In-app purchases can be a great way for a developer to monetize his or her work, giving users a free (or cheap) app to start with, but allowing them to get more out of the app by coughing up a little extra dough. When it works well, that’s fine, but every once in a while you hear some horror story of a kid getting unrestricted access to one of these apps and ringing-up thousands of dollars in in-app purchases without their parents’ permission. Apple faced a class-action lawsuit over just such an issue, and in addition to offering iTunes credits to affected users, it’s also tweaking the App Store to make sure users are fully aware when an app they’re loading on their phone or tablet supports in-app payments.
It’s just one line of text in app listings, but that might be enough to have parents thinking twice about downloading such an app. Sure, they could always attempt to keep things secured with their PIN, but there always seem to be cases where even PIN-protected iOS devices are left unlocked just long enough for a tyke to spend $1000 on useless virtual pony accessories.
And granted, you could work out for yourself if an app offered in-app purchases by checking out the list of the top sellers within the app’s listing, but this change makes things plain as day.
Even if most users won’t notice or will simply ignore the notice, it’s still good to know that it’s there for parents looking to keep on top of what their kids are exposed to.