Apple announces first iOS 13.4 beta, MacOS universal purchases, and WatchOS IAPs

Soon, you'll be able to buy an app on your Mac and install that same app on your iPhone without having to buy it again.

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Apple on Wednesday released the first developer beta of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4, alongside a pair of announcements for developers. As of WatchOS 6.2, developers now have the tools to offer in-app purchases (IAP) directly on the smartwatch. With the upcoming release, developers will be able to offer in-app purchases for premium content, digital good, and subscriptions without forcing the user to switch back to their iPhone. 

Perhaps the most notable announcement of the day pertains to developers with apps on iOS and MacOS. Starting in March, developers will have the option to offer universal purchases for apps across all of Apple's operating systems. Right now, users can pay for iOS, iPadOS, TVOS, and WatchOS apps once, and the purchase transfers across platforms. MacOS apps, however, aren't included. 

With the expansion of universal apps, developers can opt-in to letting users buy their app once, and have access to it across all Apple devices -- including the Mac. 

The new universal purchase policy applies to all MacOS apps, and not just Catalyst Mac apps. Catalyst apps were made possible last year when Apple gave developers the tools to convert an iPad app into a Mac app

The first developer beta of iOS 13.4 and Xcode 11.4 were also released on Wednesday. In addition to including the necessary developer tools to implement WatchOS IAPs and universal apps for MacOS, the update includes the return of iCloud folder sharing, redesigned toolbar in the Mail app, new Memoji stickers, and improvements to location sharing prompts according to MacRumors

Apple first announced iCloud folder sharing alongside iOS 13 last year, but ultimately, it removed the feature before the official launch. 

If you have a paid developer account, you can install the iOS 13.4 developer beta right now. Otherwise, you'll need to wait until Apple released the first public beta, which usually occurs a day or two after a developer release.