Update: New restrictions from Apple regarding linking to external account management

2022-05-05 09:31:44 UTC

In September 2021 Apple made a statement about an upcoming option for 'reader apps' to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account.

Link to statement: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/09/japan-fair-trade-commission-closes-app-store-investigation/


Now Apple have released their guidelines, but they are more restrictive than anticipated. Below you can read the important points from the article and you can read the entire article here. 

Link from Apple: https://developer.apple.com/support/reader-apps/


The process

  1. You need to request this feature entitlement through this from 
  2. We will need to setup the confirmation in the app certificates
  3. We will need to implement an in-app modal sheet
  4. App must be submitted for review

The modal sheet

This is a page that is shown when clicking a link in your app, but before the user arrive on your website. This Modal Sheet must follow strict design specifications, including what text to include. You can see an example below.

Visiolink will need to develop this modal sheet based on Apples specifications. A big problem with this is that Apple have required that when they release their own Modal Sheet, we will have 30 days to implement that Modal Sheet. 

This means that at any unknown time Apple can release their Model Sheet and we will have 30 days to complete a project of unknown size, or the app will be removed from App Store. This is a big risk as Visiolink cant guarantee that we have time in our project schedule at that time.




  • App must be primarily a reader app
  • App must allow people to sign in
  • App must allow users to access content bought somewhere else, such as on your website
  • App can't offer in-app purchases 
  • App can't facilitate real-time, person-to-person services
  • Link must be to a website you own or control
  • Link must formatted like a standard HTML link (i.e., blue underlined text) and contain the domain name of the website
  • Link must be to a new window in the default browser
  • Link must go directly to your website without any redirect or intermediate links or landing page
  • Link can't be in a web view
  • Link can't pass additional parameters in URL (like tracking)
  • Link must be submitted when app is in review and need to be resubmitted if URL changes
  • Link can't be in connection with text that states pricing
  • Link can only be displayed once per app page
  • Link must be defined in the external-link.account key value
  • No landing page allowed
  • Only one link per app


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