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Avoid that surprise big bill! Here’s how to turn off in-app purchases on your iOS device

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If you downloaded an app recently, chances are it contained in-app purchases, especially if it was a game. What was once a rarity has turned into the norm, and apps are now full of opportunities to buy virtual goods that essentially don’t exist outside the game. From gems and extra lives to costumes and ammunition, if there’s a way to charge money for it, a developer has done so.

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While most adults can (sometimes) resist the temptation, there are kids that can’t, and with your credit card now an integral part of iOS thanks to the wonder of Apple Pay, it’s all too easy for someone to spend money just to get a little further in a game. A great deal of money, actually. There are stories of totals in the tens of thousands of dollars being racked up. No-one wants that. Not even to unlock something new on Simpsons: Tapped Out. Luckily, there’s a way to curb in-app purchases entirely.

How to turn off in-app purchases on an iOS device:

  • Locate and tap Settings while viewing the Home screen.
  • Tap General inside the main Settings menu.
  • Scroll down and tap Restrictions.
  • Tap the Enable Restrictions button.
  • Enter your desired passcode when prompted.

The previously unavailable options should now be active, and restrictions in place throughout your phone. Now, scroll down to find the one related to in-app purchases, which should be switched on. Turn off any other restrictions, such as those pertaining to installing or deleting apps, that may not be relevant. From now on, whoever is using the device will be required to input a passcode in order to make any in-app purchases. That should keep your wallet safe, and your bank manager heart attack-free.

This article was originally published in December 2011, and updated on January 29, 2016, by Andy Boxall.