A hot potato: If you subscribe to a service through an App Store application, you might want to pay attention to any emails or notifications it sends out. Apple has just changed its policy so developers can increase the price of subs and keep users signed up without requiring their permission.
The new App Store rules state that subscriptions can now auto-renew even when the prices have increased. Previously, users needed to opt-in to renew their subscriptions if there had been a recent price hike.
The good news is that users will receive emails, push notifications, and in-app notifications about an upcoming renewal of a subscription that has become more expensive.
Additionally, developers are limited to how much they can increase their subscription price before it requires user consent to renew. If it goes up by more than 50% and the difference is over $5, it doesn’t qualify for auto-renewal. It can go up by more than 50% on annual subs, but the price difference can’t be more than $50 without requiring user permission.
Another important factor is that auto-renewals of more expensive subs can only happen once per year—any more will require opting in. This should prevent shady developers from repeatedly increasing their subscriptions by small amounts across 12 months in the hope that users don’t notice.
Apple says it has implemented the change because some users missed notifications to opt-in when a subscription price increased, causing an interruption in the service and requiring them to sign up again. But it’s hard to imagine most people being happy about the new policy, despite what Apple believes.