Apple has updated its guidelines for developers indicating that subscription based apps can charge more without notifying the user. Apple says in their update that these auto-renewable subscriptions are “a great way to let people access content, services, or premium features” in an app.
Currently, if an app is interested in raising the price for its subscription, Apple requires that users are notified via email, push notifications, or in-app messages. Users must also opt-in to this heightened price, and if they don’t, they will not be charged the higher price at the next billing cycle.
“This has led to some services being unintentionally interrupted for users and they must take steps to resubscribe within the app, from Settings on iPhone and iPad, or in the App Store on Mac.” said Apple. To combat this, Apple is allowing apps to increase their subscription prices while making opting-out the new norm.
It’s important to note that Apple does list some specific conditions for this new policy. Namely that the price of the subscription cannot be increased more than once a year. Also, the monthly price of the new subscription cannot exceed an additional $US5 ($7) plus 50% of the original price, while an annual subscription cannot exceed $US50 ($69) and 50%. Apple says that in these situations, users will still be notified, but they will instead have to opt-out of the subscription instead of previously opting-in. Apple will also instruct users how to cancel their subscription. If a subscription price hike falls outside of these conditions, users will also be notified and the previous opt-in conditions remain.
While Apple claims that this new policy is aimed at giving users a better experience on apps, it’s also a great way for them to make a little extra money by hoping that you forget your subscription for Tinder (for example) just went up. Apple did not return our immediate request for comment on this story, but we’ll update if they do.