Does Apple allow me to sell a free iPad App that accesses content paid for separately (not thru Apple)?


We have an app on Mac and PC and are considering an iPad version. I'd like to have a free iPad version that users get but can only access the content if they bought the PC or Mac version. (This saves us the 30% Apple Tax.

Apple Ipad App

asked Nov 5 '11 at 03:43
Clay Nichols
737 points

3 Answers


Yes. I believe the basic rule is that purchases in-app will demand 30%, but external purchases are free. Note that you can't put in any button or external link in the app to do the purchase without paying the Apple tax.

At least according to the latest discussions I've seen about the subject.

answered Nov 6 '11 at 09:11
136 points


Would you determine whether they bought the Mac or PC version by a code they type in or an email / password?

This type of process in do-able, it's usually best to offer at least some type of functionality if you are releasing it free on the App store. Like a freemium version or some limited access and then if they put in their code, or login it gives the full thing.

But, unless you are Sony, Amazon, Google or a big name they let stuff slide through a bit more now.

We released an app that required you to sign in to use it, with no link to even make an account and they let it through. Which was a HUGE surprise to me. So essentially you had to have a paid account already to use the iPad version.

answered Nov 7 '11 at 03:53
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


Yes this is possible. Don't see any problem with this.

However - the App market is huge... 70% of a two million bucks is better than 100% of one... well... as long as you love Apple.

answered Nov 5 '11 at 05:06
1,072 points
  • A citation would be very helpful. – Clay Nichols 12 years ago
  • @ClayNichols a citation from their T&Cs? I don't think we'll find one. An example... If twitter charged you for access, could Apple take 30% of that (esp. if you bought your twitter access from your PC/Mac) ? Nope. If you had to buy the app for $1, Apple would take 30% of that. – Sunil 12 years ago

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