If you downloaded an app recently, chances are it contains in-app purchases, especially if it’s a game. What was once a rarity has turned into the norm, and apps are now full of opportunities to buy virtual goods that don’t exist outside of the game. From gems and extra lives to costumes and ammunition, if there is a way to charge money for it, a developer has probably done so.
While most adults can (sometimes) resist the temptation, there are kids that can’t. 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, as it happens. There are stories of totals in the tens of thousands of dollars being racked up. No one wants that. Not even to unlock every world in Super Mario Run. Luckily, there is a way to curb in-app purchases entirely, and we’re going to show you how.
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How to turn off in-app purchases on an iOS device
Step 1: Locate and tap Settings while viewing the Home screen.
Step 2: Tap Screen Time inside the main Settings menu.
Step 3: Scroll down and tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. Next, tap the Content & Privacy Restrictions slider, so that it becomes green (i.e. so that it’s switched on).
Step 4: Tap the iTunes & App Store Purchases button.
Step 5: Tap In-app Purchases, then tap Don’t Allow.
Once this is complete, neither your nor anyone else will be able to make in-app purchases on your iPhone. If you’d rather not disable in-app purchases completely, you can instead require a password in order to make purchases. To do this, instead of switching in-app purchases to Don’t Allow, you’ll go to the Require Password subheading and select Always Require. That will keep your wallet safe from unauthorized purchases, provided you’re careful about not sharing your password with anyone.
You can also prevent unauthorized purchases within apps by going to the iOS Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps. From Allowed Apps, turn off the iTunes Store. Doing this will restrict the iTunes Store from your iPad or iPhone. You can also use this process to switch off any other apps that might prompt a user for purchases, such as Books.
The Ask to Buy feature helps parents and guardians prevent children from making in-app purchases without consent. To use the Ask to Buy function, first set up Family Sharing. One person will be in charge of approving purchases, and when your child attempts to make an in-app purchase, that person will get a notification. The parent or guardian must then sign in with their Apple ID to allow the transaction.
How to enable Ask to Buy on an iOS device
Step 1: Tap Settings while on the Home screen.
Step 2: Tap your name and select Family Sharing.
Step 3: Find your child’s name and tap it.
Step 4: Tap Ask to Buy to enable it.
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