App Store subscription offer codes coming in iOS 14

It's probably no secret that Apple has a preference for recurring subscriptions as a business model rather than freemium with in-app purchases or even straight app buys. Not everyone, however, is a fan and some developers might still be on the fence, especially when it comes to managing that subscription system. Of course, Apple is only too happy to make developers' lives so much easier and will soon be providing them with an easy way to attract subscribers with promotion codes for free or discounted prices.

Apple's push for adopting a subscription model for paid apps makes some sense from a business perspective. Rather than just a one-off payment, subscriptions offer a more sustainable and long-term revenue stream for developers and often help retain users longer. It doesn't hurt that Apple takes a more regular cut from those subscriptions, of course.

Many users, however, shy away from subscriptions and even those who are already subscribed may sometimes leave after their covered period has lapsed. Apple thinks that offer codes can help immensely in attracting and even retaining subscribers, which is why it's trying to make it easier for developers to offer such codes both online and even at offline physical events, at least when those become a thing again.

Apple's subscription offer codes system involves a one-time URL to redirect users to redeem the codes. Apple gives a few examples of such offers, from a free trial period, a "pay as you go" promo, or a discount for those that pay in advance for six or even 12 months.

The APIs for managing these codes will be built into iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 and support for offer codes will be rolling out later this year. App subscriptions are currently a contentious topic even among Apple fans, with some seeing it as a money grab while others considering it a better way to encourage developers to regularly update their apps.