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I have a friend who works for a charity that offers courses on a donation basis as a way to fund themselves. Recently the charity built an iOS app so people can download the course videos and other material to their devices. It also allows users to buy the courses by going to the charity website.

The app was rejected by Apple, as the people building it didn't know that all In-App purchases must go through Apple (yes, they are very green developers, and I wonder if it's the first app they built).

I'm wondering how the app could be changed, so the purchases don't break App Store's Terms & Conditions, and at the same time don't need to be done through Apple, even if they need to be done outside the app (on a desktop computer). The App Store Terms & Conditions that the app supposedly broke are:

3.1.3(a) “Reader” Apps: Apps may allow a user to access previously purchased content or content subscriptions (specifically: magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video, access to professional databases, VoIP, cloud storage, and approved services such as classroom management apps), provided that you agree not to directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, and your general communications about other purchasing methods are not designed to discourage use of in-app purchase.

3.1.3(b) Multiplatform Services: Apps that operate across multiple platforms may allow users to access content, subscriptions, or features they have acquired elsewhere, including consumable items in multi-platform games, provided those items are also available as in-app purchases within the app. You must not directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, and your general communications about other purchasing methods must not discourage use of in-app purchase.

So I'm wondering which of the following might be OK, or break the Terms & Conditions; please let me know if there are other options!

  • Only allow access to the content that has already been purchased, without any mention that more courses are available.
  • Show other courses, but without a price and some text saying "log in to the website to know more".
  • Show courses with a price and text saying "log in to the website to know more".

For what I know, having a link to an external website to do the purchase is against the Terms & Conditions, so that's out of the question.

  • Welcome to Ask Different :) Can you please clarify what do you mean by they are very green developers ? – Nimesh Neema Jul 18 at 8:44
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    @NimeshNeema Green=Unripe. Developers with little experience in both the technology and use (and legalities) of the technology. – Augusto Jul 18 at 9:12
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Out of the three, going with the first option would be your best bet.

Only allow access to the content that has already been purchased, without any mention that more courses are available.

As mentioned in the first point 3.1.3(a), you can't directly or indirectly target users to an alternate mechanism to purchase content.

You can let the users view other available courses, and let them get info/sample of them, but can't hint about purchasing from an alternate medium within the app (if need to, you'll have to go via Apple by leveraging In-App purchases or subscriptions).

A good way to approach it would be to think of the iOS app as a client app for media consumption and not for content promotion. Your marketing efforts should be directed to the website with the iOS app simply acting as a consumption means.

Mention the iOS app on the website, with the App Store link (once approved). Apple provides marketing resource on its website where you can obtain official App Store badges and use them to link to your iOS app on the App Store.

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    Thanks! That is actually the case. The charity wants people to use the app for easy of use of the courses. Most of the traffic will still go to the main website as there is more content there that is for free. – Augusto Jul 18 at 9:14

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