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Apple’s new app review guidelines allows gifting for in-app purchases

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All I want for Christmas, is virtual currency for a fictional universe.
All I want for Christmas, is virtual currency for a fictional universe.

Image: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Nothing says “I care” like Fortnite V-Bucks, amirite?

Apple made a change to its App Store guidelines on Wednesday that will allow users to gift in-app purchases to one another. Soon, people will be able to treat friends and family to premium photo filters, game currency, app upgrades (from “freemium” to ad-free and feature-rich premium), and more.

Previously, Apple allowed gifting actual apps, but prohibited in-app gifts. MacRumors first spotted the change in language, which now reads: “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.”

The new policy comes in an update to Apple’s review guidelines, which lets developers know what standard their apps need to meet to become available in the App Store. That means no offensive content, living up to privacy standards, and more.

In-app purchases are on the rise, according to a 2018 Sensor Tower report. iPhone users spent 23 percent more on in-app purchases and premium apps in 2017 than they did in 2016; the average iPhone user reportedly now spends $58 on in-app purchases and premium apps, up from $47 in 2016. The most popular types of purchases are games, followed by entertainment apps.

Lifestyle apps saw the biggest gains.

Lifestyle apps saw the biggest gains.

A recent ZDNet article crowned Clash of Clans as the app pulling in the most money, estimating purchases in the Google Play Store at nearly $3.6 billion. 

As Cult of Mac points out, the new gifting ability most likely won’t arrive in time for Christmas. It’s up to developers to actually enable the change, and they likely won’t make it by the time Santa pulls around his sleigh. 

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