Netflix Dodges App Store Tax With a New External Sign-Up Page on iOS
The redirection looks to be rolling out globally allowing apps classed as "reader apps" to sign-up new users and manage their accounts outside of the App Store
iPhone and iPad users looking to subscribe to Netflix via the streaming platform’s iOS app are being redirected to an external website which removes the need to pay the App Store tax.
The redirection looks to be rolling out globally and takes advantage of a new iOS API(Opens in a new window) that allows apps classed as “reader apps” to sign-up new users and manage their accounts outside of the App Store.
Reader apps, as described by Apple, provide one or more digital content types—including magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video—as its primary function. That includes popular services such as Spotify, Zinio, Amazon Kindle, and YouTube.
In the case of Netflix, new customers are diverted to a separate website at the tap of a button in the app to enter personal data, choose a payment method, and select a streaming plan. This update ensures transactions are no longer Apple’s responsibility and all subscription management is therefore completed by Netflix. Once signed up, the Netflix iOS app should provide full content access.
“Any accounts or purchases made outside of this app will be managed by the developer ‘Netflix,'” according to a popup notification in the iOS app.
“Your App Store account, stored payment methods, and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of transactions made with this developer.”
Ultimately, this ensures Netflix can avoid paying Apple’s 30% commission for each subscription made within the iOS app—reduced to 15% for recurring subscriptions after one year.
Netflix actually stopped paying Apple’s iOS tax back in early 2019, but this is the first time Apple has offered an officially-supported way to not pay the tax anymore and it’s sure to be utilized by many other popular subscription services.
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