Apple now requires app subscriptions to show the full cost before signup

Apple updated its App Store guidelines last week to lay out
clear rules for how developers should present in-app
subscription options to users. The changes were spotted by

9to5Mac
, and it appears Apple is trying
to clear up a lot of the confusion that comes with downloading
an app and signing up for a recurring subscription.

The new rules can be found in the
Human Interface Guidelines
and App
Store documentation
on auto-renewable subscriptions, and
they speak to how developers must clearly present the real
prices users will have to pay up front. The example apps shown
below adhere to Apple’s guidelines that “the amount that will
be billed must be the most prominent pricing element in the
layout.”

Alternatively, promotional pricing, including monthly and
yearly savings, should be written less prominently. For
example, Tinder advertises its Gold and Plus subscriptions with
monthly prices for its six- and 12-month subscriptions, but it
requires users to pay up front for their subscriptions in full.
As for free trials, developers must clearly indicate the price
billed once the trials are over, as well as the renewal terms.

Although there are now clear rules on how Apple expects apps in
the App Store to present subscription options, it’s to be seen
how closely Apple will enforce its own guidelines. Though the
App Store is more strictly managed than Google’s Play Store,

scammy apps
that trick users into making in-app purchases
have managed to slip into the marketplace before.

Still, the Google Play Store lets users cancel subscriptions
easily, which is a lot more than the App Store can say. Right
now, most apps only offer the ability to cancel subscriptions
through an option hidden deep within Settings —> iTunes
& App Store —> Apple ID —> Subscriptions. Ideally,
now that there are clear guidelines on how companies can sell
subscriptions to users, Apple can go one step further and
demand that companies offer the option to cancel subscriptions
within the apps themselves.

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