After announcing the App Store update in 2021, Apple has finally released the guideline for all developers of reader apps to add links to external websites for users to create and manage an account, a major change in the App Store sign-up system and Apple’s anti-steering policy.
The change was introduced following an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) which ordered Apple to allow external links in only “reader” apps in Japan but the tech giant extended the update globally to all reader apps providing previously “purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.”
All reader apps offering purchased content or content subscriptions can now add links to their websites on the App Store
At the time of its announcement last year, Apple explained that since reader apps do not sell in-app digital goods and services, the come company has agreed with JFTC to allow developers to share a link to their website on all reader apps including magazines, newspapers, music, books, and videos. The company also ensured users that guidelines will ensure that they have a safe experience outside the App Store.
Developers were informed of the new guideline 3.1.3(a) is going into effect from March 30, 2022.
Last year, Apple announced an update coming to the App Store in early 2022 that would allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to their website for account creation and management purposes. Starting today, with the update of App Store Review guideline 3.1.3(a), developers of reader apps can now request access to the External Link Account Entitlement.
This entitlement lets reader apps link to a website that is owned or maintained by the developer, so that users can create or manage their account outside of the app. Reader apps are apps that provide one or more of the following digital content types — magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video — as the primary functionality of the app.