Apple Wants To Prevent Apps From Tricking Users Into Signing Up For Subscriptions


Apple has revamped its App Store guidelines so that users won't be tricked into a subscription anymore.

From the look of things, a lot of people have been consenting to monthly or annual payments for certain services without even knowing exactly what they're getting into.

User-Friendly Interface

As spotted by 9to5Mac, the Cupertino brand made some changes to the rules in the Human Interface Guidelines page and the App Store documentation regarding auto-renewable subscriptions.

Above all, developers must now highlight the pricing clearly. In other words, apps should tell users exactly how much they're paying. For example, one-year subscriptions should display their total cost in large, noticeable text instead of the monthly price breakdown, and not the other way around.

More than that, they now have to explain the terms and conditions of any kind of purchase. That includes making the free trial duration and recurring payments clear and in plain view for the users' perusal. It also applies to managing and canceling subscriptions. This layout is shown in the sample images Apple made.

It's worth noting that the company doesn't allow developers to add an in-app button to cancel subscriptions, according to The Verge. That means users will still have to go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Subscriptions before they can cancel.

Deceptive Apps

As TechCrunch points out, there are a "handful" of apps that use shady practices in the App Store. What they do is they label subscription buttons with "Start" or "Continue" in big text, leaving the terms of the purchase hidden or difficult to read. They might not be as bad as things like the fake Amazon Alexa app that climbed the charts, but they're still worth keeping an eye out for.

One notable example here is Tinder. It sells six-month subscriptions to its service for $8.83 a month, but what it doesn't tell users is that it'll charge them $52 outright. Another underhanded trick that some apps use are short free trials in a bid to fool users into recurring payments without them noticing.

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