Alongside iOS 15.5‘s release, Apple launched a set of rules that change how auto-renewing subscriptions work in the App Store.
According to the new rules, instead of asking users to agree to a price increase, developers can now hike up the cost of an app without the subscriber’s consent. However, this shift is helpful for developers since it likely won’t result in as many users unsubscribing when they up the subscription cost of an app, and it’s arguably pretty awful for consumers.
Apple says that this change saves users from their subscriptions being automatically cancelled when they miss the opt-in notification tied to a price increase. While true, I’d rather miss a notification and automatically be unsubscribed from an app than shell out additional money I don’t want to spend — there are a lot of App Store subscriptions I’d cancel if I were aware of a price increase. You could also argue that some app developers will likely take advantage of this feature to suck more profit from subscribers.
However, there are still additional rules on Apple’s end. For example, the increase can’t exceed $5 or 50 percent of the current subscription cost or $50 and 50 percent of the annual subscription cost. So at the very least, app developers can’t outright price gouge their subscribers with increases.
This shift in App Store policy will result in me watching my subscriptions far more closely as I subscribe to several apps through Apple’s App Store. Most apps will send out emails to users regarding price hikes, so I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my email inbox moving forward.
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