April 05, 2022
Update on "reader" app distribution
Apple has updated their App Store Review Guidelines to now allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to their website for account creation and management purposes.
Apple’s own summary can be found here.
The complete set of changes can be seen below:
5.6 Developer Code of Conduct
- 3.1.1 In-App Purchase:
- If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase, except as set forth in 3.1.3(a).
- 3.1.3 Other Purchase Methods: The following apps may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase. Apps in this section cannot, within the app, encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, except as set forth in 3.1.3(a). Developers can send communications outside of the app to their user base about purchasing methods other than in-app purchase.
- 3.1.3(a) “Reader” Apps: Apps may allow a user to access previously purchased content or content subscriptions (specifically: magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video). Reader apps may offer account creation for free tiers, and account management functionality for existing customers. Reader app developers may apply for the External Link Account Entitlement to provide an informational link in their app to a web site the developer owns or maintains responsibility for in order to create or manage an account. Learn more about the External Link Account Entitlement.
Please treat everyone with respect, whether in your responses to App Store reviews, customer support requests, or when communicating with Apple, including your responses in Resolution CenterApp Store Connect. Do not engage in harassment of any kind, discriminatory practices, intimidation, bullying, and don’t encourage others to engage in any of the above. Repeated manipulative or misleading behavior or other fraudulent conduct will lead to your removal from the Apple Developer Program.
After You Submit
Once you’ve submitted your app and metadata in App Store Connect and you’re in the review process, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Rejections: Our goal is to apply these guidelines fairly and consistently, but nobody’s perfect. If your app has been rejected and you have questions or would like to provide additional information, please use the Resolution Center to communicate directly with the App Store Connect to communicate directly with the App Review team. This may help get your app on the store, and it can help us improve the App Review process or identify a need for clarity in our policies. If you still disagree with the outcome, or would like to suggest a change to the guideline itself, please submit an appeal.
- Bug Fix Submissions: For apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal or safety issues. If your app has been rejected, and qualifies for this process, please use the Resolution Center to communicate directly with the App Store Connect to communicate directly with the App Review team indicating that you would like to take advantage of this process and plan to address the issue in your next submission.