Apple allows developers to give away in-app purchases via promo codes

EA's Real Racing 3 the first to benefit

Apple allows developers to give away in-app purchases via promo codes

Developers on the App Store can now give away in-app purchases using promo codes, with EA's Real Racing 3 the first game to make use of the apparent rule change.

While Apple is yet to publish any statement regarding this shift in approach, editor Jeff Scott spotted EA was in the process of giving away redeemable codes for a “Handful of Gold” in-app purchase as part of a promotion, worth $1.99.

The code can be utilised even if the user in question doesn't own the game, with the App Store automatically installing the title on the consumer's device once it has been applied.

Opening up

Developers have long been able to give away promo codes for paid games – a particularly useful tool when it comes to getting code in the hands of early testers, or pushing the title out for review.

The addition of codes for in-app purchases should grease these wheels further, even though Apple's own developer guide is yet to reflect any change.

Indeed, it's currently unclear as to whether this is change lobbied for by (and currently only available to) EA, or if Real Racing 3 is simply the first game to make use of the new approach.

Jeff Scott's original screenshot

We've reached out to Apple for further clarification.

UPDATE: iOS developers are informing us this new feature is currently not available to them, suggesting Real Racing 3 is being used as a test case before a wider roll out across the ecosystem.


With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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Sagi Mann
Apple developers may be saying that the feature is not yet available because it's in some sort of test phase... or, maybe because the feature is coming from EA - not Apple? There are advertisers who have been struggling to create such a bonus system for their own apps, not a simple feat when considering this needs to work with various ad networks, trackers, reengagement, etc... However there are 3rd party platforms that already provide such a service, for all platforms - not just Apple.