Netflix reportedly starts linking iPhone and iPad users to an external sign-up page
Netflix has reportedly started directing users on iPhone and iPad to an external webpage where they can sign up for the service, according to a report by 9to5Mac. The change comes just months after Apple began allowing “reader” apps that provide access to digital content, such as Netflix and Spotify, to link to account login pages on their own websites.
As far back as 2018, Netflix didn’t offer an external signup link — or even tell users where to sign up — in its iPhone and iPad apps. Users instead had to navigate to Netflix’s website from their web or mobile browser to sign up for the service before access the app. This was done to comply with Apple’s rules, which made it difficult for apps to bypass the up to 30 percent commission on in-app purchases and denied developers a link to an external signup page. The setup made it confusing for new users who would (logically) think they could sign in to Netflix with the app.
But now it seems that’s changing – 9to5Mac reports that iPhone and iPad users will now see an external link in the Netflix app that allows them to sign up for the service. Users who tap the link will see a message warning that they are “about to leave the app” and go to an external website. It also notes that transactions on the external page are not affiliated with Apple:
Any accounts or purchases made outside of this app are 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 the privacy or security of transactions with this developer.
As noted by 9to5MacTapping through the warning will redirect users to an account sign-up page on the Netflix website where they can enter payment information and choose a subscription. It’s not clear when Netflix started introducing this new option, and the company did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment. Currently, Netflix’s support page still indicates that users cannot access the Netflix login page from the iPhone or iPad app.
While Apple has started easing policy on reader apps, it’s still: a strict set of guidelines developers should follow, such as not including pricing information with a link to external signup pages. Developers must also submit a “right” to get permission to add the external link to their app.
Apple has been criticized for its policy of forcing most developers to use the App Store’s billing system, for which Apple charges a commission. In response to a new law passed in South Korea, Apple has begun allowing developers to use third-party payment processors in apps released in the country. It has also made some changes for dating apps released in the Netherlands after a lengthy battle with the country’s regulator.
But Apple will have to adjust even more when EU legislation on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is passed, as it would force Apple to allow the use of third-party payment systems, side-loading and third-party app stores. Google has already started preparing for the new laws by allowing developers to use an alternative billing system for apps distributed in Europe.