Apple teases new API that will let developers offer refunds in-app

“This is HUGE: looks like APIs for developers to offer refunds and subscription cancellations.”

What you need to know

  • Apple is holding its WWDC 2021 event this week.
  • An upcoming developer session could point to big changes coming to iOS for developers and users.
  • It appears Apple is preparing to introduce an API that will let developers offer refunds and subscription cancellations.

Apple may be preparing to let developers offer users of iOS apply for refunds and subscription cancellations within apps, according to an upcoming WWDC 2021 session.

The support customers and handle refunds overview states:

Great customer support is critical to running a successful business on the App Store. Discover how you can provide a frictionless support experience to customers who make in-app purchases, including APIs that make it easy for customers to manage or cancel their auto-renewable subscription, or request refunds from directly within your app. We’ll cover best practices for handling refunds, as well as additional APIs that can help you better support your customers.

As noted by one developer this would be a big shift in Apple’s App Store policy:

Another developer noted that Apple has also updated its human interface guide with a new native UI for requesting refunds:

The guide states:

Make it easy for people to request a refund. Although your purchase-help screen can offer useful information and alternative solutions, make sure this content doesn’t create a barrier to requesting a refund. For example, avoid making people scroll or open another screen to reveal your refund-request button. When people choose your refund-request item, they automatically enter the system-provided refund flow shown below.

A big complaint of developers regarding Apple’s App Store has often been that they cannot deal with refund requests directly, so these upcoming changes could indicate Apple is trying to improve both the customer and developer experience in this regard.

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