Netflix’s app on iOS now has a sign up button that redirects you to the site so you can subscribe to one of the plans where the company doesn’t pay an App Store fee. This change comes after Apple said in March that “reader” apps — apps that provide digital content like books and videos — can provide an external link to their website for account creation.
The new login screen, as first noticed by 9to5Mac, shows a button that takes you to netflix.com/join. But before being redirected to the site, the app displays a warning screen letting you know that you are no longer transacting with Apple’s system and that all associated processes are managed by Netflix.
“Any account or purchase made outside of this app is controlled by the developer ‘Netflix’. Your App Store account, saved payment methods and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, are not available. Apple is not responsible for privacy or security of transactions made with this developer,” according to the alert modality.
In particular, Apple has asked developers in South Korea and the Netherlands (dating apps only) to use similar modals for using alternative payment systems for in-app purchases.
It’s not clear if the new sign up button will be rolled out to users around the world. We’ve asked Netflix for more details and we’ll update the story if we hear anything.
Apple charges a 30% fee (or 15% for small developers) from apps when selling subscriptions through the App Store’s payment system. While Netflix in the past allowed you to sign up for the service on your iPhone, it shut down iTunes billing in 2018 to avoid paying the commission. Instead, Netflix’s iOS app just offered a login option with no in-app process or link to the account creation website. The streaming giant hopes the new sign up button on iOS will bring more new users to the platform.
In comparison, on Android, Netflix allows you to create an account by providing your email ID, and later send you an email with information to purchase a subscription to start using the app and watching content .
Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeny commented on this new development by complaining that games are still not allowed to do this. That’s not surprising, given that the company’s main 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 published earlier this month suggested that revenue from non-game apps in the U.S. App Store outpaced games revenue for the first time in May and June. If the trend continues, Apple could refine its rules for linking apps for subscription purchases, while avoiding App Store fees.
The new iOS development signup button comes days after Netflix announced its Q2 2022 revenue with a loss of 970,000 subscribers; it lost 200,000 subscribers in the last quarter. As the company’s stock has plummeted more than 60% this year, it is in dire need of more people on its platform. The company has already talked about measures such as adding additional costs for password sharing for members outside a household and an ad-supported plan to be launched next year.