps on the devices they love," said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store. "We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we've done together, which will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust."

Apple says that prior to when the change goes into effect in 2022, the ‌App Store‌ guidelines and the review process will be updated to "make sure users of reader apps continue to have a safe experience on the ‌App Store‌." Apple plans to help developers of reader apps "protect users when they link to an external website to make purchases."

Apple last week paid $100 million and agreed to make minor changes to its ‌App Store‌ policies to settle a class-action developer lawsuit. The money is going to a "fund" for small developers, who will receive payments from Apple.

Under the terms of that deal, Apple will let developers use communication methods like email to tell customers about payment methods available outside of iOS apps, and it will expand the price points that developers can offer for apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions. Apple also plans to release annual transparency reports on the app review process.

The "reader" app change introduced today is a much more significant victory for Apple developers because it will allow apps to provide an in-app link to a website where a purchase can be made outside of the ‌App Store‌. This will be available for apps like Spotify and Netflix, and it addresses one of the biggest issues that developers have with the ‌App Store‌. Once implemented in 2022, a huge swath of developers will have an option to offer non-App Store signups to avoid the 15 to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from each transaction.

Top Rated Comments

robjulo Avatar
35 months ago
Look who blinked. Great win for the consumer.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Westside guy Avatar
35 months ago
How can we trust Apple to keep us safe when it couldn't even protect its own 30% cut? ?
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
B_mark_R Avatar
35 months ago
It has begun.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jakotako Avatar
35 months ago
The fact that a certain category of apps can now use payment methods outside the App store is the catalyst that will eventually lead to every app being allowed to do so. I cannot imagine app developers will just walk away from the conversation with only reader apps being given this privilege.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
35 months ago

Look who blinked. Great win for the consumer.
How exactly will the consumer “win”? This is a win for Netfix and the others that qualify for this, consumers will not see any savings.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bgraham Avatar
35 months ago

Giving my credit card to Netflix, Spotify, Hulu? I'm OK with that. To some no-name developer for a loot box? Way too risky.

If every app does do that, 3-6 months later, stories in the press about "iPhone user got charged tens of thousands of dollars after buying a $5 in game purchase, Apple must fix this!"
PayPal exists, and it doesn't charge 30% lol
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
CarPlay Sound Recognition

Apple Previews Three New CarPlay Features Coming With iOS 18

Wednesday May 15, 2024 9:18 am PDT by
Apple today previewed new accessibility features coming with iOS 18 later this year, and this includes some new options for CarPlay. Apple highlighted three new features coming to CarPlay: Voice Control: This feature will allow users to navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. Color Filters: This feature will make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use for...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M4 OLED iPad Pro

Wednesday May 15, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
Today is the official launch day of the new iPad Pro models, and these updated tablets mark the biggest feature and design refresh that we've seen for the iPad Pro in several years. We picked up one of the new 13-inch models to check out everything new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, Apple is still offering 11-inch and 13-inch size options ...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...