Apple is apparently looking to help prevent iOS device owners from accidentally signing up for in-app subscriptions with the addition of a new popup in the process.
The change was first reported by developer David Barnard, who posted his discovery on Twitter.
Whoa! Apple added an additional confirmation step for subscriptions. This new alert comes after you confirm with Touch ID/Face ID. I hope they address this in a more elegant way in iOS 13, but I’m thrilled Apple took a definitive step to curb scam subscriptions. ???????? @pschiller pic.twitter.com/oktaEVdx0o
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) April 11, 2019
Accidental in-app subscriptions have been an issue with iOS devices, particularly on iPhones with Touch ID. Signing up for such subscriptions is easy through Touch ID, but the convenience also comes with a certain risk that some apps have tried to exploit.
When users see a popup that asks whether they want to sign up for a subscription, some press the Home button to exit the app. Unfortunately, by placing their finger on the Home button, Touch ID will instead authenticate the user and confirm the subscription.
Some developers have resorted to underhanded tactics to get users to subscribe to their apps. Some apps intentionally confused users with their design, or promised free trials that converted into full subscriptions within just a few days. There are also some fitness apps that have been tricking users into in-app purchases and subscriptions by requesting fingerprint scans seemingly for fitness tracking purposes, when in reality, the apps are asking for Touch ID confirmation.
With the addition of the Confirm Subscription prompt, users will be better protected against such scams. At the very least, iOS device owners will become less prone to accidentally agreeing to in-app subscriptions that they mistakenly called up.
In January, Apple urged iOS developers to be a lot clearer regarding the subscription costs of their apps. According to updated guidelines, developers are now required to state the actual billing price of a subscription, to make sure that iOS device owners are not misled by hidden information.
Whether accidental or intentional, iOS users have the option of canceling subscriptions by entering the Settings of their iPhone and iPad, accessing their Apple account iTunes & App Store menu, tapping on View Apple ID, and then going into Subscriptions. From there, they can look at all the apps that they have signed up for, and cancel those that they do not wish to continue.