Apple TV app blocks purchases and rentals on Android TV and Google TV


Sony TV with Apple TV+
And they probably won't be coming back.
Photo: Sony

It’s no longer possible to purchase or rent new content through the Apple TV app on Android TV and Google TV. The block comes less than a year after Apple’s service made the leap to Google’s big screen platforms.

It is believed Apple removed purchasing after failing to strike a deal with Google over in-app commission rates. You can still use the Apple TV app to watch content you’ve already purchased.

Apple TV app removes purchasing on Google platforms

Until recently, Apple TV users had the ability to purchase or rent as many movies and TV shows as they wanted on Android TV and Google TV. But users last week started to notice that this feature suddenly started disappearing.

Those using devices like the Google Chromecast and Nvidia Shield took to Reddit to report that they were no longer able to access content they hadn’t already purchased after updating the Apple TV app.

It seems a disagreement over commission fees between Apple and Google is to blame.

Apple and Google not able to reach a deal

“I can confirm via, as they say, sources familiar with the matter, that this is entirely about Apple and Google not being able to reach mutually agreeable terms on in-app payment commissions,” said John Gruber of Daring Fireball.

“Until this update, Apple had been running on an exemption not to use Google’s IAP. The exemption expired, so Apple TV on Android TV is now ‘reader only’.” The same goes for Amazon Fire devices, but that’s long been the case.

Gruber went on to say that “Apple would rather not sell or rent any content at all on these platforms than do so while paying Google/Amazon the commissions they demand.”

Some see that as pretty ironic, given that Apple is currently battling developers and regulators to ensure it can continue to charge similar commission rates on apps and services on iPhone and iPad.

Pretty hypocritical

Gruber doesn’t quite see it like that, given that Apple also gives developers the option to offer “reader only” apps that only allow access to content that has already been purchased outside of the App Store.

What is hypocritical, however, is that in its Apple TV app on Google platforms, Cupertino has added a new “How to Watch” button that explains how viewers can buy content on another device to watch on Android TV or Google TV.

This is something Apple’s own App Store rules strictly prohibit. Developers are not allowed to direct iPhone and iPad users to outside stores.


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