Apple settled an antitrust case in Japan last summer, promising that so-called reading apps would undergo a big change in early 2022. Apple would allow iPhone apps like Netflix, Spotify and others to connect to their sites web for the very first time. This procedure would allow customers to create accounts on these platforms and even to subscribe to them directly, without going through the App Store payment platform. That means Apple won’t get a share of in-app sales that go this route.
Apple has finally made changes to the App Store that allow developers to take advantage of the feature. Soon, iPhone streaming apps like Netflix will allow users to sign up and manage their accounts in a browser outside of apps.
Is the Netflix app free on iPhone?
Netflix and all apps that fall into the “player” category are available for free on iPhone and Android. You do not purchase these apps to access their content. Instead, you subscribe to various services and open the door to movies, music, books, or other digital content sold through reading apps.
All you need to access Netflix content is a subscription. Before Apple changed the App Store rules, Netflix couldn’t tell you where to create an account or link the app to its own website so you could sign up or manage your subscription. It was up to the user to figure out that they had to go to a browser to create an account and get a subscription. Netflix didn’t want to pay Apple the in-app payment fees that would have resulted from an iPhone subscription.
Netflix is a great example, but so is any other reading app that provides access to digital content. It can be Spotify for music or Kindle for books. Until this week, Apple wouldn’t let these reading apps link to their own sites on iOS.
But Apple has now rolled out the App Store changes it promised in early September 2021. Six months later, iPhone and iPad apps like Netflix can finally connect to their main websites to launch signups from Apple. inside the app. These links will direct the user to the official website of the app, where they can create an account and sign up for a subscription.
The new App Store rules
Again, only new users will take advantage of this feature if they sign up for a service on an iPhone or iPad.
But Apple implemented the feature in a special way that requires the developer to follow additional rules. Reading apps looking to take advantage of the change will need to offer users the insights shown in the image above.
Netflix, Spotify, Kindle and other reading apps will need to tell customers that they will be redirected to a website. The information screen also reminds users that the payments they are about to make will not go through Apple’s system. And developers should also link to an information page from Apple that explains the risks of this type of payment setup.
Additionally, Apple prohibits developers from opening these links in the app. Netflix may link to its own website in the iPhone app. But users clicking on the link will be redirected to the iPhone’s default browser. They will need to sign in to Netflix on Safari, Chrome, or whatever browser they use. Also, the developers cannot transmit any other data to the website.
Finally, Netflix cannot tell customers what subscription prices they will pay outside of the main iPhone app.
You should expect to see this new iPhone app feature rolling out to most reading apps soon. Since Apple just made the change, developers will need time to update their apps to comply with Apple’s requirements. This goes for Netflix, Spotify, and all other apps that seek to bypass Apple’s in-app purchase fees on iPhone.
More Netflix coverage: For more Netflix news, check out our coverage of the latest new Netflix movies and series to watch.