30% ‘Apple tax’ on in-app purchases will no longer be mandatory

A major change to Apple’s App Store policy is on the way. Developers will soon be able to handle certain in-app purchases outside the App Store, so that 30% ‘Apple tax’ no longer always has to be paid.

Criticism of Apple tax in the App Store

The reason for the change is an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) into the App Store’s monopoly position and costs. Due to the introduction of the new App Store rules, this investigation will be stopped immediately.

The App Store has been under fire for some time because of the Apple tax that developers have to pay. For every app sold and every in-app purchase made, Apple receives a significant portion of the revenue: 15% for smaller developers, 30% for large developers. Since the App Store is the only way to get an app on your iPhone or iPad, this is seen as an unfair policy. Fortnite developer Epic Games is also against this policy and is currently even suing Apple to force a change.

‘Reader apps’, not all apps

Apple’s change does not apply to all apps, but only to so-called ‘reader apps’. These are apps with which you can access digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video that are linked to an account.

An example of such an app is Netflix. Under the old rules, Netflix had to give 30% of its revenue to Apple if a subscription was taken out via an in-app purchase. The new rules allow Netflix to direct you to their own website to purchase your subscription, thus bypassing the 30% Apple tax.

The new rules do not apply to games, such as Fortnite, or to individual in-app purchases. So should you pay for pro features or new skin in a game? Then you still pay the Apple tax.

The new App Store policy will be in effect from early 2022.