Apple last month announced its intention to allow developers to bundle their Mac and iOS apps as a part of a single transaction. Back then, Apple said it will start rolling out universal apps from March this year. Apple announced on Monday that developers can now offer universal purchases to their users. This will make it easier for both developers and consumers, in the long run, eliminating the need to purchase separate apps on different platforms. As of now, there are no apps that offer universal purchases between macOS and iOS.
In an update posted on its developer site, Apple said developers can bundle macOS apps as a universal purchase. This will allow users to buy an app and make in-app purchases across all of Apple's platforms including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS by simply placing a single order. Developers will have to use a single bundle ID for their apps using Xcode.
As Apple is yet to ship Xcode 11.4 GM to developers, there aren't any apps that offer a universal purchase yet. But it's only a matter of time now. Apple's users will be able to purchase universal apps across multiple platforms. The move is also expected to promote Apple's Project Catalyst.
A developer had earlier spotted the universal purchases feature as a part of Xcode 11.4 beta. While it is enabled for new apps created in Xcode 11.4, macOS developers can still add it to their existing apps without any major changes. Developers will still be able to sell their apps as standalone on respective App Store marketplaces.
Apple will also unify categories across the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store once universal apps are rolled out. This will bring minor changes to the way apps are categorised under these app stores.