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Apple lets developers distribute free promo codes for paid apps

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Apple will now allow developers to distribute promo codes for paid apps and in-app purchases, the company said in a blog post. The codes will allow developers to distribute their app to reviewers or as a sample to potential customers, without having to pay for it.

Developers can request up to 100 promo codes for each platform they have the app on, or for each in-app purchase. The total limit is of 1,000 in-app purchase codes per app every 6 months, resetting on 1 January and 1 July. The codes are for non-commercial use and will expire in 28 days after they were requested. An iTunes Connect user with the Admin or Marketer role can request these promo codes.

Subscribers can redeem the codes using iTunes Store on the Mac or PC and via the ‘Featured” section of the app store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Promo codes for tvOS or multi-platform apps must be redeemed through the App Store on a desktop or iOS device.

Overall this move will benefit developers the most, allowing them to hand out free copies of its app or unlocking new features for free to reviewers. The number of promo codes allowed is too low for developers to exploit the system and get huge number of downloads for paid apps, and will likely be instead used during occasional promotional events.

Interestingly, Apple’s move comes after Google enabled promo codes on the Android Play Store in January this year. Similar to Apple’s plans, Android developers can generate up to 500 free promo codes per quarter for paid apps or in-app purchases. Overall, both companies offer 2,000 promo codes per year. However, Android developers cannot create promos for subscription content, something Apple allows.

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