The in-App purchase nightmare and how to prevent it

I read a report on the BBC Website this weekend about an unfortunate 5 year old racking up £1500 of In-App purchases while playing with a “Free” App downloaded on his parent’s iOS Device.
The problem is that young children download these free apps with the idea that everything within it is free, free “Coins”, “Gems”, “Gold” and whatever else. In reality, however, these can easily cost you £70 or more.

This isn’t the first case of a child spending money on In-App Purchases and unfortunately it won’t be the last, however it is avoidable.

Restrictions settings on your iOS Device allow you to disable In-App Purchases, along with some other handy features, which can help protect your phone (and bank balance) when young children access your device.

To set restrictions:

Tap on “Settings”

ios settings icon


Tap on “General” and in the new menu tap “Restrictions”

ios restrictions settings


In the Restrictions settings Tap “Enable Restrictions” and you will be prompted for a 4 digit restrictions Passcode.
Note: This does not have to be the same as you main Passcode.

enable restrictions on ios

Once Enabled Scroll down to find “In-App Purchases” and toggle this to “Off”

toggle in app purchases off

This will now disable any In-App Purchases. You have many other features which you can restrict access to also.

Currently there’s no way to save these settings, so, if you disable and enable “Restrictions” later you will need to make the changes again.

2 Replies to "The in-App purchase nightmare and how to prevent it"

  • Richard

    Thanks , I have an IMAC , what about on OSX , cant find anything to disable in app purchase?


    • Daryl McCartney

      Unfortunately there currently isn’t a setting to allow you to disable in-App purchases in OS X. If this setting gets added in the future then I will make sure it is known to all through another Blog.

      Thanks for the reply.

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