How to Manage in-App Purchases on iPhone or Android

  • You can turn in-app purchases on or off in the Settings app on Apple devices and in the Play Store app on Android devices.
  • There are three types of in-app purchases: unlockables, expendables, and subscriptions.
  • Disabling in-app purchases can help you resist temptation to spend money while using an app, or  keep kids from accidentally charging your credit card.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

An in-app purchase is any additional purchase made within an app, like extra lives in a game. You can turn in-app purchases on or off on Apple and Android devices with just a few taps. 

Turning off in-app purchases can help you resist the temptation to spend money while using apps, and it can keep kids from buying fictional things with real-life money — your real-life money.

Here’s everything you need to know about in-app purchases.

What does ‘in-app purchases’ mean?

Put simply, an in-app purchase is something that you buy when using an app on your computer or mobile device. They can take the form of an e-book, the ability to play a game without watching ads, and more. 

There are three types of in-app purchases: 

  • Unlockables: In-app purchases that permanently unlock specific content or features. Examples include e-books and game expansions.
  • Expendables: Often found in free-to-play games, expandable in-app purchases allow users to buy coins or power-ups to help enhance gameplay by helping them pass levels or obtain fun digital items.
  • Subscriptions: Ongoing purchases (often billed on a monthly or yearly basis) that give you access to an app or allow you to use advanced features beyond the free version.

How to enable or disable in-app purchases on iPhone or iPad

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Screen Time, then Content & Privacy Restrictions

Screenshot of the Screen Time page in the Settings app

On this page, you can also see recent stats about how often you use your phone.

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3. Turn on Content & Privacy Restrictions by tapping the slider. It will turn green when on.

Screenshot of the Content & Privacy Restrictions page in the Settings app

You need to turn this feature on in order to disable in-app purchases.

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4. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.

Screenshot of the iTunes & App Store Purchases page in the Settings app

Another way to prevent accidental purchases is to require a password.

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5. Tap In-app Purchases, then select Allow or Don’t Allow.

How to enable or disable in-app purchases on Android

1. Open the Google Play Store app.

2. Tap on your profile icon on the top-right corner of the screen, then select Settings in the pop-up menu.

Screenshot of Settings option in Google Play Store on Android

Select “Settings.”

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3. On the Settings page, tap Authentication, and then tap Require authentication for purchases. 

Screenshot of Settings page in Google Play Store on Android

Under “Authentication,” tap “Require authentication for purchases.”

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4. Then select one of the three options: For all purchases through Google Play on this device, Every 30 minutes, or Never

Screenshot of Purchase authentication pop-up menu

Select a purchase authentication option.

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5. Enter your Google password when prompted.