There have been many stores recently about parents getting shocking bills for In-App purchases made by their kids. In one of the cases, Apple had to settle with parents over In-App purchases that they claimed were not authorized. Back when I was a kid, or when my own kid was growing up, if you wanted to get your kid out of your hair you put them in front of the TV, now the norm seems to be hand your kid your tablet or smart phone when you want them out of your hair, and this seems to go to even the youngest of kids.
This post is not intended to argue the “what age is to young” discussion, this post is intended to assist those people (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.) who choose to give a kids their tablet or smart phone. If you choose to hand someone else your device, you are responsible for anything they do. One of the first things you should do is add a password requirement to any app store purchases, that way someone else can’t purchase anything on your device (remember that you can purchase apps, music, movies, and books from the each App Store)
Here are the steps to add or make sure a password is required before any purchase for the 3 major app stores (Google Play, Apple iTunes, Windows Phone App)
Google Play Store
To add (or check if password is turned on)
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Select the menu button, Its usually on the Top Left of your phone or tablet (Will look similar to the example below)
- Select the settings choice in the menu list
- On the settings page, look for and click on the “Require authentication for purchases”
This will give you the choice to require password for all purchases, require password every 30 min or never ask for a password. If you want to be most secure, just select for all purchases.
Apple App Store
You can enable Restrictions, also known as Parental Controls, on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Restrictions stop you from using specific features and applications. You can enable and adjust Restrictions, or Parental Controls, on your device to prevent access to specific features or content on the device
- Select Settings –> Then General
- Now select Restrictions and turn it on
- Next select Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode (a code that you do NOT share)
- Lastly Scroll through the list and look for In-App purchases, select if you want to have the option on or off. Once you select In-App purchase on or off, look just below that setting for the “Require Password” setting, where you can choose immediate (which means you would need to enter the password for every purchase) or 15 minutes (which would let you shop for 15 min without having to enter your password). If you’re handing your device off to your kids, click I would recommend setting this to immediately.
To make changes or disable controls, go back in using your selected PIN.
Windows App Store
The Windows Store asks for your password every time you buy something. To simplify purchasing and skip the password step:
- Go to the Store app, and select your sign-in picture next to the search box.
- Go to Settings > Purchase sign-in > Streamline my purchase experience.
- If its off = You will get prompted for your password each time.
- If its On= You will be able to purchase with the need of your account password.
- Your other devices will not be affected until you change the setting on each device.
- This setting applies to in-app purchases too.
Sure, it’s a slight inconvenience to have to enter a password or pin every time you want to purchase something. But it’s certainly not as annoying as unknowingly spending big $$$$$ just because your child or a younger sibling wanted to download a bunch of games, while you thought they were just playing Angry Birds.