Your favorite free iPhone Reddit app might be about to disappear - here's why
Reddit wants its pound of flesh.
Reddit is getting ready to make changes to its API which could also impact third-party app developers. And if it affects developers, it could well affect you as well.
It's a fact of life that the best Reddit apps aren't actually made by Reddit itself and they all use the company's API to access its data. It's historically made that data available free of charge, but that's about to change. One app developer has spoken to Reddit about what that will actually mean and detailed what he found in a thread on, you guessed it, Reddit.
The gist? The API changes might not be that bad on the whole, but they could spell the end of free third-party Reddit apps.
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Reddit's announcement that it's going to start charging for API access saw Apollo developer Christian Selig reach out to the company to get some clarification.
According to Selig, Reddit doesn't want to turn its API into a big source of income but rather just wants to be able to cover the cost of keeping it running as well as the loss of ad revenue. Thankfully, Selig believes that Reddit wants “to be reasonable with pricing, not prohibitively expensive.”
However, that doesn't mean that it'll be free anymore, and as a result, apps are unlikely to be free as well. Apollo is a free download with subscriptions unlocking additional features. Selig suggests that Apollo will have to change that business model to requiring an Apollo Ultra subscription in order to actually use it.
"Free usage of the API for apps like Apollo is not something they will offer," he said in a thread on Reddit. "Apps will either need to offer an ad-supported tier (if the API rates are reasonable enough), and/or a subscription tier like Apollo Ultra."
Reddit users and app developers will no doubt be well aware of the last time we saw this kind of API wrinkle. Some Twitter users preferred third-party clients, but the social network removed access to its free API and effectively killed those clients in the process. Now, even buying the best iPhone money can buy isn't enough to mean you won't have to deal with the Twitter app and all of its foibles.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.