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Apple extends in-app purchase exemption for online group and event apps yet again

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Apple has extended its deadline requiring online group and event apps to comply with the company’s in-app purchase policy once again, as announced in a post on the company’s developer’s blog (via 9to5Mac). Apps in this category can now use alternate payment options until June 30th, allowing them to skirt Apple’s 15 to 30 percent cut the company takes out of in-app purchases.

“In 2020, we chose to support apps and developers that needed to adapt services from in-person to digital as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Apple writes in the post. “Given the recent resurgence of COVID and its continued impact on in-person services, we’ve extended the most recent deadline.”

Apple introduced changes to its in-app purchase policy in September 2020, clarifying apps that provide “one-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences,” such as online classes and virtual group events, must process payments through in-app purchases. However, the company changed its rules to permit “person-to-person experiences” consisting of just two people, like medical consultations or real-estate tours, to use other payment methods.

After facing criticism for charging event platforms a commission in the midst of a pandemic, Apple decided to defer its rule targeting group event apps in November 2020 and later extended the reprieve until December 31st, 2021.

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