Apple will soon let you resolve billing issues with iPhone subscriptions right within apps

Apple’s new prompt will help people resolve any billing issues with renewable subscriptions on their iPhone or iPad, right within the app itself.

A prompt in a generic iPhone app warning the user about a subscription billing problem
Users can now fix billing issues within the app | Image: Apple
  • Apple will soon let you update your payment method right within an app in case an auto-renewable subscription has failed over a billing issue.
  • Before this change, billing problems had to be manually resolved provided the user knew how to access their Apple ID payment settings.
  • Apps optimized for iOS and iPadOS 16.4 will automatically show this prompt if the auto-renewable subscription fails over a billing problem.

Resolving billing issues with iPhone subscriptions

The goal is to resume a failed subscription as painlessly as possible. In iOS 16.3 and older, an app would produce a cryptic error message if its paid features couldn’t be accessed over a billing problem. This usually happens if there aren’t enough funds on the user’s linked payment method.

In turn, this left less experienced users who didn’t know where to update theist payment method confused. According to an announcement on the Apple Developer website, apps that use Apple’s StoreKit framework and are compiled for at least iOS or iPadOS 16.4 will automatically gain this feature.

“Starting this summer, if an auto-renewable subscription doesn’t renew due to a billing issue, a system-provided sheet appears in your app with a prompt that lets customers update their payment method for their Apple ID,” it reads.

The prompt informs the user there has been an issue with their payment method on file. “To avoid interuptiuons to your subscriptions and purchases, update your payment method,” it reads. The user can do nothing by choosing Continue or select Add Payment Method if they’d like to refresh their Apple ID payment method.

Developers can also define a grace period for payments so the features locked behind a renewable subscription remain active while Apple’s billing system attempts to collect payment. Apple even uses machine learning to resolve payment interruptions in the least disruptive ways.

For example, if a subscription is in the billing retry state, Apple’s machine learning will optimize payment retries for the best possible recovery rate.

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