Apple launches universal purchase support for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS apps

Universal purchase support for Mac apps that was announced on February 5, 2020 is now officially available, Apple announced yesterday via a blog post on its developer portal.

Universal binaries have long been available on iOS, allowing developers to create a single binary which conveniently combines the code, user interface logic and visual assets for an app’s iPhone and iPad versions into a single download.

Now Apple has added the ability for developers to sell iOS and Mac apps as a single purchase. As a matter of fact, developers can now distribute iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS versions of their app as a universal purchase.

From the announcement:

The macOS version of your app can now be included in a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS by purchasing only once.

An app’s in-app purchases are also shared across versions. This lets customers enjoy both an app along with its in‑app purchases across platforms by purchasing only once.

From Apples’s developer documentation:

Distribute iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS and tvOS versions of your app as a universal purchase to let customers easily enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across platforms. They’ll only need to purchase once on the App Store.

Having to buy the same app twice was a growing point of contention for some developers, as we reported last year. But Apple’s always been moving in that direction, especially with Project Catalyst which lets you buy an iPad app and get its Mac version at no additional cost.

Apple also announced yesterday the App Store will expand from the 155 countries and regions where it’s currently available to an additional 20 countries in 2020, starting in April.