Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Apple’s appeal in its lawsuit with Epic Games, Apple has announced a number of updates to its App Store guidelines, reports 9to5Mac. These changes, which take effect immediately in the United States, are in line with the outcome of the 2021 Apple v. Epic lawsuit and aim to ease previously strict rules that prevented developers from linking to alternative payment systems in their apps.

The new rules now allow developers to include links or buttons in their apps that redirect users to external websites to make purchases. However, this right is conditional: the app must also offer purchases through Apple’s In-App Purchase system. Developers can apply for this right, which is limited to the iOS or iPadOS app store in the United States. The external link must be displayed on one page of the application in a specially designated place and cannot be stored outside this page. In this case, the user will be warned about the transition to a third-party website by a giant disclaimer:

New rules for the US App Store: developers are allowed to link to external payment methods, but there will still be a commission

Despite allowing links to external payment methods, Apple will continue to charge a fee for these transactions. The fee rate will be 12% for members of the App Store’s small business program and 27% for other apps. This fee applies to purchases made within seven days after the user clicked on the link to the external purchase. Developers are obliged to account for purchases outside of apps and transfer the corresponding commissions to Apple. However, the company recognizes that collecting these commissions will be difficult and in many cases impossible.

Apple has also provided guidelines for developers wishing to exercise this right, including requirements for an external link, such as a direct link to the developer’s website without redirects, opening in a new window in the default browser, and not passing additional parameters in the URL to protect user privacy.

Besides, Apple is obliged to allow developers to communicate with customers outside of its apps about alternative purchase options, a change that was implemented in 2021 after the settlement of a class action lawsuit with small developers.