Under section 3.2.2 (iv) of the App Store Review Guidelines, it says that the following is unacceptable:

  • Unless you are an approved nonprofit or otherwise permitted under Section 3.2.1 (vi) above, collecting funds within the app for charities and fundraisers. Apps that seek to raise money for such causes must be free on the App Store and may only collect funds outside of the app, such as via Safari or SMS.

Based on the above, what would be the implications of displaying a message such as "Support us on Patreon!"?

  • Are you a charity or raising funds for one? – bmike Nov 18 '19 at 22:45
  • No. This is a private (more or less for-profit) app. – Jason K. Nov 18 '19 at 22:51
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    Good luck with the app ad patreon funding. – bmike Nov 18 '19 at 23:01

Let’s assume you’re not a charity or fundraising for one.

  • Technically, no since in 3.2.1 (vii) it says you’re allowed to promote voluntary giving, provided 100% of the funds go to the recipient — but Patreon takes a cut of the funds pledged / gifted.

  • Realistically, probably yes. If your app is otherwise fine, Apple might not reject you solely for having to pay processing fees.

As long as you’re not just trying to dodge in-app purchase, I would say make your app and submit it for review. Also, look at IAP for a tip jar I addition to the patreon option. People can and will tip you if they love the app. Also, worst case is you have to find a payment processor where you pay all transaction fees up front or separately so Apple can see 100% of the linked gift goes to you.

Also, if this is all your app does, don’t bother. You’ll need a compelling app that provides obvious value for free or paid and can’t just be a “here’s my patreon, fund me” shell.

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I think you will have far more trouble with the "no external links to purchasing mechanisms" clause:

3.1.1 In-App Purchase:

If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.

You may get through App Store review now, but they could decide to delay some future update due to the Patreon link. This happens often for various external links.

In my opinion you should instead offer a "Premium" subscription in your app. Add a few small features for dedicated users and charge a nominal yearly subscription fee.

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  • How would a patreon campaign unlock features in app? I agree with you if they are trying to doge 3.1.1 IAP they will not get past review in most cases. – bmike Nov 19 '19 at 3:41
  • @bmike I have seen people accepting donations via apps, without giving any premium features or benefits. Full app remains free regardless. – anki Nov 19 '19 at 9:28
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    Agreed @ankii let me know if you feel my answer says otherwise – bmike Nov 19 '19 at 13:13

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