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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. However with a few simple steps you can disable purchases from the app store altogether or set-up a monthly allowance. We show you how.

Option 1: Disable purchases altogether

If you're a parent about to give any of your children their own iOS device, your first stop should be Settings > General > Restrictions. Not only does it allow you to disable many of the device's built-in apps and features--including Safari, FaceTime, location-based features, and more - but it also lets you choose what kind of media your child can access. (More on that below.)

Here's how to entirely disable purchases from the App Store and iTunes Store as well as in-app purchases.

Step one
Navigate to Settings > General > Restrictions. On this screen, tap Enable Restrictions at the top. You'll be prompted to enter and verify a four-digit code. Remember to pick something that your child isn't likely to guess: 1234 might be a fine combination for your luggage, but you probably want something a little harder to figure out for your iOS device. This code is separate from the one you use to unlock your phone, but keep in mind that if you choose to use the same code in both places and tell your child the unlock code, they will also be able to disable or change the restrictions as well.

Step two
Once you've enabled restrictions, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. If you're worried about your child installing applications, simply slide the Installing Apps switch to Off and the App Store will be removed entirely from the device (previously purchased apps will continue to work fine). If you also want to restrict their ability to buy media from the iTunes Store, you can also slide the iTunes switch to Off and that ability will likewise vanish.

Step three
Even if the App Store is disabled, your child may still be able to access in-app purchases from apps that you've already installed. Fortunately, it's a simple matter to disable those as well: just scroll down to the Allowed Content section and tap the switch next to In-App Purchases so it says Off. Now, when they go to the in-app purchases section of any app that offers them, no additional purchase options will be listed.

NEXT PAGE: Set up an iTunes allowance

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

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