How to restrict in-app purchases with parental controls on iPhone and iPad

Parental Controls, also known as Restrictions, let you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can and can't access on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. That includes in-app purchases (IAP) on the App Store. While originally designed to enable extra content like additional levels in games or new issues of magazines, IAP are now routinely used in a casino-like manner — to feed addiction through ego and instant gratification. The classic examples are free games that lets you spend money to pass levels faster or build a better farm than your neighbor. Farmville, Smurf Village, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and others have made millions off this model. It can be hard enough for adults who know better to avoid the trap, never mind kids. Luckily, parental controls let you lock out in-app purchases completely. That way, your kids are free to play but won't be able to pay.

How to block in-app purchases on any iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on the iPhone or iPad you want to block in-app purchases on.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Restrictions.
  4. Tap on Enable Restrictions if you don't already have them on. If you do, skip to step 6.
  5. Choose a passcode that only you will know — it should not be the same as the Lock screen passcode and be sure you never give it to your child.
  6. Under the Allow section, disable the option for In-App Purchases.

If you want to allow an in-app purchases so that you can make them, or you can supervise your child making them, just go back to restrictions and re-enable them temporarily, then turn them back off again when you're done.

How to get more help with Parental Control restrictions for iPhone and iPad