WTF is with this dark pattern in iOS app trials?

Three of the free-to-download iOS apps I’ve tried in the last few days have led with a nasty trap for the less-than-vigilant: If you even want to try this app, agree up front to an expensive (like, orders of magnitude more than a usual app), ongoing subscription that quietly and perpetually renews until you figure out how to stop it.

This upends the normal trial relationship of “If & only if you like this offering enough to buy/subscribe, take action to do so; otherwise you’re off the hook.” Screw that: these apps are getting summarily shitcanned.

Meanwhile I’m amazed that Apple allows this practice to continue.


3 thoughts on “WTF is with this dark pattern in iOS app trials?

  1. These kind of things wind me up no end.

    I guess there is nothing wrong with offering a service but the danger is people download without thinking, the modern world seems to generate traps based on the fact that people are generally in a hurry.

    If I were Apple I would put in an extra stage to the confirmation process where in large letters it says “This will cost you xxxx after the next three days – are you sure you are happy to pay this until you cancel? – If people are then good, no problem.

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