App Store’s latest guidelines prohibit remote mirroring apps from eroding in-app purchases

According to the new guidelines presented by Apple, apps that mirror specific software or services are not allowed to sport a UI that resembles an “iOS or App Store view.” Along with this, the app cannot provide mechanisms to “browse, select, or purchase software not already owned or licensed by the user.”

The new rule is presented after Apple rejected the SteamLink app, which allows the users to stream games from a PC or Mac to iOS-based devices. Valve, the developers of the app claim that Apple accepted the app initially but then rejected it due to “business conflicts.”

According to SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, suggested that the app’s provision to purchase content were in violation of App Store regulations.

The new update clearly mentions that multiplatform services “must not directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase.” The apps are barred from providing access to contents that are available on the App Store from elsewhere.

The new rule opens the door for porting content over from Android and potentially purchasing apps from third-party sources like the internet.

Apple is trying to secure its 30 percent share (15 percent for subscriptions) of App Store purchases from other platforms such as Steam, which on other platforms offers users the ability to buy in-game items.

“For the sake of clarity, transactions taking place within mirrored software do not need to use in-app purchase, provided the transactions are processed on the host device,” Apple’s guidelines read.

In addition to mirroring services, Apple’s guidelines now allow for free trials for non-subscription apps. During December the developers were allowed the ability to offer discounted introductory pricing or limited-time free trials on auto-renewable subscriptions. The new guidelines say that the titles that attempt to “trick” users into subscribing under false pretenses or conducting bait-and-switch schemes will be pulled from the storefront.

The company says ads displayed in an app must be appropriate for that app’s age rating, allow the user to view ad targeting information and must not use sensitive data to target users.

Along with this, the use of Siri Shortcuts, a prohibition on urging users to change system settings, general data privacy provisions, app update handling and more are also present.

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