Apple agreed to change App Store rules worldwide in early 2022, allowing developers to redirect users to external websites and bypass its in-app purchase process following an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC).

In a statement, Apple explained because developers of so-called reader apps do not offer digital goods and services for purchase, it agreed with the JFTC to allow those operations to share a link to their websites to help with account management.

The agreement closes a five year JFTC investigation.

While the deal was made with the Japanese regulator, Apple explained the update will apply globally.

Reader apps allow users to browse previously purchased content or subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books and entertainment services. Apple takes a 15 per cent to 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.

Before the change goes into effect, Apple explained it will update guidelines and review process to make sure users of reader apps continue to have “a safe experience on the App Store”.

Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store, said it appreciates the work done with the JFTC, which he claimed will help developers of reader apps “make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust”.

The move is Apple’s second concession in less than a week, after it detailed plans to allow developers to offer users non-iOS app purchase options, part of a settlement of a US lawsuit filed in 2019.