iOS and iPadOS developers will soon be able to take advantage of the new ‘offer codes’ system in the App Store. Apple describes the codes as “unique, alphanumeric codes that provide free or discounted prices for auto-renewable subscriptions.”
Developers can distribute these codes both online and offline. For example, an email blast could set up legacy customers with a discount, or people can hand them out at events (once the pandemic ends and events become common again, of course).
Apple says it will allow new, existing and previous subscribers to redeem these codes, but developers can determine eligibility for their customers. Subscribers can redeem one code at a time, but can have up to 10 active codes on their account at any one time.
Engadget notes that while developers will benefit in the short term by using codes to drum up interest or retain/win-back subscribers, Apple wins in the long term. The Cupertino, California-based company takes a 30 percent cut of subscriptions handled through its payment processing service, which drops to a 15 percent cut after the first year. If offer codes help developers increase subscribers, Apple makes more money.
Apple’s in-app payment and subscription fees have come under fire in recent months as developers take a stand against the company. Many have accused Apple of abusing its App Store rules and control over the platform to force developers into using the company’s payment systems. Others have accused the company of applying its rules unfairly.
Despite these issues, the new Offer Codes system will likely be a welcome addition for developers. Once iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 roll out, developers will be able to start giving out Offer Codes. Subscribers will need to be on the latest Apple software to redeem the codes.