Panic Inc.

Panic Blog

From the desk of Cabel
Portland, Oregon 97205

How “Complete My Bundle” Pricing Works

With the release of Transmit iOS and Prompt 2, we excitedly added two Panic Pack bundles to the App Store. Bundles are a great chance to reward loyal customers a little bit of a discount on our software — something that was not possible to do on the App Store previously.

Even better, customers can “Complete My Bundle” — if they’ve bought any of our apps, they can pay the difference to receive additional missing apps at a discount.

app-bundle-transmit-prompt2@2x app-bundle-complete@2x

But once our bundles hit the App Store, some curious “Complete My Bundle” questions began to roll in. Pricing seemed to be weird or inconsistent. So we did a little digging and got some good tips on Twitter.

Here’s all you need to know:

Complete My Bundle takes whatever money you’ve paid for the individual apps and applies that towards the bundle’s fixed price. So, if you buy an app on sale, or use a promo code, your Complete My Bundle price can be different than someone else’s, and in some situations it might be cheaper to buy the remaining app(s) individually.

That’s it.

It explains a mystery like this:


The user owns three of the four apps. Why would the user’s Complete My Bundle price be $10.02, if Prompt 2 alone is $9.99?

Here’s why: the user bought Transmit iOS for $9.99, Status Board for $9.99, and Diet Coda when it was briefly on SALE for $9.99. That’s a total of $29.97 worth of “credit” towards the price of the bundle. Now, the bundle’s fixed price is $39.99, based off current app prices. See where this is going? $39.99, minus $29.97 in credit, equals $10.02. Bingo. Don’t complete this bundle.

Apple has just posted a useful Knowledge Base Article covering this issue (and others) — it’s helpful information that we will likely be pointing our customers towards.

We hope this helps clear up any mysteries, and as always, we’re very happy that you’re buying our software and we deeply appreciate your support!

Posted at 10:01 am 9 Comments

Makes sense, once you know what’s happening. Still, it seems to me it wouldn’t be so hard for Apple to modify the logic to add this simple condition: if the total regular price of the remaining apps is less than the “Complete My Bundle” price, use that lower total as the “Complete My Bundle” price.

Odd thought the larger 4-product bundle never even showed up for me, but then again maybe I was a little quick on the draw in picking up Prompt 2. (Already had the three others.) However the Complete My Bundle was available for the Transmit / Prompt bundle which netted a groovy couple buck discount. Great work on these tools!

Bought the Transmit/Prompt2 bundle. Thanks Panic. May complete the bundle and get Status board if I get a discount on that because i’ve got DC already. Bundles are pretty solid. I’m looking forward to eventually them coming to the Mac App Store and eventually iPhone/iPad app bundles will become possible as well as bundles from different vendors.

This seems more borne from accounting logic (and perhaps even forced upon Apple because of accounting) than from actual, end user, usage patterns.

Let’s look at a Bundle of 4 apps, that each cost $9.99, on sale for $19.99 (50% savings). If a user purchased two of the apps, the complete my Bundle price would still be the same price (okay, down to $19.98). There is now no incentive within the Bundle. People will pass on it. Yes, they can go buy the individual apps, but people would rather opt for free delivery rather than receiving 10% off to pick up their pizza. Why? Because of framing. People love deals. That’s why big box companies create mysterious prices for obscure items right before the holidays and slash those prices down to “I’d have to be stupid to pass up this deal” door crashing savings. Artificial sales are everywhere.

Another interesting phenomenon in the case of the App Store occurs when a user has acquired a product through a promotional offering (read: free). In the case of Readdle’s 4 app bundle priced at $19.99 (a savings of $6.97), I acquired to of the apps for free. The Bundle price does not rightfully reflect those purchases because I didn’t actually pay anything for them. So the Bundle price remains the same: $19.99. However, the two remaining apps, sold separately, amount to $16.98. As in your article, the obvious advice would be to not purchase the bundle. If I really did want the apps, I could purchase them separately. But then I’m in the camp of “why should I?” Why should have to go through an extra step now? At the superficial level of user experience, I’m just put through an extra hurdle. But at the deepest level, I’m actually getting screwed. I purchased two of the apps, but they aren’t being registered by the App Store. Also, the two apps separately don’t even add up to the Bundle price listed.

If these were scribbled on a price tag somewhere, or printed out on stickers, I’d say fair enough. But this is a digital store. It’s supposed to be malleable and open to on-the-fly calculations and corrections. It’s supposed to be intelligent.

It’s pretty obvious what Apple should be doing with the Bundle prices. Even the Panic Bundle shown above. A user shouldn’t be greeted with $10.02 if they have one app remaining.

Think about the amount of work that went into these apps and how you can bring them home for just 40$. I find that amazing.

The Apple Knowledge Base article is still confusion:

What does it cost to complete a bundle?
Your Complete My Bundle price will vary depending on what you already bought from the bundle, but it won’t be more than the price you’d pay to buy each app individually.

This implies that the price should never be more than the remaining apps, when in fact it means that the overall amount that you’ve paid (including past purchases) will not be more than the sum of the current individual prices.

I did wonder why Apple doesn’t let developers set their own prices, but I came to the conclusion it’s to prevent devs from creating clever version 2 upgrade schemes (a bundle of the old app and the new app together, massive discount if you’ve already bought the old app? – am I missing something about the logic of that?)

These apps are ridiculously cheap, given their usefulness and the huge amount of work that went into creating (and updating) them

Noel Chenier

2/5/2016 10:44 AM

I’m a fellow developer with an app bundle question that I was hoping you might be able to answer.
I’ve posted a thread on the forums:
and contacted Apple, but they did not clarify or answer my question.

Basically I want to kill an iPad only version of my app, and move users over to the now Universal one.
In order to do this, I need to lower the prices to the original launch price ($2.99), as I have raised the prices since launch. Otherwise the users are expected to pay the extra they didn’t pay originally.
If I do this, what about the users who have paid the higher prices? I assume they won’t be charged for it, since the price will be less than what they paid…
But I have that difference deducted from my sales? WIll i be on the hook for the $2.50?

I hope you dont mind answering this question.
Thank you
Noel Chenier