Netflix avoids app store tax with new external sign-up page on iOS

iPhone and iPad users wishing to subscribe to Netflix through the streaming platform’s iOS app are redirected to an external website that removes the need to pay the App Store tax.

As 9To5Mac reports(Opens in a new window)the redirect appears to be rolling out globally and leverages a new iOS API(Opens in a new window) which allows apps categorized as “reader apps” to enroll new users and manage their accounts outside of the App Store.

Reading apps, as described by Apple, provide one or more types of digital content, including magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video, as their primary function. This includes popular services like Spotify, Zinio, Amazon Kindle, and YouTube.

In the case of Netflix, new customers are redirected to a separate website by simply pressing a button in the app to enter personal data, choose a payment method and select a streaming plan. This update ensures that transactions are no longer the responsibility of Apple and therefore all subscription management is done by Netflix. Once signed up, Netflix’s iOS app should provide full access to the content.

“Any accounts or purchases made outside of this app will be managed by the ‘Netflix’ developer,” according to a pop-up notification in the iOS app. “Your App Store account, stored payment methods, and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of any transactions with this developer.”

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Ultimately, this ensures that Netflix can avoid paying Apple’s 30% commission for every subscription made in the iOS app, reduced to 15% for recurring subscriptions after one year. Netflix actually stopped paying Apple’s iOS tax in early 2019, but this is the first time Apple has offered an officially supported way to stop paying the tax and it’s sure to be used by many other popular subscription services.

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