Apple yesterday announced that it will begin allowing reader apps to use an in-app link to their website for account creation and management purposes. The feature was first announced to be coming to the App Store in early 2022 in September last year.
The new feature only applies for “reader” apps that are designed primarily to provide access to some sort of digital content, such as magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video.
“With the update of App Store Review guideline 3.1.3(a), developers of reader apps can now request access to the External Link Account Entitlement. This entitlement lets reader apps link to a website that is owned or maintained by the developer, so that users can create or manage their account outside of the app,” Apple explained.
Apple created a request form for developers who are interested in using the External Link Account Entitlement. The company also notes that apps that let people access digital content such as music or video, but not as the primary functionality, are not considered reader apps and are not eligible for the entitlement. For example, a social networking app that lets people stream audiovisual content is not eligible.
In order to be eligible, the app also must not facilitate real-time, person-to-person services like providing tutoring services, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training.
Apple also says, in order to be eligible, reader apps must allow people to access content or services previously purchased outside of the app when signed in, such as on their website. The apps must also not offer in-app purchases on iOS or iPadOS while using the entitlement.