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So, you may have recently received an email from Apple about the settlement of a class action lawsuit about in-app purchases. If you have kids, or you have ever let kids touch your i-devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod), you’ve probably experienced one of two scenarios:
A child has purchased something via an in-app purchase (IAP) without your consent, causing a confusing rage or blame hunt, and subsequent locking of IAPs on your device.
A friend has told you about how their kid did the above, and you breathed a sigh of relief, gloated about how you are a better parent or smarter person, and subsequently locked IAPs on your device.
LOCK IAPs, LOCK THEM NOW!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll mention that as a parent and someone who is around small kids all the time, I’ve felt that the Apple policy for passwords and IAPs is very cruel to the non-techy parent. Apple prides itself on being accessible and easy to use. They have a “Genius Bar” for heavens sake. So why when a parent downloads a free app for kids like Smurf’s Village or Disney Fairies Fashion Boutique is the game unlocked for several minutes after the free download? It’s simple – it is a deceptive practice that is profitable for App vendors and as result Apple as well. Kids are easy to prey on because a) there are a range of reactions on who is to blame when the due purchase things via IAP b) to kids, IAP can be considered a mini game for at least a few minutes, plenty of time to rack up quite a bill.
Well, hopefully this settlement will cause Apple to listen to common sense solutions. They’ve already released a guide with further education on the subject, so that’s a step in the right direction. I actually like them a lot as a company, and I hope they’ll figure out a better policy for all.