Suppose that I develop an app for the iOS platform. The app is a huge success and 80% of my target audience buys it. My customers understandably expect continuous development of the app, but my situation is difficult, because with the market saturated, I can hardly acquire new customers.

Is there a possibility to offer my existing customers a paid update of my app (e.g. buying Office 2010 does not entitle the customer to Office 2013, only to service packs, security updates, ect.) or do I need to release the update as a separate update (and is this allowed in Apple's ToS)?

  • 2
    you can release new features as in-app purchases. But you cannot charge for new versions of an app that a user has already paid for.
    – Jason
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


The App Store doesn't offer support for paid app updates. You can release new features as in-app purchases for the current app (as @Jason said).

If, however, you want to charge for a new version of the app itself, then you need to release the new version as its own app and remove the previous version from sale. A common convention is to name the new app "MyApp 2" (with the "2" as part of the name) to distinguish it, since its actual version number will be 1 since it's a new app. Yes, it's a little confusing...

One issue to be aware of with this approach is that, because MyApp 1 and MyApp 2 are separate apps, users of MyApp 1 won't get any kind of notification that MyApp 2 is available, since it's not an "update" of that app but rather a separate thing entirely.

  • Thanks for clarification, I suppose I could inform the user about the new app via the old app (notification, etc.) Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 9:17

Yes - with the changes to app bundles to include "complete my bundle" pricing, it appears possible to offer upgrade pricing for iOS apps.

I think that Smile Software used this to coordinate pricing changes to the old app (increasing it) and including the old and new apps in the same bundle effectively allowed someone upgrading to pay an upgrade price that was less than the full price for the new app.

Of course, you can also cut prices to everyone and call it an "upgrade" and hope that all your existing customers take advantage of the "upgrade pricing" but nothing prevents someone else from buying the new app at the upgrade price for the duration of that sale.

Bundles should be a viable way for major upgrades to work in the future as long as the developer doesn't mind having two versions of the app named for sale on the app store.

This isn't possible on the Mac App store in 2015 - just the iOS app store.

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