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Apple Will Let You Send In-App Purchases in Time for Holidays

Apple has made a major reversal in its in-app purchases policy.

Credit: Apple/MacRumors

(Image credit: Apple/MacRumors)

In a small tweak MacRumors discovered in Apple's App Store Guidelines, the company will now allow people to make in-app purchases and send them as gifts to others. Previously, Apple's App Store Guidelines said that the apps in its App Store "should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others."

Now, though, that section in the App Store Guidelines now says that App Store apps "may enable gifting of items that are eligible for in-app purchases to others." However, if you already have the in-app purchase you were sent by a friend or you just don't want it, you won't be able to exchange it for another digital item, according to the App Store Guidelines. And if the in-app purchase is refunded, the person who sent it to you will get the cash back.

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The change to Apple's App Store Guidelines means developers now have the opportunity to offer gifting. Developers will now need to add the functionality to their apps. Indeed, according to MacRumors, Apple will need to send some detail to developers on how to implement the gifting and get it up and running inside the software. Apple might also need to push a software update to iPhones to ensure they support the feature.

Apple already offers some gifting and app sharing. In the App Store, for instance, you can find an app and choose to share it with friends who can then purchase or download it. There's also an option in the App Store to gift an entire app and send it off to someone else. The in-app purchases gifting will likely work in much the same way.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.