Apple revises App Store rules to allow third-party payments in the U.S

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Apple’s appeal regarding “anti-steering” rules stemming from the Epic Games dispute. This upholds the court’s previous order for the removal of restrictions on developers informing users about alternatives to in-app purchases.

The justices also dismissed Epic’s appeal challenging the lower court’s ruling on Apple’s App Store policies and antitrust laws. After the incident, Apple announced changes to App Store policies in the US that allow developers to drive users to their website to process payments for in-app purchases.

App Store New Guidelines

As per new guidelines, a developer can now link in-app purchases to alternative payment methods by using use the StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement (US) to include a link to the developer’s website that informs users of other ways to purchase digital goods or services. However, it’s also mandatory to provide users with Apple’s own In-App Purchase system.

The company also outlined specific design language, marketing, and link guidelines for developers using Apple’s StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement. For example, developers linking to alternative payment methods must adhere to the following guidelines:

The link you provide in your app must:

  • Go directly to your website without any redirect or intermediate links or landing page;
  •  Open a new window in the default browser on the device, and may not open a web view;
  • Not pass additional parameters in the URL in order to protect the user (for example, their privacy);
  • Be statically-defined in the <<SKExternalPurchaseLink>> in your app’s Info.plist file before submission to the App Store;
  • Be submitted with your app to the App Store, and shall be resubmitted if the URL changes;
  • Adhere to design and language requirements (see below);
  • Not mimic Apple’s in-app purchase system, nor discourage users from using it;
  • Be displayed no more than once in app, on no more than one app page the user navigates to (not an interstitial, modal, or pop-up), in a single, dedicated location on such page, and may not persist beyond that page; and
  • May not be displayed on any page that is part of an in-app flow to merchandise or initiate a purchase using in-app purchase.

You can review  detailed guideline shere.

For purchases done via alternative payment methods, Apple would charge a 12% commission for developers who are a member of the App Store Small Business Program and 27% for other apps.

Further, Apple will also display in-app warnings for users navigating away from the App Store ecosystem, informing them that App Store protections will not be available.