Apple’s updated App Store rules allow gifting of in-app purchases

Apple’s updated App Store rules allow gifting of in-app purchases

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App Store
Apple apps no longer dominate App Store search results.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines to allow the gifting of in-app purchases.

Shoppers have long been able to gift apps and games, but Apple’s rules previously prohibited the purchase of in-app items for others. You probably won’t be able to gift in-app purchases in time for the holidays, however.

Now that Apple has updated its rules, users will be able to send in-app purchases to their friends in the same way that they might buy them an app. Those purchases may include paid unlocks, in-app items, or virtual currency.

But it might take a while for the gifting of in-app purchases to be available.

Apple’s updated App Store guidelines

“Apps may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchase to others,” reads Apple’s updated guidelines. “Such gifts may only be refunded to the original purchaser and may not be exchanged.”

Apple’s wording suggests that it will be up to “apps” — or app developers, at least — to enable gifting. That means we’ll probably have to wait for updates that take advantage of the new rules. Developers have just three days left to submit updates before the App Store review team closes down for the holidays, so it seems we’ll have to wait until 2019 to enjoy the new gifting functionality.

It’s a shame Apple couldn’t have made this change earlier. Not only would it have been great for those gifting apps and games for Christmas, but it would have also given developers a nice revenue boost over the most lucrative App Store shopping period.

Nevertheless, it is a welcome change, and it will certainly make things easier for parents who occasionally treat their little ones to Fortnite V-Bucks and other items inside their favorite games.