There are an increasing number of stories hitting the news where a child has run up a large bill on the App Store without their parents’ knowledge. A couple of weeks ago I read this story about 6 year old twins racking up a £1,000 bill. Scary stuff. I see a lot of parents not knowing what they can do to prevent this, where in actual fact it’s really easy to add parental controls to your iOS device that will disable in-app purchases, which are the usual cause of these surprising bills. Kids just find it too tempting to keep buying virtual items for their latest favourite game, and have no concept of the money it is costing. So today I am bringing you my step by step guide to switching off in-app purchases on your iOS device and keeping your kids out of trouble…
Open up the “Settings” app on your iOS device
Now you change any of the settings to prevent your kids doing things they should on your device. I strongly recommend you switch off in-app purchases by sliding the slider next to it so that it is no longer green (as shown)
I also strongly recommend that you change the password settings as well. By default this is set as shown to 15 minutes, which means once you’ve entered your iTunes password (for example to buy an app) the device will remember your password for 15 minutes and not prompt you to enter it again in that time. Which means if you enter your password to download an app for your child, and then hand the device to your child for them to play, they have a time window when they could buy stuff from the App Store without your permission. To change this option, tap on it…
And that’s it – you’re done! Changing these two settings will dramtically decrease your risk of the kids running up an unexpected bill for you. And you don’t have to worry about them removing the restrictions without your permission, because once set up, you will be prompted to enter your restrictions passcode before you can change any of those settings.
In the video below I demonstrate how to set these settings up:
One final plea – parents please don’t give your kids your iTunes password – it’s like giving them your credit card. Make sure you do all the app-buying, and with young kids particularly be wary of letting them have access to any app with in-app purchases. Apple make it clear before you buy or download an app whether it has in-app purchases – look out for this on the app information screen in the App Store:
So there you go – hopefully I’ve given you everything you need to know to avoid your kids running up excessive bills for you. What are you waiting for? Set up your restrictions today!