Apple gets pushy with Apple Music promo – and breaks its own rules

When it comes to push notifications on iOS, it seems it’s one rule for Apple and another for third-party apps.

The company has once again bent its rules by pushing a promotion for its Apple Music subscribers, encouraging them to invite a friend for a free month. Well, as Apple’s App Store guidelines states explicitly, push notifications shouldn’t be used for promotions or marketing.

Section 4.5.4 reads: “Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.”

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The Apple Music promotion goes against the company’s own rules, and it’s not the first time the firm has acted in this somewhat hypocritical manner.

Back in December, the company used push notifications to members of its Apple iPhone Upgrade Programs that new iPhone models were now available.

“Your new iPhone is ready,” the notification from the Apple Store read. “Choose iPhone XR or iPhone XS and speed through your upgrade today with the iPhone Upgrade Program.”

Although Upgrade Program members had signalled some kind of buying intent, it way still considered a little pushy, so to speak.

Towards the end of last year, Apple also used a push notification to inform Apple Music subscribers of the new Alexa skill. That could be construed as contravening section 4.5.3 of the App Store guidelines, which forbids the use of “Apple Services to spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers, including Game Center, Push Notifications, etc.”

Given Apple Music subscribers are already forking over their cash, it might be able to explain this, and today’s promotion, away as simply giving a helping hand to customers.

So far, the company hasn’t commented on the use of the push notifications to promote its own products, whereas others face censure – including banishment from the App Store – for doing so.

Does Apple have every right to use push notifications to promote its products? Or should it play by its own rules? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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