Apple Enables Universal App Purchases for iPhones, Mac

Posted on March 24, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS, Mac and macOS, Mobile with 7 Comments

Apple is officially enabling Universal App Purchases on the App Store this week. The company first revealed its plans for bringing Universal App Purchases back in February.

At the time, the experience was not widely available. This week, however, Apple is enabling Universal App Purchases for everyone.

Universal App Purchases, for those unfamiliar, allows users to buy an app on the App Store once, and get it on their other Apple devices without having to pay for it again. So this means if you buy an app on your iPhone, you can get the same app on your Mac without having to pay for it again.

“The macOS version of your app can now be included in a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS by purchasing only once,” says Apple.

Developers can also choose to share in-app purchases so when you pay for an in-app item on one device, you don’t have to pay for it again on your other devices.

For developers, taking advantage of Universal App Purchases seems pretty easy. “Get started by using a single bundle ID for your apps in Xcode and setting up your app record for universal purchase in App Store Connect,” noted Apple on the Apple Developer website.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Apple Enables Universal App Purchases for iPhones, Mac”

  1. Avatar

    Ron Diaz

    What UWP was supposed to be but never was...

    • Avatar

      SvenJ

      In reply to Hypnotoad: Well, it was, but for some reason never caught on with developers. I had many apps on my Windows Phone and my Surface that were clearly the same app. Complied for different processors, but clearly the same code. You could resize the Windows app down to a phone size window and watch it morph into the phone look and feel. You could run the phone version on a big screen via continuum and it would be indistinguishable from the windows application. There may have been some technical differences, and there was some development work needed to assure the 'cross platform' features worked, but it was essentially one app, one code base.
      I think a couple of things that hurt the concept was that the examples that existed were mostly apps that were more mobile/phone based and so not 'significant' apps when you put them on the desktop. It was the mobile version of Office, Word, Excel, etc this worked with, not the legacy desktop version. Mail worked, not Outlook. It makes sense that it would be new apps, as they had to be written, or re-written, to take advantage. You couldn't just port an x86 program. The other thing that hurt was MS itself not embracing the concept by producing at least some 'desktop' quality apps to show the capabilities. The only one that came close was OneNote. That seemed due to the program manager being committed to making the modern/UWP version every bit as good as the desktop version. Came pretty close too, until he left that position and OneNote is drifting back to legacy. If MS didn't appear committed from the start, why would anyone else be.


    • Avatar

      Andi

      In reply to Hypnotoad:

      I think Paul himself said it... MS missing the mobile was going to hurt MS in the long term, wave after wave of hurt. The best they can do is be present as a service on other platforms.


      Apple on the other side will boil the macos frog for the sake of a universal app store. They will succeed due to the strength of their mobile ecosystem.

  2. Avatar

    jchampeau

    To clarify, you don't get the same app across iOS and macOS, you get the iOS version and the macOS version of the app respectively. So the "universal" aspect is true conceptually but the bits could be substantially different between platforms.

    • Avatar

      BigM72

      In reply to jchampeau:

      Yes, it's universal purchase of apps rather than purchase of a universal app.

      Apple's strategy of very platform-tailored applications unified in terms of brand and commercials seems in retrospect to have been the right one versus Microsoft pursuing a same application, runs everywhere approach.

  3. Avatar

    skywalker

    Wow that' revolutionary, I never saw someone else doing something similar. Also the article didn't mention anything similar, so I'm quite sure that's a unique feature!

  4. Avatar

    salicata2

    I also install on my phone

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