Apple today has made a small but notable change to its App Store Guidelines. The company quietly adjusted section 3.1 of the guidelines, which previously prohibited gifting in-app purchases to other users. With today’s change, however, Apple is permitting developers to add support for gifting in-app purchases.
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As first spotted by MacRumors, Apple previously indicated in its App Store Guidelines that gifting of in-app purchases was not permissible. The recent revision, however, says that developers are free to “enable gifting of items that are eligible in-app purchases to others.”
Apple adds that such gifts can only be refunded to the original purchaser and that the gifts can’t be exchanged:
Old text: Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others
New text: “Apps may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchase to others. Such gifts may only be refunded to the original purchaser and may not be exchanged.”
At this point, details about how this support will be implemented are a bit unclear. Apple has not acknowledged support for in-app purchase gifting outside of this quiet revision to the App Store Guidelines. The wording of the guideline implies that it will be up to developers to enable in-app purchase gifting, rather than be a blanket feature of the App Store.
Currently, users can gift a paid app to someone else via the App Store through the app’s purchase page. Simply tap the three dots beneath the app’s name and “Gift App.” We expect Apple to offer more information about gifting support for in-app purchases sometime in the near feature.
The lack of support for in-app purchase gifting has been somewhat puzzling, especially as more apps become free to download with optional in-app purchases. For instance, Fortnite was unable to add its incredibly popular Gifting functionality in part because of Apple’s limitations on in-app purchases.
Are you excited to finally have support for gifting in-app purchases on iOS? Let us know down in the comments.