Apple’s iOS will now confirm you meant to subscribe to that app
Apple has added another step to prevent users from accidentally signing up for an iOS app’s subscription — or, from being tricked into it by a scammy app not playing by the rules. The company recently rolled out a subscription confirmation dialog box that pops up as one final step to ensure you meant to opt in to the subscription being offered.
The change to iOS was first spotted by app developer David Barnard on Twitter and reported by Apple news site 9to5Mac.
Whoa! Apple added an additional confirmation step for subscriptions. This new alert comes after you confirm with Touch ID/Face ID. I hope they address this in a more elegant way in iOS 13, but I’m thrilled Apple took a definitive step to curb scam subscriptions. ?? @pschiller pic.twitter.com/oktaEVdx0o
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) April 11, 2019
The new confirmation box is a welcome addition, considering how many users were accidentally subscribing — particularly those with Touch ID-based phones who were trying to exit to the Home screen. Instead, they were giving the app permission to sign them up by placing their finger on the Home button, which triggered the Touch ID authentication process.
The update also arrives following several changes Apple has made to subscriptions in recent months to address problems around scammy subscriptions.
A good number of developers — especially those in the Utility category — were using sneaky tricks to tap into the subscription craze to bank thousands and even millions of dollars per year. Some apps would intentionally confuse users with their design, or make promises of “free trials” that converted in only a few days, or used other misleading tactics to get users to subscribe.
This left many consumers feeling they had been duped into paying, and a host of angry App Store reviews followed. The scams could have had a broader impact on the subscription economy, if Apple had allowed them to go unchecked, as consumers would have become wary of ever signing up for anything as a result.
That would have been a problem, given how subscriptions have become a big business for the App Store. According to one forecast, they are poised to grow to $75.7 billion by 2022, in fact.
However, Apple has since begun to crack down on bad actors, while also making subscriptions easier to manage by iOS users.
In January, it rolled out new developer guidelines to more clearly spell out what is and is not allowed; and in February it updated iOS to reduce the number of steps it took to get to your subscriptions, so you could more quickly and easily cancel them.
I decided to test Apple’s subscription confirmation on my iPhone 6S running iOS 10.3.3, and… I didn’t give Apple enough credit yesterday! The change was done server side, so it works on all iOS versions. It also cancels when you press the home button. Once again, ?? @pschiller pic.twitter.com/48Jt2okEyZ
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) April 12, 2019
Now, the new dialog box will ensure that users understand they’re opting in to a paid subscription, with a message that reads:
“Confirm Subscription. The subscription will continue unless canceled in Settings at least one day before a subscription period ends.”
Apple didn’t formally announce the change, but it appears to have rolled out sometime in the last week, reports say.