With so many games and applications now offering ways to bolster your progress or capabilities through in-app purchases, it can be tempting, and all to easy, to spend money on what may originally have been a free app.
The real danger here is that, if you let your children use your iPhone or iPad, they could spend your cash while playing their favourite games - without your knowledge.
Thankfully iOS has some safeguards that can restrict the spending of your little ones, and save you the shock of a big bill. So, to preserve peace and harmony in the family home, we show you how to disable in-app purchases on iPhone.
If you’re also a Mac user then you should take a look at our How to setup parental controls on Mac guide.
Doesn’t my password stop in-app purchases?
While it’s true that Apple requires the entering of a password to make a purchase in an app, this is then followed by a fifteen-minute period where additional items can be bought without needing to enter it again.
Obviously, there’s plenty of damage that can happen in that time, which could turn a customer friendly feature into the stuff of nightmares.
All is not lost though, as it’s easy to adjust the security settings in iOS to prevent this kind of disaster.
Use Touch ID
One very quick way to shore up your defences is to turn on Touch ID for all purchases. This not only makes it much harder for other people to buy things on your account, but it also prompts for a password (or your fingerprint) each time you want to buy anything.
To enable this, go to Settings>Touch ID & Passcode, then in the Use Touch ID For: section tap the button for iTunes & App Store.
Enabling restrictions in iOS
Another way to curtail any retail shenanigans is by turning on the Restrictions feature in iOS.
Go to Settings>General>Restrictions, and tap the Enable Restrictions option at the top of the page.
You’ll now be prompted to set a passcode. This is to prevent any budding master criminals retracing your steps and disabling the feature.
Be sure to choose a code different to the one that normally unlocks your phone, and keep a record of it somewhere. If you forget the restrictions passcode the only way to get rid of it is to wipe your iPhone and start from scratch.
iOS offers a number of options in the Restrictions section. These include using the camera, Airdrop, Facetime, alongside filtering explicit material in music, movies, TV shows, news, and others.
For a detailed look at how these settings can be used to protect your children, read How to set up iPad & iPhone parental controls.
For now we’ll concentrate on in-app purchases. Scroll down the list until you see a section that has iTunes Store at the top.
At the bottom of this area you’ll see In-App Purchases. If you want to disable them entirely then switch this off.
Of course, this will mean you’ll no longer be able to make these purchases either, which could be a bit of a pain. To avoid this, you can always take a less drastic route instead.
Turning off the fifteen-minute password rule
As one of the main problems with in-app purchases can be caused by the fifteen-minute window that follows the entering of a password, it makes sense to address that directly.
One option is to force iOS to require a password for every transaction. If you’ve enabled Touch ID for purchases on the App Store then this won’t apply, as you’ll always be prompted for your fingerprint anyway.
Go to Settings>iTunes & App Store>Password Settings, then select the Always Require option.
Hopefully with these tips you should now be able to rest in the peaceful surety that Clash of Clans will never bring ruin upon your household. To celebrate you could spoil yourself to a new game or two, safe in the knowledge that micro-transactions will be kept under control.
Read our guide to the Best iOS games for 2017 for some fine suggestions.