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Try Before You Buy: Free Trials Finally Coming To Mac, iOS App Store

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Apple finally introduces free trials on paid apps for the App Store. With the feature implemented, customers will be able to try the full version of their favorite apps before deciding if it’s worth spending the full price for.  ( Parampreet Chanana | Pixabay )

Apple has finally granted a longstanding wish from app developers: free trials. The company has just updated its App Store guidelines to allow free trials for apps, marking the first time such a system has come to the digital store.

To be sure, trials are currently possible but only for subscription-based apps. With this change, Apple will let developers create trial runs for paid apps as well. Developers are required to offer a free in-app purchase and schedule an expiration date to enable a trial, says the new guidelines.

New App Store Guidelines Introduce Free Trials

An app must make clear how long its trial is going to last, the content or services that'll be removed once the trial ends, and any downstream changes the user would need to pay for to get the full range of functionality, according to the guidelines.

It appears trials will be made possible through the primary paid app itself, not as a standalone download from the App Store, since section 2.2 of the guidelines state that "demos, betas, and trial versions of your app don't belong on the App Store."

Until this change, trials were limited to a number of services such as HBO Now or YouTube TV.

Developers have long complained that the lack of free trials have made it difficult for them to encourage people to download paid apps that don't come from major publishers or aren't well known. Customers have either had to rely on user reviews to determine whether an app is going to be good or not, or decide not to pay at all and opt for free alternatives instead.

With this change, all apps in the App Store will be able to offer free trials to all customers, provided, of course, the developer implements the feature.

Trials are available on both the iOS and Mac app stores. A lack of free trials has been a huge complaint especially on the Mac App Store, where apps are often more expensive and offer more extensive functionality that users may want to test out before putting their money down.

No To Steam Link, And Other Changes

Besides free trials, the new guidelines also implement a bunch of other changes including restrictions on subscription apps that attempt to swindle customers, and a ban for remote mirroring apps such as Steam Link, which was poised to let people play PC or Mac games on iOS devices and Apple TV.

Thoughts on free trials? Do you think it's a wise business model for Apple's app stores? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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