In-App Purchases (IAP) on the iDevice is nothing new, but it was given significant news coverage earlier this month when an 8 year old unknowingly spent $1,400 in real money buying Smurfberries — used to speed up the growth of the virtual crops and village — in the popular game Smurfs’ Village. Aside from parents not being aware of the potential costs that can accompany such “free” farming-type games, the 15 minute login window that Apple has implemented has made inadvertent (or unauthorized) IAPs more rampant. What this means is that once the password has been entered on the device when an app is downloaded, iOS won’t prompt the user for another login during this time frame, be it for downloading new Apps or IAPs.
So until Apple decides to change their policy or even enforce a login for each IAP, what can you do to prevent your children or nieces/nephews from racking up the bill? We’ll show you below in a few simple steps how you can disable In-App Purchases on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Disabling In-App Purchases on iOS
1. Go into Settings on your iDevice
2. Tap General
3. Tap Restrictions
4. Tap Enable Restrictions and you’ll be prompted to create 4 digit Restrictions Passcode. Remember this code!
5. Scroll down until you see the Allowed Content section.
6. Tap on the In-App Purchase toggle to switch it to “OFF”. Now no one can make IAPs on the device, including yourself. So if you need to make IAPs at a later time for your own games/apps, simply make your way back into this menu and turn it back on.
As you can see, the Restrictions settings can come in handy when there are young children around the house. It’ll give you the option of disabling default apps like Safari or YouTube, prevent the installation/deleting of apps and even specifying which category of Rated Apps (4+, 9+, 12+ and 17+) are visible on the springboard (those apps not allowed won’t appear back on the iPhone until the settings are changed once again).