In-app purchasing via mobile applications is receiving some unwanted attention, with disgruntled parents increasingly accusing the iPhone maker of doing too little to protect kids from falling prey of greedy developers who pressure them into buying items and in turn wracking up bills for unsuspecting parents.
The UK government, for example, is conducting a probe into iOS in-app game purchases and Apple previously settled a class action lawsuit over the controversial feature. Of course, iOS 6 has decent parental controls which let users disable in-app purchasing altogether.
While adding a warning for in-app purchases in freemium apps and moving age ratings atop App Store pages helped clear up any confusion as to the nature of in-app purchasing, Apple though it could do better and on Thursday launched a new App Store feature titled ‘Learn More About In-App Purchases’…
AppAdvice, which first spotted the new section, says it was only accessible via the iPad App Store at press time. The page can be opened by tapping the first swipeable card right below the What’s Hot section in the Featured page of the App Store.
Apple in no ambiguous terms educates us on the finer points of in-app purchases:
On devices running iOS 4.3 or later, you must enter your password to make an In-App Purchase. Once you enter your password to make that purchase, additional In-App Purchases can be made without reentering your password for 15 minutes.
To change your settings to require a password entry with every purchase, open Settings, tap General, then tap Restrictions, and change Require Password.
The company also explains how parents can restrict in-app purchasing.
Under a section dedicated to parents, Apple writes:
It’s easy to restrict your child’s ability to make In-App Purchases on an iOS device. Just open Settings, tap General, then tap Restrictions. Tap Enable Restrictions to find various parental control options, including the ability to turn off In-App Purchases.
IGN highlights the dangers of in-app purchases in a video below.
This new App Store feature could be part of Apple’s settlement for a 2011 class action lawsuit over in-app purchases, AppAdvice speculates, but we of course don’t know whether or not that’s the case.
Be that as it may, expect this section to surface on the App Store for iPhone and in desktop iTunes shortly.