Apple Updates Guidelines for ‘Reader’ Apps

7 April 2022
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Lucy Penn

Sales & Marketing Director


After initially announcing the update last year, Apple has now implemented a change to its guidelines surrounding reader apps which means a ‘reader app’ can now include a link to an external website for account creation and management purposes.

Apple defines a ‘reader app’ as an app which provides one or more of the following content types; magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video.

For an app to include this functionality we would need to request an ‘External Link Account Entitlement’ so that the app can link to an external website. Please note, that if an app contains this feature then it cannot also offer in-app purchases on iOS or iPadOS.

There are design guidelines and specific conditions on how this process should be implemented within an app to ensure the user’s privacy is not compromised. We are currently working on implementing this change across our Edition and Live solution and will provide more details on how our clients can utilise this new feature in due course. The image below shows an example of what that user flow might be.

In the meantime, you can find more information from Apple below.

Understanding app and link requirements []

In addition to enabling an entitlement for your app and implementing the required External Link Account APIs, you must follow usage requirements designed to help protect privacy and security, prevent scams and fraudulent activity, and maintain the overall quality of the experience. Any link provided in a reader app must:

  • Link to a website you own or have responsibility for;
  • Open a new window in the default browser on the device, and may not open a web view;
  • Not pass additional parameters in the URL, in order to protect the user (for example, their privacy);
  • Be submitted with your reader app to the App Store, and shall be resubmitted if the URL changes;
  • Not include, or be used with, language that includes the price of items available on the website (acceptable language includes “go to to create or manage your account”);
  • Be formatted like a standard HTML link (i.e., blue underlined text) and contain the domain name of the website;
  • Be displayed only once per app page, and must display the same message in each instance;
  • Be statically defined in the external-link.account key value in your app’s Info.plist before submission to the App Store;
  • Go directly to your website without any redirect or intermediate links or landing page.