In October 2015, Apple began rolling out support for carrier billing on iTunes in select markets, starting with Germany. This feature joins the existing payment methods accepted on the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store and permits customers to have apps and media bought through these content stores charged to their monthly mobile phone bill or deducted from their prepaid amount.
If your carrier supports it, you too can opt-in to pay for your iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store purchases—and your Apple Music membership—through mobile phone billing.
In this tutorial, we’re going to cover setting up mobile phone billing as your payment method in the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store.
How to set up carrier billing on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
Step 1: Launch iTunes Store or App Store on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
Step 2: Tap the Featured button in the toolbar alongside the bottom and scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
Step 3: Now tap your Apple ID. If you’re logged out, tap on the Log In option and provide your Apple ID credentials to continue.
Step 4: Tap the View Apple ID option and provide the password, if needed.
Step 5: Now tap on Payment Information.
Step 6: Under the list of payment options, select one that reads Mobile Phone. If you don’t see this option, carrier billing is currently unavailable in your region.
Step 7: You can now choose to use the existing phone number or another one as your payment method:
- Use This Mobile Number—Select this to use your iPhone’s mobile number. If you’re on iOS 8.4 or higher, Apple will automatically check the mobile number of the iPhone you’re using with your carrier to determine if you’re eligible for carrier billing.
- Use a Different Mobile Number—Enter another mobile phone number that you want to be billed to and confirm it with a one-time code sent via an SMS message. Tap Verify to verify the code.
Step 8: Now tap Next to finish setting up carrier billing.
How to set up carrier billing on your Mac
Step 1: Launch iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.
Step 2: Click your account name and select Account Info from the contextual menu.
If you aren’t signed in, click the Sign In option to the left of the iTunes search filed at the top and enter your Apple ID credentials.
Step 3: Enter your Apple ID password.
Step 4: On your Account Information page, click Edit to the right of payment type.
Step 5: Now select Mobile Phone. If you don’t see this option, carrier billing is currently unavailable in your region.
Step 6: Enter the mobile number of the phone connected to the carrier plan that you want to be billed to, then click Send Code.
Step 7: You shall receive a one-time verification code as an SMS message sent to the provided mobile phone number. Entire it to continue setting up your payment method, or choose Resend Code if you haven’t received the message.
Step 8: Now click Verify to complete the process.
Carrier billing FAQ
Where is mobile phone billing available
As of November 2015, mobile phone billing was available only in Germany.
What can I purchase with mobile phone billing enabled
If you enable mobile phone billing, you can buy anything on the iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store as you normally would, including iPhone and iPad applications and games, music, television shows, electronic books.
What happens after I enable carrier billing?
When you verify your phone number for carrier billing and get a confirmation message that the new payment method is now active, any app or media purchases made on the iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store, along with Apple Music subscriptions, will be charged and debited from your prepaid amount.
If your mobile number is connected to a postpaid wireless service, any app or media purchases made on Apple’s content stores will be charged directly to your phone bill.
Can mobile phone billing be used for In-App Purchases?
Yes, virtual items and subscriptions bought through the In-App Purchase mechanism will be charged to your mobile phone number.
Can I subscribe to Apple Music with mobile phone billing?
Yes, you can pay for your Apple Music membership through mobile phone billing.
Which payment methods can I use in iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store?
Supported payment methods vary by country and typically include credit and debit cards, promo codes, store credit in the form of iTunes Store Gift Cards, Gift Certificates and Allowances, the ClickandBuy service, PayPal (requires the account to be linked to a credit card), China UnionPay (requires SMS PIN for setup), Bank Cards (China only) and, as of lately, mobile phone billing through supported carriers.
In countries where Apple only sells apps, the accepted payment methods are limited to credit or debit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Detailed payment options for Apple’s content store are listed in Apple’s support document here.
Can I set up Family Sharing with mobile phone billing?
Yes. Family Sharing requires that the family organizer has set up their Apple ID with the credit or debit card, China UnionPay or mobile phone billing. Keep in mind that only the family organizer can update the payment information for others.
Creating an account for a child under 13 in Family Sharing requires using credit cards, China UnionPay or a postpaid mobile phone billing account.
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Screenshot top of post courtesy of blogger Carsten Knobloch.