Does Apple Keep its Commission After You Refund a Purchase?

We did a little sleuthing and here's our answer

does Apple keep its commission
David Barnard

David Barnard

PublishedLast updated

Here’s an interesting question that seems to resurface periodically without a definitive answer: What happens to Apple’s commission after a user gets a refund for an in-app purchase?

According to the Paid Applications Agreement, all iOS developers must agree to the following policy in the event of an in-app purchase refund:

“Apple will have the right to retain its commission on the sale of that Licensed Application, notwithstanding the refund of the price to the End-User.”

Over the years, there’s been a lot of chatter about this all over the web, from Reddit and Hacker News to Stack Overflow and the Apple developer forums.  That makes sense, because on its face, the policy sounds pretty dire. If Apple gets to keep 30% of a purchase that’s later refunded, developers could potentially lose a lot of money.

For example, say you own a fitness app, and one of your users purchases a subscription for your $100 annual plan. You pay $30 to Apple and get to keep $70. If the user refunds their purchase, however, they get $100 back, and if Apple is entitled to keep the 30% commission, you’re out $30. Understandably, this has had many developers worried.

With all the uncertainty that’s been swirling around this topic, I decided to test it by pulling a detailed payment report from my App Store Connect account:

As you can see, Apple deducted the post-commission price (the column labeled “Extended Partner Share”) when it issued my users’ refunds. So Apple didn’t keep its 30% commission, and I didn’t lose any money.

The bottom line? Apple reserves the right to keep the commission amount, but that doesn’t mean it will. I suspect that Apple includes this in the terms and conditions for cases of fraud or other extenuating circumstances.

So, there you have it!

While Apple technically has the right to keep its commission even after a purchase has been refunded, I’ve yet to hear a single confirmed case where it did. As long as you’re operating your app business legally and professionally, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

In-App Subscriptions Made Easy

See why thousands of the world's tops apps use RevenueCat to power in-app purchases, analyze subscription data, and grow revenue on iOS, Android, and the web.

Related posts

TAM SAM SOM for apps: Everything subscription apps need to know
TAM SAM SOM for apps: Everything subscription apps need to know 
Growth

TAM SAM SOM for apps: Everything subscription apps need to know 

What are total addressable market, serviceable addressable market, and serviceable obtainable market and how should you use them?

Peter Meinertzhagen

Peter Meinertzhagen

April 11, 2024

How to make money on the visionOS App Store
How to make money on the visionOS App Store
Growth

How to make money on the visionOS App Store

It may not be the gold rush that the original App Store was, but now is the time for experimentation and innovation.

Charlie Chapman

Charlie Chapman

April 10, 2024

“Meta has a very strong algorithm… They’re good at finding your audience for you” — Marcus Burke, Independent Consultant
Growth

“Meta has a very strong algorithm… They’re good at finding your audience for you” — Marcus Burke, Independent Consultant

Marcus Burke on the past, present, and future of Meta ads.

David Barnard

David Barnard

April 3, 2024

Want to see how RevenueCat can help?

RevenueCat enables us to have one single source of truth for subscriptions and revenue data.

Olivier Lemarié, PhotoroomOlivier Lemarié, Photoroom
Read Case Study