An update to Apple's rules means apps with subscription services can now charge customers more money without asking permission.
The company shared the news in a release posted on Monday (16 May) in which it stated it 'continues to set the bar in making it easy and transparent for subscribers to view, cancel, or manage their subscriptions'.
Prior to the update users would typically have to opt-in to a subscription renewal if the developer had increased the price, but now that may not necessarily be the case as Apple explains developers can offer a renewal with a price increase 'without the user needing to take action'.
The reason for the update, Apple explains, is because the opt-in system has left some customers having their services 'unintentionally interrupted' as they 'must take steps to resubscribe within the app'.
Thankfully the update doesn't mean you'll suddenly find your bank account being drained by apps completely out of the blue, as Apple explains the auto-renewal with price increases can only occur under certain conditions and as long as the customer has been notified beforehand.
It relies on email, push notifications, and in-app messaging services to let subscribers know about upcoming changes, and explains that the automatic renewal can only occur if the price increase doesn’t occur more than once per year, 'doesn’t exceed $5 and 50% of the subscription price, or $50 and 50% for an annual subscription price', and is permissible by local law.
The price increase stipulations are admittedly a bit confusing, and things aren't made much simpler on its Apple Store Connect Help page, where it explains permission must be granted if the price increase is:
"More than 50% of the current price; and the difference in price exceeds approximately $5 United States Dollar (USD) per period for non-annual subscriptions, or $50 USD per year for annual subscriptions."
The wording indicates the apps would have to meet both increase conditions for permission to be required, suggesting, for example, that permission would be needed if a $100 (£80) annual subscription increased by $51 (£41) - more than 50 percent of $100, and more than $50 per year.
If the developer meets these conditions, Apple assures it will always notify users in advance and explain how users can 'view, manage, and cancel subscriptions if preferred'.
Anyone who chooses not to opt in to the new price in cases where permission is needed will not have their subscription renewed at the next billing period, though customers can resubscribe within the app.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy