Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

TikTok pulls a 'Fortnite' and is trying to dodge in-app purchase fees

TikTok's external links may violate App Store guidelines

TikTok may be trying to follow in Epic's "Fortnite" footsteps by sneaking in external payment links that violate App Store guidelines.

Apple has very strict App Store guidelines surrounding what is and isn't allowed for in-app purchase systems and external linking. The rules previously had an anti-steering clause that was removed thanks to regulators, but TikTok seems to be pushing its luck.

According to a report from TechCrunch, some TikTok users are being presented with external links that suggest users will save 25% by buying coins on While at first glance, this appears to be TikTok taking advantage of the new external linking entitlement, details suggest not.

The link appears in one of two places, in a pop-up or the in-app purchase flow. The first location isn't allowed via Apple's guidelines, but the second is.

However, taking either route opens a direct link to the coins purchase page on TikTok's website without an interstitial warning to the user. This suggests that TikTok has added the links without Apple's entitlement feature, which requires the warning.

Also, even if users can go to an external website, TikTok would still owe the commission minus the 3% processing fee, so 12% or 27%. So, TikTok couldn't offer users a 25% discount via the entitlement either.

The option only seems to appear for users that buy large amounts of coins, more than the 3,000 upper limit on iOS. Everyone else still sees the standard in-app purchase flow.

TikTok hiding the option from all but high-paying users may be what has allowed the feature to escape notice. Such features are not allowed and could result in a temporary App Store update freeze from Apple until TikTok removes the feature.

Failure to comply with Apple's guidelines will result in a ban from the App Store, just like with Fortnite when Epic blatantly violated the rules. The situation with TikTok likely won't reach that level, but only time will tell.

Apple will undoubtedly face blowback from its user base if TikTok is prematurely banned from the App Store. Either way, the app may face a ban in the United States due to legislation requiring it to divest or leave US markets.