How to Do & Restrict In-App Purchases in iOS?

If you have an iOS device viz. iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, then let’s check out in this post how to do as well as restrict In-App purchases on your iDevice?

What is In-App Purchase?

In-app purchase allows you to buy an item, a subscription or a recurring service within an iOS application (which can be either free or paid). Some examples of in-app purchase are Pay to unlock a full game, subscription of your favourite magazine, map or GPS map of your current city or state etc.

How to do In-App Purchase?

Suppose you’d like to unlock full game of FIFA 2014 by EA sports, so that you can play (and enjoy) manager mode, tournament and kick off in it:

unlock all

For this you are required to pay $4.99 or 270 INR as in-app purchase. For making the purchase, tap on Unlock All and iTunes will ask you to enter your current Apple ID’s password:

apple id password

Enter the password and iTunes will again ask you to confirm your purchase:

confirm in app purchase

If you are sure, then tap on Buy else tap on Cancel. If you tap on cancel, then you will return to the previous screen. And, if you tap on Buy, then $4.99 OR 270 INR will be charged from your credit card and you will get following message about your successful purchase:

purchase successful

You may also receive a receipt from iTunes in your email address that you are currently using as your Apple ID:

in app purchase receipt

Similarly, I can purchase a highly detailed three-dimensional model of Curiosity Rover inside the amazing Solar Walk app for $0.99 or 55 INR:

solar walk

curiosity rover solar walk

How to Restrict In-App Purchases?

Whenever you try to make an in-app purchase, iTunes will ask you for your password. But it only do so once every 15 minutes!

If someone (especially children) manages to know/guess your account password, then they will be able to make lots of in-app purchases within those 15 minutes! The best way to prevent unnecessary purchases is by enabling Passcode restriction. For this go to Settings and tap on Restrictions under General:

restrictions ios

Now tap on Enable Restrictions and iOS will ask you to enter your 4 digit Passcode twice:

enable restrictions

set passcode ios

Note: Make sure that your restriction’s passcode is different than your device’s 4 digit unlock code.

Now turn off the slider in front of In-App Purchases:

disable in app purchases

After this if anyone tries to purchase anything from within any application, he will see In-app purchases are not allowed error:

purchase not allowed

Important notes:

  • Once the passcode has been set, you are required to enter it every time you or someone tries to enter restrictions.
  • You may also want to impose restrictions on installing and deleting applications.
  • You should also set Immediately for Require Password under Allowed Content. The default value is 15 minutes.