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A guide to disabling in-app purchases in iPhone games

Recent horror stories of kids racking up huge bills on their parent's iTunes accounts through in-app purchases are enough to scare any parent into banning their offspring from further iPhone use. A five-year-old from Bristol managed to rack up no less than £1,700 of in-app purchases in just 15 minutes.

The incident occurred days after Apple settled a lawsuit involving in-app purchasing by kids. Although Apple has refunded the charges, the whole debacle put freemium apps in the spotlight and pointed out the dangers of free game apps targeted at children.

Don't let in-app bill shock happen to you.

Freemium apps, also known as bait apps, are free to download, but require the user to purchase items in the game to continue playing or pass levels easily. The prices of some of these items are ridiculously high. For example, in Zombies vs Ninja, 333 bombs cost £69.99. So imagine your child wanting a thousand bombs — that's a couple of hundred quid gone right there.

Luckily, there is a way to disable in-app purchasing on iPhones, and it completely blocks any attempt to purchase from any app. Here are the steps:

1. In Settings, tap General.

2.Scroll down and tap Restrictions.

3. If it's not already enabled, you will see that most of the Restrictions page is greyed out. Click on Enable Restrictions at the top to turn it on.

4. Once you enable Restrictions, you will be prompted to create a four digit passcode and re-enter it a second time. Be sure this passcode differs from your lock screen passcode for safety's sake.

5. After you create a passcode, scroll down to In-App Purchases and you'll see that it's turned on.

6. Click on the toggle to turn off In-App Purchases.

And that's all you have to do. You can test out whether you've done this correctly by going to any app that has in-app purchases. Then, attempt to buy something inside the app, and you should be greeted with a screen that looks like this:

You can always go back and change the setting in case you want to purchase in-app items yourself. Just make sure you change it back before letting your child play with your iPhone again.