In a sudden move, popular iOS email app Airmail has switched from a standard one-time purchase to a subscription-based pricing model, and in doing that, it has also cut off users who had previously purchased the app from key services like notifications or multiple account support.
Previously, Airmail was available as a $4.99 one-time purchase in the App Store with a full set of features but now, it costs $2.99 per month or $9.99 for a year for notifications and multiple account support.
As a result, a growing number of Airmail users has taken to social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter to voice their anger and frustration, especially since Airmail did not warn them of the change. One user even pointed out that the move might be in violation of Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines:
3.1.2(a) Permissible uses:
If you are changing your existing app to a subscription-based business model, you should not take away the primary functionality existing users have already paid for. For example, let customers who have already purchased a “full game unlock” continue to access the full game after you introduce a subscription model for new customers.
Meanwhile, Airmail has issued the following statement to MacRumors:
Airmail for iOS is now free and new users can use the app with a single account and no push notifications.
Customers who purchased the app can still have access to multiple accounts but not push notifications which, is a side service of the app and is not preventing the use of the app’s core functionality.
We do understand users frustration, the decision was made to keep the business sustainable as we face increasing backend service expenses.
Customers who purchased the app in the last 4 months will be granted a grace period of premium subscription up to 4 months (depending on the purchase date).
If you are an existing Airmail user, will you be looking for another email client or simply opt for the app’s new subscription model?