Apple will roll out 'offer codes' for app subscriptions with iOS 14

Developers will be able to hand out Offer Codes online or offline later this year.

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Bangkok. Thailand - March 12, 2016: Close-up of the App Store application icon on the screen of the iPhone 6.
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Apple is making it much easier for developers to get new or win back old subscribers with discounts or free offers. The tech giant has announced that it’ll give developers access to a feature called Offer Codes, which it describes as “unique, alphanumeric codes that provide free or discounted prices for auto-renewable subscriptions.” Developers will be able to distribute the one-time codes online or offline — they can give them out via email blasts, for instance, or hand them out at events.

The company will allow new, existing and previous subscribers to redeem codes, depending on the customer eligibility the developer set. Customers can redeem only one code per offer, but they can have up to 10 active offers for their account at any single time. While the codes will give customers access to free or discounted subscriptions, giving app makers a way to drum up interest in their services will benefit Apple’s business in the long run. It takes a 30 percent cut for subscription sales in the first subscription year, after all, and a 15 percent commission for all successive years that the user remains a subscriber.

Developers will be able to start giving out Offer Codes later this year, most likely after iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 roll out. Subscribers will be able to redeem the codes on their devices, so long as they’re running Apple’s upcoming mobile platform.

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