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.
Don’t miss out on more of these helpful features and check out our picks for the top iOS tips and tricks.
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.
From now on, you — or anyone else — won’t be able to make in-app purchases on your iPhone. That said, instead of switching in-app purchases to Don’t Allow, you can instead pick Always Require, under the Require Password subheading. So instead of disabling in-app purchases completely, this option simply requires you 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.
You can also thwart additional purchases within apps by going to the iOS Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps. When you get into Allowed Apps, you need to turn off the iTunes Store. By doing so, you restrict the iTunes Store from your iPad or iPhone. Turning off any additional apps that could prompt a user for purchases can also get switched off, such as Books.
Parents or guardians can also utilize the Ask to Buy feature, which prevents children from purchasing within apps without consent. To use the Ask to Buy function, you need to 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 guardian will get a notification. The parent 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.