How to turn off in-app purchases

By , Feb 28, 2013

In-app game purchase

A few days ago, Apple agreed to settle a two year-old lawsuit with a group of parents over unauthorized in-app purchases made by their kids. The parents claimed that their kids had completed in-app purchases without their knowledge because of an oversight in the way in-app purchases actually work.

Of course, all this could have been prevented if parents had restricted the usage of in-app purchases in the first place, but admittedly, not everyone knows you can make in-app purchases, and more importantly, I don’t think everyone (especially parents) knows that you can turn off in-app purchases in iOS…

If you have a kid that uses your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and if you don’t want to get a bad surprise, it might be a good idea to turn in-app purchases Off. This is how to do it:

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Restrictions, and tap “Enable Restrictions.”

Step 2: You will be required to set a 4 digit passcode. Confirm your passcode by typing it in a second time.

Step 3: Scroll down to the “Allowed Content” section and turn in-app purchases Off.

iOS Restrictions allowed content

Step 4 (optional): You may set the “Require Password” option to “Immediately”. This will make sure that you are required to enter your passcode every time you buy something from iTunes or the App Store. Obviously, this wouldn’t help if your kid knows your password.

From now on, no one will be able to make in-app purchases on your device, including you. That means that if you want to make an in-app purchase, you will have to go back to the Settings and turn in-app purchases On again.

Trying to make an in-app purchase will now result in giving you the following error.

in-app purchase fail

Fortunately, my daughter is still too young to figure out how to download stuff in the App Store, but it’s only a matter of time. I’ll definitely make sure to turn off in-app purchases to prevent any “accidental” download.

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  • Aburnett

    this needed a how to?

    • Morgaan Babcock

      Pretty sure if you read more than the title, you’d be able to answer your own question.

      • Aburnett

        Pretty sure I did :) And yet, my question remains…

      • Arthur Ribeiro

        Yes it needs a how too, there are a lot of “hidden” features on the iOS, you know this one this time, but probably don’t know all of them, so please stop being so egocentric, it’s really ridiculous to think you are(or act as) a apple “genious” just because you know something that doesn’t make THAT difference for most of users, except for the ones that have kids.

      • Leslie Kwan

        “but admittedly, not everyone knows you can make in-app purchases, and more importantly, I don’t think everyone (especially parents) knows that you can turn off in-app purchases in iOS” – Straight from the article you supposedly read.

        Use your brain.

    • Sebastien

      Remember that it’s not because you know how to do something on your iPhone that everyone knows how to do it too :)

      • Nino 0raham

        Merci for this Sebastien never even thought this was there now i can say to my 4 year old that they don’t allow in App purchases any more

      • Sebastien

        You’re welcome :)

  • AFan

    Does this work on Jelly Bean?

    • Chris Wagers

      Jelly who?? Jelly what???

      • harry bimasakti

        Maybe he’s talking abt Jelly Defense or Jelly Invaders

    • Ryan James Christensen

      This is about iOS. Not Android OS

    • AFan

      I thought it be funny to post and see who got it first

  • smtp25

    Crap error message though eh? Shouldn’t it say Restriction in place? Rather than an error occurred, it was no error it was purposeful restriction. That way when someone encounters it after forgetting that they had disabled it (or someone else did) they’ll know why

    • Sebastien

      I agree but after thinking about it, I’m thinking they did this on purpose so kids can’t find out in-app purchases were restricted. I could be wrong though

      • Niclas

        You would still need the password to change the setting…

      • Alex Janko

        it actually is the app returning the error…it is the same thing that happens when you dont have a connection

  • Matu

    But You can download the localiapstore tweak and have free in app purchaces!

    • Alex Janko

      no piracy here….

    • Omar Yasser

      Watch your spelling you man

  • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

    Or get iAP Cracker, buy everything so there are no more in-app popups.

    • Alex Janko

      iAp no work in iOS 6…plus we dont talk about piracy here

      • Omar Yasser

        Yeah but LocalIAPStore do :D

      • Header

        You will not be charged on internet bill?

  • B. Braun

    Buying new Levels in Games are OK but I will never puchase super powers in Apps. I think buying super powers is undermining Game Center Rankings and make them obsolete

  • Mike Paterson

    For games that don’t rely on wifi wouldn’t simply turning off wifi let the little one’s use your device not work?

    • Alex Janko

      this is more for when you get an iPad and then your kid is allowed to just play it wheneveer

  • Alex Janko

    is it bad i recognize the Glasklart theme?

    • Alex Janko

      but only on the last picture…

  • paseri

    If a password goes though I tried it, I can purchase it

  • Kay Dee

    The problem is that restrictions are not flexible enough. For example disabling in-app purchases makes Newsstand apps useless as well. It’s damn annoying to enable in-app purchases every morning to download newspapers and disable in-app purchases again after that. Per app disable would be much more useful. Idea for jailbreak tweak ;)!

  • Omar Yasser

    Respectively, this is very very old :)

  • Header

    Id like to download iap cracked but im afraid if i buy something i might be charge on my internet bill. Am i be charged?

  • Jill Hagler

    I did this & it works great. However, now I need it back on & I can’t remember the passcode. Will I have to restore the iPod? If so, how can I save everything (pictures, contacts, etc) first? Thanks!