Netflix’s app on iOS now has a sign-up button that will redirect you to its site so you can subscribe to one of its packages, as the company doesn’t pay any fees on the app store. The change comes after Apple said in March that “reader” apps — those that provide digital content like books and videos — can offer an external link to their website for account creation.
The new sign-up screen, as spotted by 9to5Mac first, displays a button that will take you to netflix.com/join. But before being redirected to the site, the application displays a warning screen which lets you know that you are no longer making transactions using Apple’s system and all processes related to this are handled by Netflix.
“Any account or purchase made outside of this app will be managed by the “Netflix” developer. Your App Store account, registered payment methods, and related features, such as managing subscriptions and requesting refunds, will not be Apple is not responsible for the privacy or security of any transactions with this developer,” the disclaimer reads.
Notably, Apple has asked developers in South Korea and the Netherlands (only dating apps) to use similar modes to use alternative payment systems for in-app purchases.
It’s unclear if the new sign-up button is rolling out to users globally. We asked Netflix for more details, and we’ll update the story if we get a response.
Apple takes a 30% fee (or 15% for small developers) on apps when selling subscriptions through the App Store’s payment system. While Netflix historically allowed you to sign up for the service on your iPhone, it dropped iTunes billing in 2018 to avoid paying commission. Instead, Netflix’s iOS app just provided a sign-in option with no in-built process or link to its website to create your account. The streaming giant hopes the new sign-up button on iOS will bring more new users to the platform.
In comparison, on Android, Netflix lets you create an account by providing your email ID and then sends you an email with information to purchase a plan to start using the app and watching content.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny commented on this new development complaining that games are still not allowed to do so. That’s not surprising given that the company’s central argument in the lawsuit against Apple was that the App Store didn’t allow developers to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases.
A Sensor Tower report released earlier this month suggests that revenue generated by non-gaming apps on the US App Store exceeded gaming revenue for the first time in May and June. If the trend continues, Apple could refine its rules for apps tied to subscription purchases while avoiding App Store fees.
The new iOS Development sign-up button comes days after Netflix announced its Q2 2022 results with a loss of 970,000 subscribers; it lost 200,000 subscribers last quarter. Given that the company’s shares have fallen more than 60% this year, it desperately needs to attract more people to its platform. The company has already talked about measures like adding extra fees for sharing passwords for non-household members and an ad-supported plan that will launch next year.