In-app purchase

People can use in-app purchase to pay for virtual goods — like premium content, digital goods, and subscriptions — securely within your app, regardless of the device on which it runs.

You can also promote and offer in-app purchases directly through the App Store. For developer guidance, see In-App Purchase.

IMPORTANT In-app purchase and Apple Pay are different technologies that support different use cases. Use in-app purchase to sell virtual goods in your app, such as premium content for your app and subscriptions for digital content. Use Apple Pay in your app to sell physical goods like groceries, clothing, and appliances; for services such as club memberships, hotel reservations, and event tickets; and for donations.

Using in-app purchase, there are four types of content you can offer:

  • Consumable content like lives or gems in a game. After purchase, consumable content depletes as people use it, and people can purchase it again.
  • Non-consumable content like premium features in an app. Purchased non-consumable content doesn’t expire.
  • Auto-renewable subscriptions to a service — like cloud storage — or periodically updated content like a magazine. When people sign up for an auto-renewable subscription, they’re charged on a recurring basis until they decide to cancel.
  • Non-renewing subscriptions to a service or content that lasts for a limited time, like access to an in-game battle pass. People purchase a non-renewing subscription each time they want to extend access to the service or content.

A screenshot of The Coast game’s in-app purchase store on iPad, featuring a row of five boosts that include lighthouse repairs and a power surge, and in-game maps with names like World Canals, The Great Lakes, and Famous Bays. A screenshot of the app's subscriptions page on iPhone is in front of the iPad and on the right. The subscription, titled Cartographer's Collection, provides access to all of the maps in the game for $2.99 per month.

For marketing and business guidance, see In-app purchase and Auto-renewable subscriptions. For information about what you can and can’t sell in your app, including in-app purchase usage requirements and restrictions, see App Store review guidelines.

Offering in-app purchases

To design an in-app purchase experience that harmonizes with your app and effectively showcases your products, consider the following guidelines. To learn about helping people discover and purchase your products on the App Store, see Promoting your in-app purchases.

Let people experience your app before making a purchase. Users may be more inclined to invest in paid items or features after they’ve enjoyed your app and discovered its value. If you offer auto-renewable subscriptions, consider supporting limited free access to your content; for guidance, see Auto-renewable subscriptions.

Design an integrated shopping experience. People shouldn’t think they’ve entered a different app when they browse and purchase your digital products. Present products and handle transactions in ways that mirror the style of your app.

Use simple, succinct product names and descriptions. Titles that don’t truncate or wrap and plain, direct language can help people find products quickly.

Display your store only when people can make payments. If someone canʼt make payments — for example, because of parental restrictions — consider hiding your store or displaying UI that explains why the store isnʼt available. For developer guidance, see AppStore.canMakePayments.

Use the default confirmation sheet. When someone initiates an in-app purchase, the system displays a confirmation sheet to help prevent accidental purchases. Don’t modify or replicate this sheet.

Enabling Family Sharing

People can use Family Sharing to share access to their purchased content — such as auto-renewable subscriptions and non-consumable in-app purchases — with up to five additional family members, across all their Apple devices. To encourage people to take advantage of the Family Sharing support you offer, consider the following guidelines.

Prominently mention Family Sharing in places where people learn about the content you offer. For example, including “Family” or “Shareable” in a subscription or item name and referring to Family Sharing in your sign-up screen can highlight the feature and help people make an informed choice.

Help people understand the benefits of Family Sharing and how to participate. When you turn on Family Sharing, people can receive notifications about the change, depending on their current settings. For example, an existing subscriber whose sharing setting is turned off (the default) receives a notice from Apple that invites them to share their subscription with family members. Similarly, a family member can get a notification about content that’s being shared with them. (To learn more about the types of notifications people can receive, see Auto-renewable subscriptions.)

Aim to customize your in-app messaging so that it makes sense to both purchasers and family members. For example, when a family member views shared content for the first time, you might welcome them with wording like “Your family subscription includes...”

Providing help with in-app purchases

Sometimes, people need help with a purchase or want to request a refund. To enable a convenient user experience, you can present custom UI within your app that provides assistance, offers alternative solutions, and helps people initiate the system-provided refund flow. For developer guidance, see beginRefundRequest(for:in:); for related guidance specific to auto-renewable subscriptions, see Helping people manage their subscriptions.

Provide help that customers can view before they request a refund. In addition to including a link to the system-provided refund flow, your custom purchase-help screen can provide assistance you tailor to your app. For example, your custom screen might help people resolve problems with missing purchases, answer frequently asked questions about the in-app purchases you offer, and give people ways to submit feedback or contact you directly for support.

Screenshot of an app’s help screen titled Help with Purchases. The back button, which is titled Back, is in the top-left of the screen. In a list titled ’How can we help?’ there are the following five help items, each of which can open a new screen. Missing a Purchase. Frequently Asked Questions. Request a Refund. Submit Feedback. Contact Us.

Use a simple title for the refund action, like “Refund” or “Request a Refund”. The system-provided refund flow makes it clear that people request a refund from Apple, so there’s no need to reiterate this information.

Help people find the problematic purchase. For each recent purchase you display, include contextual information that helps people identify the one they want. For example, you might display an image of the product — along with its name and description — and list the original purchase date.

Screenshot of an app’s refund screen titled Request a Refund. The back button in the top-left of the screen is titled Help. In a list titled Purchases, the screen displays the following four recent purchases. Power Surge. The Great Lakes. World Canals. 20 Lighthouse Repairs.

Consider offering alternative solutions. For example, if the customer didn’t receive the item they purchased, you might offer immediate fulfillment or a conciliatory item. Regardless of the alternatives you offer, make it clear that people can still request a refund.

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.

Screenshot of the system-provided refund-request sheet. The App Store icon and the title Request Refund appear in the top left and a close button is in the top right. Below the title, the sheet displays the following information about the refund item. An image of a lighthouse, the title Power Surge for The Coast, the cost $2.99, the purchase date June 1, 2021, and the Apple ID anne johnson 1 at iCloud dot com. Below the item information, the sheet lists the following five issues from which to choose. I didn’t mean to buy this. A child/minor made purchase without permission. My purchase does not work as expected. Purchase not received. Other. A checkmark appears next to item My purchase does not work as expected. Below the statement ’You may lose access to refunded items’ is a blue Request Refund button at the bottom of the sheet.
Screenshot of the system-provided confirmation sheet that displays a white checkmark in a blue disk and the title ’Your request has been submitted.’ Below the title, the sheet displays the following text. You’ll receive an email at anne johnson 1 at iCloud dot com with a status update within 48 hours. To check the status of claims, go https report a problem dot Apple dot com. A blue Done button appears at the bottom of the sheet.

Avoid characterizing or providing guidance on Apple’s refund policies. For example, don’t speculate about whether customers will receive the refund they request. To help people understand the refund-request process, you can provide a link to Request a refund for apps or content that you bought from Apple.

Supported platforms