Developers May Soon Be Able to Automatically Charge Apple Users for Subscription Price Increases

Apple appears to be testing a new feature that would allow developers to automatically charge users when a subscription price goes up, according to TechCrunch.

iOS App Store General Feature Clorange
Right now, Apple asks customers to explicitly agree to subscription pricing increases when the cost of a subscription goes up. If a customer does not tap on the presented "Agree to New Price" button, their subscription is automatically canceled. But if the new functionality that Apple is testing rolls out, customers may simply be notified of an upcoming change, rather than being given the choice to cancel. Essentially, Apple is testing an opt-out system rather than an opt-in system for subscription pricing changes.

When Disney+ recently increased its prices to $7.99 per month, some developers noticed that the Disney+ app sent out a notification that was more of an alert about a price increase rather than a clear opt-in choice. Disney+ subscribers received a notification with a large "OK" button letting them know about the change, but there was no built-in opt-out button, with the app instead providing a link to change the subscription.

Other developers noticed similar behavior for different subscriptions, and an Apple spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that it is running a pilot test on a new subscription system.

"We are piloting a new commerce feature we plan to launch very soon. The pilot includes developers across various app categories, organization sizes, and regions to help test an upcoming enhancement that we believe will be great for both developers and users, and we'll have more details to share in the coming weeks," the spokesperson said.

If this change rolls out more widely, App Store users will need to keep a closer eye on their subscriptions, as it will be easier for a pricing increase to go under the radar without the express opt-in system that's currently in place.

Apple would not provide more details on the pilot test, and did not offer information on the apps that are currently involved or when the feature might roll out more widely to all developers.

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Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
30 months ago

If this change rolls out more widely, App Store users will need to keep a closer eye on their subscriptions, as it will be easier for a pricing increase to go under the radar without the express opt-in system that's currently in place.
No thank you -- at all

Jesus -- these companies just want us hooked up to them and they can simply extract whatever money out of us they feel like

Welcome to hell
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiVolt Avatar
30 months ago
Yeah this is a horrible idea. I bet you scammy apps will be exploiting this big time.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
30 months ago
Fantastic - inflation as a feature.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
30 months ago
This is 100% going to be abused. 99/cents/mo weather app is going to shoot up to 99.99/mo. If they “get“ 5/100 people they still make out like bandits.

Combine this with subscription groups and you get this:
1. launch at 0.99/mo
2. Get users using search ads
3. Increase launch product to 99.99/mo
4. New users get new subscription group at 99 cents/mo
5. Rinse and repeat
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GubbyMan Avatar
30 months ago
Apple keeps touting that their first party payment methods are so good and that third party payments should be kept out of the AppStore…

…THEN THEY DO THIS! ?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SW3029 Avatar
30 months ago
**** that. This happens and I don't subscribe to any more apps. No way is it fair for a developer to increase the price of your subscription without notifying you.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)