Apple changes purchases policy to protect kids on iPad, iPhone games

“Apple said Thursday that it changed its policy for how purchases can be made within applications on the iPhone and iPad, an attempt to protect users, particularly children, from accidentally racking up iTunes charges,” Cecilia Kang reports for The Washington Post.

“Apple said its new device software, iOS 4.3, made available Wednesday, will come with a feature that requires a password when purchases are made within an application after it is downloaded,” Kang reports. “Parents had complained to the The Post that in the 15-minute period after an app was downloaded, children were buying sometimes hundreds of dollars of purchases on games such as Smurfs’ Village and Tap Zoo — popular iTunes games that are also among the highest-grossing programs for in-app purchases.”

Kang reports, “‘We are proud to have industry-leading parental controls with iOS,’ said Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple. She said users have always been able to use parental control setting and restrictions of in-app purchases to protect their iTunes accounts from accidental charges. ‘With iOS 4.3, in addition to a password being required to purchase an app on the App Store, a reentry of your password is now required when making an in-app purchase.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Last month we wrote, “This is a real issue and it should go without saying that parents need to discuss the ramifications with their kids or not give them their password. Still, Apple needs to do a better job of preventing kids from making such purchases.”

Good job, Apple!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Thumper” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
As kids rack up huge bills, U.S. FTC asked to investigate iOS, Android In-App purchases – February 10, 2011

17 Comments

  1. Oh yeah in case anyone’s wondering, my Apple ID is s.ballmer@microsoft.com. Feel free to plunder my App Store account. I prefer Apple’s iPod over the Zune anyhow. How lame is Microsoft points? I mean it’s not like you have to use real money to buy turd like Windows 7. Yeah, I’d torrent that shit if I were you.

  2. Since blocking in-app purchases has always been a part of the parental controls these parents should never have been bitching in the first place.

    2 words: Responsible Parenting!

    2 more words: Kudos Apple!

    1. Agreed Cubert.. I hate when parents expect others to babysit their children. The same goes for the internet. Don’t let your stupid kids dumb down the internet to the lowest common denominator… try raising them instead. (The TV set isn’t a babysitter, either.)

    2. On one hand, I agree with you… on the other hand, it’s easy for a parent to enter their password to purchase a “free” app. Parents may not realize that a free app can cost money once inside the app.

      I say allow the user to set the password delay. Default it at 0 minutes.

    1. Pssst…can I borrow your Apple ID to buy some stuff…oooohhh…like a 17″ MacBook Pro…yeah like that beats the hell out of that Tosh I use for work. I can’t use my Apple ID any more – old Billy G has put a stop to that.

      By the way my name isn’t Chaim Levine, it’s Steverooni Ballmer. No offense intended.

  3. It’s the wrong fix to penalize everyone for other’s problem. It should have been a password protected option for owners to select how many seconds to wait before requiring a new pw entry. OR, announce the time before purchase so the parent can wait before giving it back to the kids, thus making kids pay a price for getting something new.

  4. I still think a password entry is needed for every single purchase. You have to when using a credit/debit card in a shop, no matter how few minutes or seconds there are between purchases.

    It’s spending money, and should be rigidly controlled. Everything else in the iOS is SO good, but I don’t understand the 15 minute ‘no password needed’ period at all.

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