Apple adds ‘in-app purchase’ warning to freemium apps

By , Mar 22, 2013

in app purchase warning

Apple today has added a new ‘Offers In-App Purchases’ warning in the description of App Store apps that utilize the feature. The new disclosure can be seen in the App Store, located just beneath the Buy/Free button of pertinent applications.

The move comes amidst multiple reports of children running up monster iTunes bills, unbeknownst to their parents, via in-app purchases. Earlier this month, a young boy from the UK racked up $1,300 in charges buying virtual donuts

The Guardian reports:

“Apple has made a small but significant change to iOS app listings on its App Store, adding a prominent “Offers In-App Purchases” line for freemium apps on its store. The new tagline is currently only appearing in the desktop version of the App Store that sits within iTunes. For now, it’s not shown in the iOS App Store app, nor does it appear on webpages for iOS apps.

Apple confirmed to The Guardian that the message is a new addition to the App Store. Its location – directly below the icon and “Free” button on each app’s page – makes it even easier for people to identify that an app uses in-app purchases (IAP) before downloading it.”

The report points out that, as metadata for iOS apps, the new disclosure could be used in a future settings change that enables users (parents, in particular) to easily filter out applications that use in-app purchases when browsing the App Store.

Apple has run into a number of problems with its IAP feature since launching it in late 2009. Even after adding a safeguard in iOS 4.3, it’s hard to refund several $1000-$2000 iTunes bills, and it was recently forced to settle a class action lawsuit.

I’ve always found it odd that Apple can be held so accountable for children making in-app purchases. I mean, there’s ways for parents to prevent this from happening. Besides, if your child gets sick from eating too many Oreos, could you sue Nabisco?

What do you think about all of this?

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  • http://twitter.com/Mallouk_ Mallouk Malek

    WELL, they can disable IAP, or just watch their children! why did non of my or sister’s children never made us pay a dime? while others pay 1300 ? well we always want to blame someone else, and these ppl find it easier to blame apple than teaching their children what to do!

    • sambuzzlight

      can’t help when now some of childrens parents are under 18

      • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

        Always had that. Only difference is they seem to do so more frequently. It could be either proportional to the population growth rate or if more then obviously culture. What’s going on with people?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dante.arellano1 Dante Arellano

    Some fuck times kids but the questions is how they have access to a credit card or sources how a 8 or 9 years old kid has an iphone 5 really a kid needs something like that??

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001809600195 Nada Tosnas

      Apart from double question marks, there are other punctuation marks like the ‘comma’ and ‘period’, that go a long way to make it easier for people to understand what you say.

      • http://twitter.com/Relaxbruh Khassim ★ FVCK SWVG

        It’s not that serious

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001809600195 Nada Tosnas

        Yes, you’re right, it’s only education. Not serious at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513117907 Bennett Newsome

    This is the worst thing that happened to games. Great business model, but horrible ethics. This is why EA for the 2nd year has won The Consumerist’s Worst Company in America award.

    • Falk M.

      They have? Damn well deserved.

      They are any serious gamer’s nightmare.

      Too bad they still are that successful because people love getting screwed with or just don’t care.
      Such a shame.

  • Schalkb

    Typo… “It’s had to refund”
    Think it should be hard :)

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      Fixed. Thank you

      • deepdvd

        He’s wrong. You had it right the first time. Except to be clearer you could have said “they have had to refund” instead of “it has had to refund”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000606372701 David Canfield

    there is somthing called not putting the cred card info on the account thats just asking for troble

  • http://twitter.com/macada95 Mac Ada

    “Theo is only just eight and has no real concept of the monetary value attached.”
    I dont mean to offend anyone, but having a 8 years old child uninformed and not taught a sh*t about finances, money is at least stupid in a first place.. I know It’s not the case but we can go even farer: Why did Theo need to buy 1300$ of donuts? Lots of kids now a day aren’t taught about being modest or controlling their desire..
    I’m not an expert of parenting and the parents probably have much higher degree of it than me, but If they think it’s ok to leave their child uninformed, then why do they make problem about it

    • Devam

      How could he know that the donuts are not free?

  • Joe Bobbins

    1,300$ app purchases!
    That’s quite funny.

    • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

      What really trips me is how can you rack up $1700 in virtual donuts? That’s gotta be hecka lot of donuts.

      • Joe Bobbins

        Yeah.

  • http://profiles.google.com/limyongbin Wilfred Lim

    If you are not smart enough to get on with features available in “smart device”, don’t use them.

  • Blah

    Isn’t it that before you can buy any IAP, you must enter your password and press ok?

    • http://www.facebook.com/L.Tempris Leviscus Tempris

      Not unless you allow it. Go digging into settings app. You’ll find it in privacy or general. Sure enough you can have it not password protected and it isn’t password protected by default. :/ I think this is what apple wants. The opportunity for many kids to rack up 59$ or less isn’t an issue. Once it exceeds 1000 then it’s a problem. To apple this is worth having to settle cases for those kids who buy 1000$ + of virtual donuts and still earn 100000$+ of off the smalle

  • Falk M.

    I’m all for making freemiun stuff look less appealing and such.
    Some of the apps that use IAP just need to die, why don’t we start with a prime example of anti-consumerism: Real Racing 3

  • wi77iam

    I don’t really get the “problem” here.
    Why do those kids have access to an iTunes account with credit card access anyway?
    You buy your children an iPhone and then make their own account without credit card info. If they want to buy paid content – they would have to buy an iTunes gift card.
    If they use it up, go earn/save some money and load it up again.
    But at least it shouldn’t be possible for them to rack up bills over thousands of dollars.
    I guess that would be called parenting or common sense.

  • http://www.halosystechnologies.com/iphone-application-development Alina Clark

    I guess for me in-app purchases are alright just so long as the game is
    still reasonably playable without them (i.e., grinding high levels
    shouldn’t take hours compared if you bought an item which will get you a
    level within 5 minutes). But given the choice, yeah, I agree with you
    that it’s better to just pay for the whole game upfront rather than
    freemium models.