US App Store: App and in-app purchases are now also possible externally, with many hurdles

Apple has introduced the option for developers to no longer only process app and in-app sales via the App Store, but via their own website. For now, this only applies in the USA and for iOS and iPadOS apps on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Apple seems to be preparing for corresponding monopoly accusations regarding its payment model for apps. It's hard to interpret the approach as anything other than a tactical move, as there are a number of obstacles put in the way for developers to actually use payments on their own website - application process, StoreKit API usage, 27% commission, revenue reports and more.

There are clear rules for the design and integration of the link to the external payment page. Apple specifies what the new offering should look like in various menus.
There are clear rules for the design and integration of the link to the external payment page. Apple specifies what the new offering should look like in various menus.

Processing app and in-app purchases externally is a difficult process

The opportunity for developers to offer their apps and in-app content in Apple's App Store but to process payments for them externally will certainly soon be offered beyond the USA. However, this has hardly been designed to be an attractive approach, especially for small studios or people working individually on apps.

First of all, the “StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement” must be requested by submitting extensive app and website information. If you are successful with this, the entitlement profile must then be integrated into Xcode. Furthermore, the link and the website behind it must meet several criteria set by Apple.

If you tap on the link to the external payment option, you will receive a large warning that you are now leaving Apple's sphere of influence. Combined with the application and implementation process for developers, the new offer is not a positive experience for anyone.
If you tap on the link to the external payment option, you will receive a large warning that you are now leaving Apple's sphere of influence. Combined with the application and implementation process for developers, the new offer is not a positive experience for anyone.

Finally, users who want to pay externally encounter several warnings about leaving the App Store and using the web, which are more of a deterrent than just informative. Afterwards it doesn't matter whether the offer is used or not. A report on the use of the payment option must be submitted no later than 15 days after the end of the month. If there is income, Apple allows itself 27% of it - only 3% less than with payments via the App Store.

>>> Here are all requirements and conditions on developer.apple.com <<

Digital Markets Act: There will soon be alternative app stores in the EU

In the EU we won't have to wait much longer before Apple will open its iOS and iPadOS systems to alternative app stores. Setapp, among other things, is already in the starting blocks. However, Apple can also set some rules and conditions for the app stores offered by third parties. It remains to be seen what these will look like and to what extent they will slow down the “sideloading” that is actually intended. We'll stay tuned for you.

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1 comment on “US App Store: App and in-app purchases now also possible externally, with many hurdles”

  1. Beatrice Willius

    This is a complete joke on the part of the developers. I fear that the DMA will not improve anything.

    As a developer, I see how long an app is being tested. On average this is 10 minutes. Someone should tell me that this is what makes an app safe.

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