Apple has introduced measures with its iOS 4.3 update that will make it difficult for children to go on rampant in-app purchasing sprees, which can result in huge phone bills.
A 15 minute window for making in-app purchases after a new app had been downloaded, has been exploited by youngsters often costing irate parents hundreds of dollars. Users will now be required to enter a password before they start making in-app purchases.
The iPhone maker came up with a feature after several angry parents prompted US Senator Edward Markey to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate in-app purchases on Apple's iTunes store.
Users had complained that their children were making in-app purchases worth hundreds of dollars on apps like Smurfs’ Village and Tap Zoo. Consumer groups had called Apple's practice 'deceitful marketing'.
Lawmakers were also questioning why $99 in-app merchandise was available on applications meant for children, as the young iPhone users could easily make in-app purchases without realising they were racking up the phone bill.
Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told The Washington Post, “We are proud to have industry-leading parental controls with iOS. With iOS 4.3, in addition to a password being required to purchase an app on the App Store, a reentry of your password is now required when making an in-app purchase.”