August 22, 2022 | Lucy Penn
It’s been a while since we covered Apple’s External Link Requirement update, so we wanted to revisit this and share some findings that we’ve taken from communication with our clients over the past few months…
We’ve found that the biggest challenge is for publishers who already have IAPs as in order to implement external links you would need to remove IAPs from the app entirely. This would affect single edition purchases and would also mean that users with an existing IAP would be unable to restore their purchases. One potential solution for apps that have lots of existing IAP subscribers would be to keep the existing app running, remove it from store to support those with an existing IAP, but make it unavailable for new subscribers. You would then release a new app that has external subscriptions only and plan to migrate subscribers over to this. Depending on the frequency of your subscription plans, this could potentially be a long process, particularly for annual subscribers.
We’ve also found a few of the other requirements have been causing a headache for publishers…
“Open a new window in the default browser on the device, and may not open a web view” – This means that the subscription page won’t open within the app experience, it will open in the web browser, i.e. Safari or Chrome.
“Not pass additional parameters in the URL, in order to protect the user (for example, their privacy)” – This may cause issues returning the user to the app once they have signed in or subscribed. Most likely you would need to create a specific app subscription page that would be linked from the app and then on that page you would need a ‘back to the app’ button.
Not include, or be used with, language that includes the price of items available on the website (acceptable language includes “go to example.com to create or manage your account”) – This means you would be asking the user to go to an external website to subscribe to something without informing them of the price beforehand.
Be formatted like a standard HTML link (i.e., blue underlined text) and contain the domain name of the website; – There are some example screens of how this should work within the documentation, however this can create a disjointed experience and may put some users off.
If you’re looking to implement the External Link Account Entitlement and want to find out more about your options then please speak with your account manager for further information.
More information from Apple can be found here: https://developer.apple.com/support/reader-apps/