Netflix for iOS implements an external subscription button

Following a change in Apple’s policy for reader apps, Netflix has now added an external subscription button to its iPhone and iPad software.

iPad screenshot showing the sign-in prompt in the Netflix app
  • Netflix for iPhone and iPad no longer launches to a cryptic screen offering a log-in button without any information on how to create an account outside of the app.
  • There’s now a button that takes you to a page on the Netflix website where they can become a member by purchasing a subscription externally.
  • This is the first example of how Apple’s new rules for external subscription buttons work. Apple notes that external subscriptions cannot be managed in one central place like those that use Apple’s billing system. Refunds and other features are also unavailable through Apple.

Netflix for iOS now offers an external subscription button

“You’re about to leave the app and go to an external website,” reads a prompt in the updated Netflix app for iOS. “You will no longer be transacting with Apple,” it clarifies. As part of Apple’s rules, this prompt includes a description of what it meant to be no longer transacting with the company. Read: How to cancel a Netflix account

The developer will manage any account or purchases made outside of this app. Your App Store account, stored payment methods and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of transactions made with this developer.

A Learn More button opens a story on the App Store which offers up more detailed information about using external subscription options in apps.

iPad screenshot showing a disclaimer when using external payments in the Netflix app

Apple relents to antitrust pressure

Other apps can also use their own sign-up buttons to take users to an external sign-up page. Apple has long resisted this change because it cannot collect its fee on external payments. But things began to change as governments around the world began threatening legal action unless Apple introduced changes. Having finally relented to antitrust pressure, Apple now permits reader apps to provide a single link to a sign-up page for creating a new account or purchasing a subscription.

To reiterate, this change only applies to reader apps on the App Store, which are apps that serve as a viewer for a library of existing content. Some examples of reader apps include Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Curiosity Stream and the like. Developers can add these external subscription buttons to their apps in iOS 15.5 and newer.