More and more Android apps are listed on the Play Store as free to download but need in-app purchases in order to make full use of them.
Often this is not a problem—many apps use IAPs to remove ads, for example—but at times it can be. In-app purchases are built into an increasing number of games, where you have to pay regularly for coins or power-ups in order to carry on playing or progress further within the game.
It’s a lucrative business for the developers of games like Candy Crush or Clash of Clans, but can also be very expensive for users, who end up paying far more than they would for full console game for the PS4 or Xbox One.
Worse, many of these games are targeted at kids. Lend them your phone to play for a while and you might find they’ve made in-app purchases without even understanding that it costs money.
Thankfully there is a way to harness IAPs in the Google Play Store, as this guide shows.
Play Store options
Open the Play Store app on your phone or tablet and swipe open the sidebar from the left.
Scroll down to the User Conrtrols section and tap Require password for purchases.
There are three options for how all purchases are managed.
The first is to require your password is entered each time you make a purchase through the Play Store. This applies to both purchasing apps, movies, music and so on in the normal way, as well as when making in-app purchases.
The second option is to require the password is entered after 30 minutes has passed since you last entered it.
The last is to never require the password to be entered. This isn’t recommended, for basic security reasons as much as for avoiding accidental in-app purchases.
The first option is obviously the best to use, so long as you are the only person who knows the password.