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Boy using mobile devicesDownload: docHidden costs in free apps57.5 KB

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While some games or apps cost nothing to download on our smartphones or tablets, they often contain extra elements you can purchase within the game, known as “in-app purchases.” It is easy to make in-app purchases with many parents reporting that their children are buying things within games, not realising that they cost their parents real money through their iTunes, Google Play or Amazon account.

Follow the instructions below to modify how in-app purchases are made on your smartphone or tablet to protect you from unwanted purchases.

Enable restrictions

Generally, enabling restrictions will mean that a password or passcode will be required on your device before a purchase can be made. Below are instructions on how to set restrictions for Apple and Android devices.

App Store (Apple iOS)

Open Settings > General > Restrictions > Enter and confirm your passcode > Scroll down to “In-app Purchases” > Select “Off”

Google Play (Android)

Open Google Play Store app > Menu > Settings > Require authentication for purchases > Choose your preferred option from the list > press OK > If changing a setting you will need to enter your Google Play password

Amazon Appstore (Android)

Open Amazon Appstore app > Account > Settings > Parental controls > Tap ‘Enable Parental Controls > Enter your Amazon password > parental controls are now activated

Requesting a refund for unwanted purchases

App Store (Apple iOS)

You can use reportaproblem.apple.com to view your purchases, receipts, and contact Apple Support with any problems with your past purchases. When you open the page, enter your Apple ID and password that you used to buy the item, then choose Sign In.

Subscriptions are not managed through reportaproblem.apple.com. You will need to go to the View, change, or cancel your subscriptions page to view active, expiring, and past subscriptions, change subscription preferences, and cancel subscriptions and memberships on the Apple website.

Google Play (Android)

The Google Support website has instructions on how to request a refund for a Google Play purchases made on computers, Android devices or iPhone and iPad.

Amazon Appstore (Android)

Amazon does not have a refund option. Contact Amazon or the app developer directly.