Apple's Going to Start Offering Free Trials on the App Store

By Tom Pritchard on at

Nobody really likes paying for apps, but sometimes we might have to bite the bullet and pay a couple of quid for some piece of software we could really use on our phones. The problem is there's absolutely no way of telling whether it's any good. On desktops you can usually take advantage of a free trial to see what's what, provided a free (but limited) version of the app isn't already available. Now Apple is bringing that functionality to its App Store.

At the moment users have to rely on reviews from other users, or cough up the money and hope for the best - getting a refund for themselves if it turns out to be a scam or utter garbage. But now the App Store review guidelines have updated, offering developers the chance to let users download premium apps without paying, and use them for a limited time.

“Non-subscription apps may offer a free time-based trial period before presenting a full unlock option by setting up a Non-Consumable IAP item at Price Tier 0 that follows the naming convention: ‘14-day Trial.’ Prior to the start of the trial, your app must clearly identify its duration, the content or services that will no longer be accessible when the trial ends, and any downstream charges the user would need to pay for full functionality.”

It sounds quite similar to existing systems, where users can download a 'Lite' version of an app without paying, then pay a one-time fee to unlock premium features. The only difference being developers can let users unlock those features without paying for a limited time. Presumably this only applies to non-subscription apps because the majority of subscription services offer free trials anyway, in an attempt to part you with your money on a regular basis.

It's a bit of a surprise it took Apple this long to implement such a simple idea for non-subscription-based apps, but it can only be a good thing for iOS users. Assuming, of course, that developers choose to implement it. [Ubergizmo]