Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,467
17,808


Following an outcry from its users, Notability says it is making changes to its controversial subscription policy to ensure that people who previously purchased the app retain lifetime access to all current features and content.

Notability-Feature.jpg

The course correction was announced by the company on Tuesday in a Medium blog post, after the popular note-taking app received substantial blowback from users who were annoyed to learn that Notability's switch to a subscription model meant features they had purchased would stop functioning after one year.
Yesterday, we made a big announcement regarding our transition to a free app with an optional subscription. We heard the disappointment from our existing customers, and we want to correct our course.

Today, we are making some changes (coming soon in Notability version 11.0.2). Everyone who purchased Notability prior to our switch to subscription on November 1st, 2021 will have lifetime access to all existing features and any content previously purchased in the app.
Lifetime access will include unlimited editing, iCloud sync, and any features or content bought through in-app purchases, according to the developers, who added: "Future features we develop may also be included, depending on their complexity and cost to maintain."
We are a small company, so we designed the original one-year access plan as a precautionary measure since we were not certain if we could support lifetime access. We sincerely apologize for putting our current users in this position.
Notability's course correction means the app no longer appears to violate Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, which forbid apps that switch to a subscription model from taking away primary functionality existing users have already paid for.


It's not clear if Apple forced its hand to fall in line with the guidelines or consumer pressure was the main influence. Either way, Notability's change of course may make it unlikely that other app developers eyeing a subscription model will attempt a similar strategy of revoking features that existing users have already purchased.

Article Link: Notability Changes App Subscription Policy, Promises Existing Users Lifetime Access to Purchased Features
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dim08 and hkeely

jcswim312

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2008
240
1,171
Boston, Massachusetts
Awesome!

Right after I read that article yesterday I immediately looked to see if I purchased this in the past and verified that I did so this is awesome that I’m going to be grandfathered in

I’m going to purchase their competitor app, Goodnotes for $7.99 as well In case they change to a subscription model too
 

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
15,624
15,067
Singapore
I would have stuck with Notability regardless, but good for the rest of their user base who had no desire to pay an annual subscription. My guess is that we may soon see Notability end-of-lifed and a new V2 app be released, with subscription right from the get go.
 

davidako

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2021
447
1,028
I would have stuck with Notability regardless, but good for the rest of their user base who had no desire to pay an annual subscription. My guess is that we may soon see Notability end-of-lifed and a new V2 app be released, with subscription right from the get go.

The horrible new app icon was almost enough to get me to leave Notability. Their planned abuse of customers and a GoodNotes sale made it a no-brainer.
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2011
7,128
10,150
NC
This topic keeps coming up.

Consumers hate subscriptions... but developers love money.

So should developers start selling $30 apps? Is that the answer?

I'm not sure that will work.

Neither does selling an app for $4 and supporting it for the rest of your life.

It's a quandary... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

alchemistmuffin

macrumors 6502
Dec 28, 2007
489
194
I can tell you most likely Apple intervened, and threatened to not only remove Notability from App Store but terminate their developer account (with no refunds whatsoever) and potentially ban the company from owning Apple products for life.

And if Apple threatens company like that, best to not take this to the press and just comply.
 

davidako

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2021
447
1,028
Is it just me, is are subscriptions the worst thing that happened to the App Store?

I used to buy apps frequently, now I mostly avoid because every single app no matter how trivial now wants a monthly subscription.

It has killed my desire to explore new apps. The free section is useless now since you always have to scroll down and click on the IAP section to see what kind of subscription scam they're running.

Subscription apps should have their own section.
 

1284814

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2021
42
58
This is why I hate spending money on non reputable companies, or at least compagnies that needs outrage to treat customers as actual people.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MacRealist91

BootsWalking

macrumors 68000
Feb 1, 2014
1,615
9,681
This topic keeps coming up.

Consumers hate subscriptions... but developers love money.

So should developers start selling $30 apps? Is that the answer?

I'm not sure that will work.

Neither does selling an app for $4 and supporting it for the rest of your life.

It's a quandary... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The answer is simple, offer two licensing options: a perpetual license for $30 and a subscription for whatever$/year.
 

Mockletoy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2017
598
1,819
Gothenburg, Sweden
What an absolutely idiotic and tone deaf self-own.

All they managed to do with this whole sad mess was to take whatever bad blood they were already going to engender by moving to a subscription model and crank it up to 11.

It was such an obviously stupid and unethical move in the first place I have to wonder about the integrity and intelligence of the folks running the company that it ever got past the, "Hey, what if we..." stage in some planning meeting.
 

Mockletoy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2017
598
1,819
Gothenburg, Sweden
This is why I hate spending money on non reputable companies, or at least compagnies that needs outrage to treat customers as actual people.
For real. I mean, what was even the thought process?

"We aren't getting enough new customers."

"I've got it! We'll steal back what we already sold our existing customers, and charge them for it again!"

"Brilliant!"

Not a company I want to do business with (and, yes, I own Notability).
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.