Starting today, Apple will no longer halt app subscriptions purchased via iCloud, even if their prices are raised. The decision comes courtesy a policy change on Apple’s App Store, which Apple has seemingly made in order to deliver better customer experience. However, it’s not clear if the checks and balances put forth by Apple in light of its subscription price change policies would be enough.
According to Apple’s updated policy, users will no longer be updated about a price change, as long as it is within Apple’s specified limit. The latter states that app developers would not be allowed to increase subscription prices by over 50% of previous prices, and by over $5 per month or $50 per year. It’s not clear if this limit would differ around the world – $50 (approx. Rs 3,900) is more than what most apps charge users per year in India right now.
The leeway that Apple is offering developers also appears to be quite wide, and gives them room to increase premium in-app purchase subscription prices by a fair bit without stopping the subscription for users to decide.
To be sure, Apple has two key checks built into this process – one, Apple will still notify users about the change in price, and two, it will allow developers to increase prices while continuing auto-renewal only once a year. The notification, however, will come only after the subscription has already been renewed at the new price, which means that users will only be able to retrospectively cancel their subscriptions.
However, auto renewal of subscriptions for Apple in India face a challenge in the country right now. Regulations put forth by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandated tokenization of stored credit and debit card information, which Apple has not adopted so far. It has also stayed away from auto-debit systems via Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and at the moment, the only choice that remains for users is to add funds to their Apple ID balance via internet banking or UPI, and use this balance to auto-pay for active subscriptions.
Apple has stated that the new move will help customers continue using services uninterrupted, and at the same time, will also prevent scammers from increasing prices gradually to dupe users.