Apple has amended its App Store Guidelines to allow in-app purchases to be sent to others as gifts. Individuals have previously been able to gift apps to friends or family but now, thanks to this change, in-app purchases within apps can also be gifted.

It was quite a while ago that Apple realized and understood the need for individuals to be able to gift a paid app to a family member or a loved one.

A perfect use case for this was to allow parents to set their kids up with their own Apple ID without a valid payment mechanism on file and then gift that child paid apps that could be installed on their devices. This meant that paid apps could be installed without needing to give payment access to people or accounts.

However, as useful as that functionality was, and is, it was limited in scope in the fact that it only allowed paid apps to be gifted. In the modern world, a lot of apps and games are actually free-to-download or free-to-play but require in-app content to be purchased or unlocked, which is how the developer brings in revenue. With this change, those developers are able to include functionality that allows any included in-app purchases to be gifted, as per Apple’s new language on the topic:

Apps may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchase to others. Such gifts may only be refunded to the original purchaser and may not be exchanged.

If an in-app purchase is gifted from person A to person B, and that in-app purchase is consumed by person B but there is a problem, then only person A – the original purchaser – is eligible for a refund on the purchase. Which makes perfect sense. This change is definitely good news for all involved and is definitely a sign of Apple recognizing problems, taking onboard developer and user feedback, and being progressive in its approach to how the App Store is handled. However, it doesn’t seem to be fully in play yet with no real example of apps that are live on the Store and which are offering this level of functionality.

How do you feel about the change? Can you see yourself gifting in-app currency or gaming coins to people over the festive period?

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