Subscriptions

Subscriptions give people access to virtual content and services within your app on an ongoing basis or for a limited period of time. For App Store guidance on supporting subscriptions in your app, see Auto-renewable Subscriptions.

Screenshot of an app that describes the benefits and terms of subscribing and displays a button to start a subscription and a button to sign in.

Highlight subscription benefits during onboarding. By showing the value of your subscription when users first launch your app, you can educate them on how the app works and help them understand what they'll gain by subscribing. Include a strong call to action and a clear summary of subscription terms (see Making Signup Effortless). For related guidance, see Onboarding.

Offer a range of content choices, service levels, and durations. People appreciate the flexibility to choose the subscription that best meets their needs.

Consider letting people try your content for free before signing up. Limited free access gives people the opportunity to sample your content and encourages engaged users to sign up. For example, you might offer a freemium app, a metered paywall, or a free trial.

Prompt people to subscribe at relevant times, like when they near their monthly limit of free content. Additionally, consider making it easy for people to subscribe at any time by including prompts at relevant points throughout your app.

Encourage a new subscription only when a user isn't already a subscriber. Otherwise, the user may believe their existing subscription has lapsed when that's not actually the case. If you offer the same subscription options in multiple apps or through your website, provide a sign-in option so users don't think they have to pay multiple times for the same service.

Making Signup Effortless

A simple and informative sign-up experience makes it easy for people to act on their interest in your content, whether they're in your app or viewing your App Store product page.

Provide clear, distinguishable subscription options. Use short, self-explanatory names that differentiate subscription options from one another, and specify the price and duration for each option. If you offer an introductory price, list the introductory price, the duration of the offer, and the standard price the user pays after the offer ends.

Simplify initial signup by asking only for necessary information. A lengthy sign-up process may lower your subscription conversion rate. Defer asking for additional information until after people have signed up.

In your tvOS app, help people sign up or authenticate using another device. Instead of asking people to input information in your tvOS app, send a code to another device where they can enter the information you need.

Give people more information in your app's sign-up screen. In addition to including links to your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in your app and App Store metadata, the in-app sign-up screen should include:

  • The subscription name, duration, and the content or services provided during each subscription period
  • The billing amount, correctly localized for the territories and currencies where the subscription is available for purchase
  • A way for current subscribers to sign in or restore purchases

For example, the Forest Explorer sign-up screen displays billing totals for monthly, biannual, and annual subscriptions in the most prominent positions. In subordinate positions, it shows breakdowns of the biannual and annual prices, so that people can compare the values and make an informed choice. The sign-up screen also contains a button that current subscribers can use to restore their purchases.

Screenshot of an app sign-up screen that shows various subscription options and describes how payment is made.

Clearly describe how a free trial works. It's particularly important to make sure people know that when the free trial is over, a payment will be automatically initiated for the next subscription period. For example, in addition to the Subscribe Now button in the Ocean Journal sign-up screen, the app explicitly states how long the free trial lasts and the amount that's billed when it ends.

Screenshot of an app that offers a one month free trial, after which the subscription is billed at four ninety-nine per month.

Include a sign-up opportunity in your app's settings. App and account settings are common places for people to look for a way to subscribe.

Maintaining Subscribers

Provide access to content from expired subscriptions when it makes sense. A user who’s canceled a magazine subscription, for example, might expect to retain access to issues published while the subscription was active.

Consider letting people manage their subscriptions within your app. Building subscription management into your app gives you an opportunity to create a branded, contextual experience. You can use this experience to help people upgrade, crossgrade, or downgrade a subscription, and you can provide a deep link into Settings in case they want to cancel the subscription.