How To Restrict In-App Purchases On Your Mobile Devices: iOS, Google Play, and Amazon

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Over the past year, in-app purchases have made their way into the mobile gaming world in overwhelming fashion. “Freemium” games are the new normal, and nearly every game in the AppStore has some sort of IAP. Angry Birds is no exception, as Power Ups are now included in all 5 editions of the franchise.

We aren’t saying it’s necessarily a bad thing. For those who want to use Power Ups, all the power to them (pardon the pun). For those who don’t, score differentiation is all that’s needed, and Rovio has done a good job of rolling that out into a few of the titles.

But parents, how do you avoid your little ones from jacking up your credit card bill by purchasing 10,000 Super Seeds? That’s exactly what we’re gonna teach you today!

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

On an iOS device, when you try to make an in-app purchase, you should be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password, but if you recently entered your password, you won’t be prompted again for quite some time. And perhaps your child already knows your password — which is a dangerous thing to begin with.

Well, you can do even more to protect yourself. Go to your iOS Settings > General > Restrictions. If you have not yet enabled restrictions, doing so will prompt you for a 4-digit passcode. (Tip: Don’t pick a 4-digit code that your child will already know, such as your home’s alarm code, a birthday, or “1234”.)

Once enabled, look for “In-App Purchases” under Allowed Content. Make sure that one is on, and you can set the “Require Password” timer to whatever you’d like. Now, whenever Junior tries to buy $20 worth of Power Ups, he’ll be stymied by your passcode! Mwahahaha!

Android via Google Play

Go to Google Play Store App. Choose Menu > Settings > Set or Change PIN. Enter and confirm your PIN, then check the box for “Use PIN for purchases”.

Android via Amazon Appstore

Go to the Amazon Appstore App. Choose Menu > Settings > Parental Controls > Enable Parental Controls. Enter your password for If you don’t want to use your Amazon password, check the box “Use PIN“, then enter and confirm your PIN.

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Comments (10)

Rank: Sling God with 28590 points
By MVNLA2 (@mvnla2)

Thanks! I’m sure lots of people will follow this.

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By Chris (@chriss)

What is a home’s alarm code?

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By PJng (@pjng)

Some people will put alarm system, they will need key alarm code once open door, if not will trigger alarm.

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By wrw01 (@wrw01)

Very informative. Did not know about the additional security. Thanks for posting. In the future maybe more of this type of info can be occasional posted to assist members. Useful, practical and applicable.

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By Chicadee (@chicadee)

Thanks Slim,(@amslimfordy) this is good to know. When I first bought my iPad, one of my credit card’s details was entered but I’ve since (hopefully permanently) deleted the CR card’s info. and I now only use an iTunes Gift card on the iPad. This was done for security reasons in case the iPad was stolen or unauthorised access was attained. I suppose some people want/need their CR card access on their phones in particular for instant top ups but when it comes to kids, I highly recommend the gift card system.

Btw, could you tell me please (if you know), if my “deleted CR card” info. is permanent? i.e. when my gift card runs out, the iPad won’t automatically revert back to the CR card? I probably should phone the Apple store re this but just wondered if you know. Thanks

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By AMslimfordy (@amslimfordy)

I have no idea, sorry @chicadee

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By Bad Piggy (@danimario9)

I believe after the gift card’s credit is completely depleted, the payment method will automatically switch from gift card to credit card.

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By 78RPM (@78rpm)

Ummm, nobody tell my wife about this ok?

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By MVNLA2 (@mvnla2)

Where is the “require password” timer on iPad? Or is this yet another reason I need to upgrade my operating system?

Rank: Sling God with 32120 points
By AMslimfordy (@amslimfordy)

@mvnla2 It should be directly under the IAP “toggle switch” in Settings > General > Restrictions.

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