FAQ - Updates to our API License and Terms of Use and Partner Program Agreement

On December 2nd, 2020, Shopify sent an email to give notice of new updates that are coming to the API License and Terms of Use ("API Terms") and our Partner Program Agreement ("PPA"). These changes impact Shopify Partners, developers, and merchants who create apps or otherwise interact with Shopify APIs.

These updated terms will come into effect on January 1st, 2021.

Below are some frequently asked questions related to these changes, and how they affect merchants and developers.

Why is Shopify introducing new PPA and API Terms?

We're updating our API License and Terms of Use and our Partner Program Agreement to clarify how apps should be built and distributed on our platform to ensure security of our merchants and their data, and to protect the integrity of the Shopify platform.

Will the custom or private apps on my store stop working on January 1st, 2021?

No. However, it’s important that merchants only let developers that they know and trust provide custom and private apps for their stores, and that merchants are aware of what data these developers will have access to. Learn more about custom and private apps.

I’m a Shopify Plus merchant with multiple stores and use custom apps and/or private apps on those stores. Can I continue to use the same custom and private apps across all my stores?

Yes. You’re able to use a private or custom app across multiple stores in the same organization. Multiple shops operating under one merchant account are considered as one individual merchant organization, and this term applies to merchants at the organization level.

I have a custom app that I’d like to offer to multiple merchants. What should I do?

To make your app accessible to multiple merchants, you can submit it to the Shopify App Store. If your app is approved, it will become a public app and be made available to over one million merchants.

What if I have a private app that I am currently selling to multiple merchants?

If your app is distributed to multiple merchants, then it will be considered a public app by Shopify and subject to our public app requirements.

We understand that in some cases, converting from a private app to a public app can require a significant amount of effort. Our aim is to work with Partners to help them migrate to comply with the new terms.

What is a connector app?

Connector apps are apps that primarily function to share merchant data with a third party.

Will the connector apps I’m using stop working?

No. These apps will not stop working when the changes come into effect. Connector app Partners can work directly with the partnerships team on next steps. If you have not heard from us yet, then no further action is required at this time.

What do I do if my app is potentially considered a connector app or I am planning to build one?

If your existing app’s primary function is to share data with a third party and is impacted by the change, you will have already heard from our partnerships team on next steps. If you have not heard from us, then no further action is required at this time.

If you’re planning to launch a new connector app after January 1, 2021, then you’ll require approval from Shopify and be subject to additional policies designed to protect merchant data. You’ll be able to find more information around the application process in the new year.

How can I build a checkout app or experience in a permitted and secure way?

In order to maintain the integrity of a secure checkout experience for our merchants and customers, developers can’t bypass Shopify’s Checkout platform. However, developers are permitted to build experiences on top of checkout by using the Subscriptions API and Product Subscriptions app extension. We intend to continue investing in our checkout platform, creating more ways for developers to build experiences on top of Shopify’s Checkout.

I’m a merchant that currently uses an alternative payment method, such as cryptocurrency. Can I still accept payments this way after January 1st?

Yes. If you are using an alternative payment provider that is listed in the Payment providers page of your Shopify admin, then the provider has been approved by Shopify and you can continue to accept payments through this method.

What if any app or Partner operates in a manner that is not compliant with the new terms, following January 1st, 2021?

Partners that are found to be not in compliance with the terms are subject to being actioned by Shopify's Partner Governance team.