Today a customer asked me how it comes that there is an iOS app for purchasing from Amazon while this seems to violate Apple's App Store review purchasing guidelines (Apple Developer login needed).

I could give him no answer to his question – it seems that there is a small number of allowed ways to do purchases in apps that Apple permits, even if they do not get a revenue from them.

What kind of purchases does Apple allow in an app that do not go through their purchasing system but through a custom one?

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    A customer? Your customer?
    – Thilo
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 5:04

2 Answers 2


By my reading, it doesn't. Which rule do you think it violates?

Section 11 covers In-App Purchases, which Amazon's app doesn't use, and which are only required for "content, functionality, or services in an App". Amazon doesn't let you buy anything to extend their app.

Amazon's app also doesn't allow purchasing ebooks, which is their only product (AFAICT) that might be covered by section 11. They have a note at the bottom of all ebook pages that says "This mobile application does not currently support Kindle downloads, however you may add the item to your Wish List and purchase it using the browser on your device".

Finally, section 20 explicitly prohibits allowing the user to purchase a lottery ticket, which suggests that there is nothing unacceptable about other real-world purchases. Lots of other apps allow them, too, like eBay.

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    Also, this is not a good question for this site. Nobody here can know what Apple's app store reviewers were thinking, nor can anyone but an Apple registered developer even access the full text of the Guidelines.
    – Ken
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:37
  • Thanks, @Ken actually I was thinking it violates the 11.3 since I would assume "IAP" does refer to general purchasing by an App, not just through the In-App Purchase API. Plus I heard of Instacast being rejected due to Flattr integration. Seems that I'm wrong.
    – Uwe Keim
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 18:04
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    Flattr isn't a purchase, it's a donation. Whole-different ballgame. Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 18:49
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    According to Flattr, Apple sees Flattr integration in a podcast app as a payment for media files that are downloaded and played in the app, so that would fall under the "no content purchases except through us" rule.
    – Thilo
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 5:03

The Amazon app allows you to buy physical objects, which are not covered by Apple's 30% policy.

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