Apple today informed developers that it is implementing a new subscription feature that will allow customers to be charged automatically when an app’s subscription price increases, which is not the way subscriptions are working now.
Currently, customers must explicitly accept a price change when the cost of a subscription increases through an “Accept New Price” interface. If a customer doesn’t tap Accept when the warning appears, their subscription is automatically canceled, but that’s changing.
In the future, developers will be able to increase the price of a subscription and renew it automatically, with customers simply being notified rather than having to accept outright. Apple indicates that “under specific conditions and with notice from the user”, developers can offer an increase in the price of the automatically renewable subscription without the user needing to take action and without their subscription being impacted. .
There are specific limitations that Apple places on developers to ensure this feature is not abused. A price increase cannot occur more than once per year, and it cannot exceed $5 and 50% of the subscription price, or $50 and 50% for an annual subscription price.
Apple says it will always notify users of price increases in advance, via email, push notification and in-app message. Apple will also provide instructions on how to view, manage, and cancel subscriptions.
With this update, under certain specific conditions and with prior notice from the user, the developers can also offer an increase in the price of the automatically renewable subscription, without the user having to intervene and without interrupting the service. . The specific terms of this feature are that the price increase does not occur more than once per year, does not exceed $5 and 50% of the subscription price, or $50 and 50% for an annual subscription , and is permitted by local law. In these situations, Apple always notifies users of a raise in advance, including via email, push notification, and in-app message. Apple will also let users know how to view, manage, and cancel subscriptions if they choose.
In situations where prices increase more than once a year or exceed Apple’s thresholds, subscribers will need to register as usual before the price increase is applied. Apple says this will also happen in territories where required by law.
Apple has already tested these subscription changes, which essentially turn subscription price increases from an opt-in system to an opt-out system. In April, some developers noticed that when Disney+ increased its price to $7.99 per month, the app sent a notification that was an alert rather than an opt-in choice.
At the time, Apple said it was “piloting a new Commerce feature”, describing it as an “enhancement that we believe will be great for developers and users”. With this change, App Store users should be sure to pay attention to warnings received in apps, via push notifications and via email to ensure they don’t miss subscription price increases. .