Apple has accepted to replace various regulations that regulate its App Store as part of a settlement with developers who have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.
“Clarifying” that developers are allowed to email users “about payment methods outside their iOS app” is the most notable substitution Apple has made in its new regulations. The company has also agreed to publish transparency reports detailing App Store rejection rates and the app review process.
The company said many of the changes will affect some of Apple’s most controversial developer rules that have been hotly debated as the company faces heightened antitrust controls. For example, Apple’s policy prohibiting developers from informing users about ways to pay for their content outside of the Apple Store was a key point in the Epic vs. Apple trial.
Apple has now changed its rules to allow developers to do such “communication” via email or other methods, as long as they don’t do it directly in their app.
Apple wrote in its statement that “to give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers, Apple is also clarifying that developers can use communications, such as email, to share payment method information outside of their iOS app.”
The company also promises more transparency around the app review process, which developers say is confusing and difficult to navigate. Apple says it will release an “annual transparency report” that will “share meaningful statistics about the app review process, including the number of apps rejected for various reasons, the number of customer and developer accounts deactivated, objective data on searches and results, and the number of apps removed from the App Store.”
According to a statement from lawyers representing the developersApple said it will increase the number of price points available to app makers from “less than 100 to more than 500,” and those changes are expected by the end of next year. In addition, as part of the settlement, Apple agreed to maintain the changes it originally said in response to COVID-19, reducing commissions to 15 percent for developers earning less than $1 million a year. That change will now be in effect for “at least the next three years.”
The changes are in response to a class action lawsuit dating back to 2019. Developers earning less than $1 million may also be able to receive payments as part of the settlement. although the website with details about the arrangements has not yet been published.