Apple to developers: You've now got longer to add in-app payment to your online events

iOS apps hosting online group events won't have to implement Apple's in-app payment system for purchases until June 30, 2021.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple is giving a six-month extension to its temporary waiver of the 30% commission it normally changes for iOS apps hosting online group events and classes. 

Until September, the company required iOS apps for this activity to use the App Store's in-app purchases for goods sold by app developers. 

As The Verge reported at the time, Facebook got into a fight with Apple over its 30% App Store fee after launching a feature that let small businesses create paid online events. Due to the pandemic, Facebook opted not to collect fees on event purchases until August 2021. Initially Apple didn't budge but in September it waived the fee for Facebook's feature.

SEE: Top 10 iPad tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)    

Apple announced the six-month extension on Monday, which brings the new deadline to June 30, 2021 – instead of December 2020. 

"As the world fights COVID-19, we recognize that adapting experiences from in-person to digital continues to be a top priority," Apple said in an update.  

"Although apps are required to offer any paid online group event experiences (one-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences) through in-app purchase in accordance with App Store Review guideline 3.1.1, we temporarily deferred this requirement with an original deadline of December 2020."

The deadline extension is to give developers more time to add in-app purchase solutions to their iOS apps. 

Apple also notes that its current guidelines allow app owners to offer real-time person-to-person experiences between two people — such as tutoring students, real estate tours, and fitness training — with other purchase methods than its in app-purchase systems. 

The reprieve for online group events follows Apple last week announcing a new scheme aimed at small businesses that halves the App Store commission on in-app purchases from 30% to 15%.

SEE: Programming languages: Julia users most likely to defect to Python for data science

The small business program means that developers that made up to $1m in 2020 for all of their apps can qualify for the program and the reduced commission. If a developer who's been approved earns more than $1 million, they're charged the standard commission for the remainder of the year. 

These changes have happened to the backdrop of the maker of Fortnite, Epic Games', legal battle with Apple over commissions and in-app payment rules. Epic Games built its own in-app purchase system in Fortnite, which Apple objected to and kicked it out of the App Store in August and terminated Epic from its developer program

Editorial standards