Over the past week there have been a couple of changes for Apple Developers. One only affects developers while the second also affects customers.
Apple Small Business Developer applications are now open
Applications for Apple's Small Business developer program began on Thursday, December 3rd. If you enroll by December 18th, 2020 at 10:00 am Pacific time you will receive the benefits of the program. To recap, if you earned less than $1m per year in Apple's App Stores you are eligible to have a reduced commission of 15% instead of 30%. If you go above this amount in a year, Apple will receive a 30% commission for all sales after $1 million, as well as the following year. You can read a full-recap here. There have been a couple of additional details provided.
App transfers are not allowed while participating in the program. If you initiate an app transfer after December 31, 2020, or accept a transfer of an app that was initiated after December 31, 2020, you will no longer be eligible to participate in program.
This makes sense to some degree, because typically indie developers are not transferring apps, but that is not always the case. A second clarification on what happens if you enroll after December 18th, is also outlined.
If you’re already a member of the Apple Developer Program and submit your enrollment for the App Store Small Business Program after December 18, 2020, at 10 a.m. PST, your proceeds will be adjusted fifteen (15) days after the end of the fiscal calendar month in which your enrollment is approved. For example, if your enrollment is approved on February 10, 2021, your proceeds are adjusted starting March 14, 2021.
Again, this aspect of it makes sense, but some time is probably needed to make the actual adjustments. There is further information available on Apple's Developer website, including a link to actually enroll. This change will only affect developers, however the next item will affect both developers and their customers.
Family Sharing enabled on in-app purchases
If you are a developer and you have in-app purchases in your apps, you may be able to enable family-sharing on them; should you choose to do so. It is quite common for one family member to make an in-app purchase and want to share that with their other family members. However, until now this has not been possible. To enable family sharing on your in-app purchases, perform the following steps:
- Log in to App Store Connect.
- Click on "My Apps" to bring up a list of your applications.
- Click on the app where you want to enable family sharing of your in-app purchase.
- On the left-hand side under "In-App Purchases", click on "Manage". A list of available in-app purchases should be appear when the page loads.
- Click on the in-app purchase that you want to manage.
- Under the "Family Sharing" section, click on the "Turn On" link. A popup will appear.
- The popup states "This in-app purchase will be able to be shared by everyone in a family group. NOTE: Once you confirm, you won't be able turn off this feature." Click on "Confirm" to enable family sharing for the in-app purchase .
There are two things to note. First, and most importantly, once you have enabled family sharing for an in-app purchase, it cannot be turned off. Secondly, not all in-app purchases are eligible for family sharing. Only non-consumable in-app purchases and subscriptions are eligible for family sharing. You can learn more on the App Store Connect help page for Family Sharing of In-App Purchases.
Both of these changes are welcome for developers. Customers will be able to benefit by not being required to make multiple purchases and instead can share existing purchases.