Apple doesn’t have to allow iPhone apps to use third-party payments tomorrow


Enlarge / A Fortnite loading screen that appeared on an iPhone in 2018 when Apple and Epic didn’t answer each other.

Apple has received a last-minute restraining order that would have required the company to allow iPhone and iPad app developers to direct users to alternative payment options.

The requirement to allow in-app linking with third-party payment systems was ordered in a September 10 ruling by the judge in the ongoing Epic Games against Apple lawsuit. This was one of the few wins for Epic as Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Apple’s favor on most counts.

The judge gave Apple until December 9th to make the necessary changes to allow external payment systems so that this stay comes at the last possible time. When Judge Gonzalez Rogers denied Apple’s original motion to stay the judgment, the company appealed to the 9th Court of Appeals. This appeal has led to this new development.

Apple can now maintain the status quo on this point until the appeal is resolved, probably many months from now.

Here are the key parts of the submission shared by 9to5Mac:

Apple, Inc. (“Apple”) has filed for a partial suspension of the District Court’s injunction dated September 10, 2021, pending appeal. Apple’s application (German entry no. 19) is granted.

Apple has at least proven that its appeal raises serious doubts about the District Court’s finding that Epic Games, Inc..

Apple has also sufficiently demonstrated the irreparable damage … and that the remaining factors speak in favor of keeping part (i) of the injunction and keeping the status quo pending …

We therefore grant Apple’s motion to suspend part (i) of paragraph (1) of the injunction. The suspension will remain in effect until the mandate issues this objection. The existing briefing plan remains in place.


In his appeal, Apple argued, among other things, that December 9th was not realistic as it would “take months to figure out the technical, economic, business and other problems” associated with the change.

This delay doesn’t mean Apple doesn’t have to make the change in the end; it just means that the debate will continue. Epic Games has also appealed other aspects of Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ verdict, so this litigation can go on for a long time.

It also does not affect the previous court order that Apple allows communication with users via alternative payment systems outside of apps using user contact information acquired within the app.