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Last autumn, Apple announced plans to allow ‘reader apps’ to provide links in their iOS apps to their own websites for people to register or manage accounts.

It was big news, because reader apps are not just about reading. It’s apps that “provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video”. And it was a significant change, because those apps – music streaming services included – had not been allowed to put links in their apps to get people to sign up for direct subscriptions as an alternative to Apple’s own in-app purchases.

Anyway, six months later, the feature is rolling out. There are caveats though. Companies must “request access to the External Link Account Entitlement” in order to use the feature. They’re also barred from mentioning the pricing of their subscriptions, and must show an interstitial screen created by Apple warning users that it is “not responsible for the privacy or security of transactions made with this developer”.

Apps using the new entitlement will also not be allowed to also use Apple’s in-app purchases system: it’s one or the other.

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