Note: this article will be frequently updated as Apple changes their App Store Review Guidelines on a regular basis. Last Updated: June 4th, 2018.
Many of Headway’s clients are entrepreneurs bootstrapping a passion project or a new startup that just closed their first seed round. In either case, money in the early days is tight. That’s why we put together this guide to help navigate what will pass muster during an App Store Review so you can get the most out of the revenue generated with your iOS products.
Below is a link to Apple’s published App Store Review Guidelines. These guidelines outline what Apple will and won’t let fly on their platform.
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, video, access to professional databases, VoIP, cloud storage, and approved services such as classroom management apps), provided that you agree not to directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, and your general communications about other purchasing methods are not designed to discourage use of in-app purchase.
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.
3.1.5 (a) Goods and Services Outside of the App: If your app enables people to purchase goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app, you must use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments, such as Apple Pay or traditional credit card entry.*
In this context, the service was performed in a separate app, but outside the app taking payment nevertheless. However, we were still purchasing digital content, so the content couldn’t be accessed directly in the app where the purchase was made or it would violate these terms. The content in this case, an audio recording, was intended to be used outside the context of the purchasing app (typically by being sent as a gift audio message via text), but even so, offering playback of the original content inside the app was determined to be too close to violating Apple’s terms.
One real-world example of this two app model is Uber + Uber Driver.
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