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How to manage your kids' app purchases

Restrict iOS purchases or assign an allowance

Apple's App Store makes it quick and easy to buy and download new software for your iOS device. But for the parents of iPhone-, iPad- or iPod touch-toting kids, that process might be a little bit too easy.

Stories of kids racking up outrageous charges on their parents' credit cards have grabbed headlines lately, and while Apple has responded to concerns from parents and politicians about the ease of accidental purchases, some of the burden still falls on you to secure an iOS device before handing it off to your child.

If your iPad or iPhone winds up in your kids' hands on occasion, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid unwanted purchases. First, choose a strong password. If your password is something your child can easily guess, then any other steps you might take will be of limited effectiveness. In addition, remember that there's a 15-minute window after you make a purchase from the App Store or iTunes Store during which your password doesn't need to be re-entered (and a similar 15-minute window for in-app purchases). Be careful when you give your child your device.

As for parents with kids who have iOS devices of their own, there are a couple of options. One alternative is to set it up so your child can't purchase anything from the App Store or iTunes Store. If you favour a somewhat more independent approach, you can also choose to manage your child's purchases by setting up a monthly allowance.

We'll walk you through both of those processes below.

NEXT PAGE: Disable purchases altogether

  1. Restrict all purchases or assign an allowance
  2. Disable purchases altogether
  3. Set up an iTunes allowance

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