Though the App Store is one of the best in the business, it certainly could stand a few changes. One of the refinements users have been calling for is the ability to take apps for a test spin.

The current policy calls for users to pay for applications before they get a chance to try them out. This isn’t a huge deal with $0.99 applications, but you could potentially pay $20 or $30 for a program that ends up not working out…

While it’s an inconvenience to most folks, it’s actually against the law in Taiwan. The lack of a return policy actually violates the government’s Consumer Protection Act, which calls for all mobile applications to have a 7 day trial period.

The capital city’s government found that both Google and Apple’s mobile storefronts violated the mandate, and on June 8th ordered the companies to change their policies.

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the Economic Times of India is reporting that Apple has changed its policy. Their Taiwanese version of the popular App Store now offers users an option to return apps within 7 days if unsatisfied.

Now, this presents an interesting situation. On one hand, a 7 day trial period is a definite win for consumers. But on the other hand, it could certainly stifle profits that have made iOS app-making so attractive to developers.

Let’s throw in another dynamic. Would a trial period in the App Store deter anyone from downloading pirated apps? After all, the App Store’s lack of a refund policy tends to be the common scape goat among cracked app users.

I think Apple should offer some sort of test period for apps. But I’m thinking more of like a 24 or 48 hour trial period. Otherwise it seems like applications made for short-term uses like vacationing or travel would cease to make money.

Should Apple allow trial periods for apps?

[9to5Mac]

  • Frankie

    I think the same, 24 hours is more than enough to tell if an app doesnt work.

    I really hate when Google changed their policy from 24 hrs to just a lousy 15 minutes. I paid for a Need for Speed shift version that never worked in my Galaxy S, no refunds whatsoever.

    Glad those times are long gone 😀

    • Jon Garrett

      A 15 minute trial period is OK, 20 minutes would be better though. as for allowing 24 or 48 hours, that’s more than enough time for someone to “buy” an app (request a “refund”) crack it with appcrackr and upload it to appcrackr/installous

      By shortening the time limit to 15 or 20 minutes, it would make it a bit harder (not impossible but harder) to do, especially with larger file sizes.

  • IndiePhoenix

    The consumer is priority number one so better 7 days return policy than no return policy at all, even if it’s a the loss of some developers… Or they could have it category-based like, 24 hours for a travel app, 7 days for a productivity app…

    But, certainly this is a necessity. I use installous to try out apps and after that, if I like them, I buy them… With such a policy in place, I wouldn’t need installous.

    • Selcuk

      +1 completely agree with u

  • J

    That’s the only reason i Pirate apps.. I try first and if I like it I buy.. would be nice if the app store will start supporting testing first.

    • dfgbhfdv

      u pirate apps or use pirated apps?

  • Callum

    I’ve been refunding my apps for ages and I live in Australia. I don’t see the big deal.

    • Mena

      How have you been doing it? I read that it’s possible, but difficult?

      • dfgbhfdv

        Dude, I’ve got $30+ worth of free credit from apps which I got a refund for (they never said anywhere that you have to remove them from your library, did they?). Plus, I can easily re-download them from purchased section when iCloud came out.

      • William

        yeah, write a “Report a Problem” to AppStore support team with good enough reason, they’ll usually replied and give you a refund, although every time their letter states “this is a one time deal”

  • Brandon

    This needs to happen more often. The Justin.tv app is not worth $13. Id take a refund

  • Gutentag

    Typical gooks want there money back.

  • dfgbhfdv

    They shouldn’t. Well, it’s good for us customers cuz we can keep the app after getting a refund, but bad for Apple and developers

  • CJ

    This is off topic I know and I apologise but can any1 confirm that Apple have done away with the camera button on the lockscreen in beta 2 ?? I installed it on my iPod but it isn’t there and wondered if maybe it’s only on the iPhone or have the taken it out in this beta.

  • BloodRain

    i for one often speak out about why people pirate,and Taiwan has the golden ticket

    with a 7 day test run, i get to take my HUMMER home and never even think about the dumb down “free” versions again(the jetta) i would have no need to pirate,i mean i know it wouldnt be a 100% effective against pirates cause some people just dont want to pay for anything,ever..im not

    this would mean a world of diffrence in iso5, id see less reason to jailbreak,be that much closer to keeping things in house (apple). i dont think it’ll happen,and if it does you would see the app stores number decline..imagine all the crap apps youv bought..the ones you touched once,lol i’d have half my SB cleaned

    i bought alot before i found the wonderful world of jailbreak,since then,only buy apps i know do what i need.

    • huw

      im the same alot of apps that have no free version that seemed good ended up being cons and costing me too much i had spend far too much on apps before i found jailbreaking then installous is like my trial store and its saved me so much money on shitty apps, some would argue that its not fair on the developers but if the thing the developers are selling is misleading like those tons of apps called “hot sex” and “nude chick” that are just a joke yet end up in the top 25 they are the type of apps that deserve a trial period to prevent developers pay $100 then release a sea of rip off apps not only take alot of peoples money and push really good deserving apps to the dusty lower dephs of the app store but the fact they make so much money from them and that apple dosent seem to take action when two of the top 50 are named as porn apps to get unsuspecting customers to buy it only to find its a joke glad its never happened to me but its must be frustrating

  • kokhean

    This way, people can purchase apps, keep the files, get a refund, and they essentially will have free apps.

  • RT

    Apps won’t launch if they revoke your purchase so it’s useless keeping the files. Unless if you jailbreak or don’t ever connect your device to the internet ever again right after download.

    I live in Taiwan and no Apple hasn’t done anything to the App Store software. They simply promised they will give out refunds in 7 days so presumably nothing has changed, we still need to write emails to support like everyone else.

    Personally I agree that 7 days is too long for many apps (such as ebooks), 24~48 hours sounds about right.