- Apple has recently updated the Apple App Store’s payment mechanism and included connections to third-party websites for online transactions.
- As part of iOS 15.5, Apple included support for and cautions regarding purchasing via third-party applications.
- You cannot monitor or cancel purchases made outside of the App Store via the App Store.
Changes to the Apple App Store’s payment system and links to third-party websites for online purchases have just been made by Apple. Apple has added support for and warnings about making purchases from outside apps as part of iOS 15.5.
If you’re a developer of a reader app, you may now sign up for access to an external linking entitlement that will enable your app to provide a link to a website where users can register or maintain an account. Reader apps include Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and other services that mostly let people access digital content, like periodicals, newspapers, books, audio, and video.
Earlier this week, 9to5Mac spotted code supporting external purchase support in the iOS 15.5 beta. According to the site, “External Link Account Entitlement” is a feature that Apple just made accessible to reader applications and is now “fully supported” in iOS 15.5 according to the site.
The External Connect Account Entitlement gives apps the ability to link to an external website from inside the app. This means that Netflix iOS app users may access the Netflix website where they can sign up for or modify their Netflix subscriptions.
To resolve a probe by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission in early 2021, Apple agreed to enable reader applications to provide a link to an external website. According to Apple, the company is working on ways to “ensure that users of reader applications have a secure experience” and to “protect users when they connect to an external website for purchases,” which explains some of the new terminology in iOS 15.5.
Apps that provide subscriptions and content via the App Store’s facilities can’t be maintained through the App Store, 9to5Mac discovered, citing a warning message for users who remove an app with external purchases. For example, if you subscribe to Netflix through an external link in the Netflix iOS app and then deactivate the app, the subscription can’t be cancelled through the App Store subscription interface. Instead, the developer, in this case, Netflix, will have to handle it.
“External purchases” may still occur, according to the pop-up in the beta. “The App Store does not allow you to monitor or cancel purchases made outside of the App Store.” Consult the creator for more details. “
Additionally, for certain applications requiring external transactions, Apple seems to inform users of these alternatives and support restrictions at launch time, making it obvious that purchases outside of the App Store must be handled outside of the App Store.
Additionally, the App Store and any external purchases made via links in reader applications must be clearly differentiated by Apple’s requirements for external connections. Instead of opening in the app’s web view, a link must open in a new browser window in the device’s default browser. Links cannot include tracking information or redirects, and an app may only connect out to a website that it is linked to when it comes to safeguards.
No release date for iOS 15.5 has been announced, but Apple is taking requests from reader applications that want to use the external link entitlement. The next beta version of iOS and iPadOS, iOS 15.5, looks to be the target date listed on Apple’s link entitlement page for the External Link Account API.