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I have a SaaS system that is a web app. I also have a simplified lightweight version that is a mobile app. Users must have a main account on the web app before they can use the mobile app. That being said I'd like to offer the iOS app in the Apple store but I do not want to pay Apple 30% of my subscription fees since most traffic will be coming from my website anyway.

I understand that I cannot link to my website inside the iOS app and tell users to "Buy Now" in order to use the IOS app. I'm wondering how exactly I should handle it in order to:

Get my app approved and into the store and allow people who install the app know that they need to go to my website to register in order to use the app. Do I just put a login screen on the app and then text below it that says "An account is required to use the app. Visit our website to register”

Alternatively, can I put an actual link there as long as it's not to a shopping cart page? Such as "An account is required to use the app. Visit www.example.com to register.”

I'd love to hear from those experience with getting apps published bot circumventing the 30% payments to Apple.

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    You saw the Q4 earnings right? Apple will be coming for their cut, and that is that. – chiggsy Feb 18 at 2:17
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Speaking from some experience -- Apple is pretty strict about this requirement, and will not look kindly on attempts to circumvent it.

Do I just put a login screen on the app and then text below it that says "An account is required to use the app. Visit our website to register”

Apple will probably object to the language "visit our website to register", and may additionally reject your application because it is nonfunctional without an account.

Apple has been known to make some exceptions -- for example, Netflix requires a login and has no in-app signup. This is likely to be a special case, though; it's unlikely that you'll be able to have the same rules applied to your app.

Alternatively, can I put an actual link there as long as it's not to a shopping cart page? Such as "An account is required to use the app. Visit www.example.com to register.”

No. Any link which can be followed to a signup page -- even if it's a circuitous path, e.g. a link to a terms-of-service page which links to a support page which links to your home page which links to a signup page -- may be used as grounds to reject your app.

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The company I worked for has an iPad app as a client for their paid web service. It basically just shows a login screen, so if you don't have an account registered over their website, you can't use the app.

It's a relatively small company and the app got approved. Just make sure to create an account for the App Store reviewer and supply the login credentials via the form in App Store Connect and I think it'll work out fine.

  • I have heard of the same method being used and it worked so this is the route I would like to take. As long as the reviewer has login info and the app is fully functional then it should be OK. My question is on the login page do you have any mentions of an account being required or is it simply login/password and a login button? – Rusty Craig Feb 18 at 1:18
  • This type of app seems to fail spectacularly on the “minimal functionality” aspect of general app review guidelines. I wouldn’t bank on this being the solution. – bmike Mar 17 at 1:24
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Allow users to subscribe from app, you are losing the 70% by not allowing them to pay through the app, not the 30% by allowing them.

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The long term answer is to make a free app with legitimate free content / functionality that can be reviewed. Then your log in screen is truly value added to the free app.

Then people that want to log in will ask support or just go to your web site where you are free to advertise your paid services / add on benefits.

Think of it like this, you only pay 30% for year one and 15% thereafter if you want the code and links supplied in the reviewed app to handle the signups. You pay nothing if you handle onboarding and payment entirely outside the app.

Light up the extra features once the consumer signs in and you validate a subscription or one time payment as you see fit.

You can even flip back and forth like Netflix has done.

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