In September 2021, Apple agreed to begin offering a way for certain types of apps to bypass App Store payments. So-called “reader” apps, the Cupertino-based company said, would be able to offer consumers an external subscription or account management link. This new layout has finally come to life, with Netflix offering an external subscription link in its iPhone and iPad app.
Appease the Japan Fair Trade Commission
The move ended a Japanese government investigation into Apple’s business practices. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission began investigating the iPhone maker in 2016 for possible violations of the country’s antimonopoly law. Specifically, he suspected Cupertino of “restricting commercial activities, such as the sale of digital content, etc., of companies that distribute applications”.
To end the investigation, Apple pledged to add the ability for reading apps to offer external links for subscription and account management purposes. These apps would include Netflix, Kindle, Spotify and Amazon Prime Video.
Netflix adds its external subscription link
As of 2018, there is no way to subscribe to Netflix from its iPhone or iPad apps. Unwilling to continue paying commissions from Apple’s App Store, it removed in-app subscriptions to new subscribers. The company tried to redirect users to its website in Safari, but Apple made it difficult.
With the latest app update, new subscribers can tap a button to visit the Netflix website to sign up for the streaming service. This uses the new iOS API for reader apps introduced in iOS 15. Tapping the button will show you a message telling you that you are about to access an external website. The notice also informs you that the transaction will not be Apple’s responsibility.
Any accounts or purchases made outside of this app will be handled by the “Netflix” developer. Your App Store account, saved payment methods, and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of any transactions with this developer.
Once you tap on it, Safari (or whatever default web browser you choose) opens a Netflix landing page. From there, you can log in to your account or create a new one. You will be able to choose a payment method and subscribe to a Netflix package.
Other apps may soon offer their own external links. This is, of course, different from the compensation Cupertino has been forced to offer for third-party payment methods in countries such as the Netherlands and South Korea.