In this guide, we will show you how set restrictions and controls to prevent unauthorized or accidental purchases on the Google Play, Apple Store and Windows stores, increasing security when we surf the Internet or when we leave the device in inexperienced hands.
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How to manage and block app purchases
With the methods that we will show you below we will be able to block not only the purchase of apps, but also of any in-app purchases, which suddenly appear during a game to be able to continue or to unlock upgrades. If the children are very young or those who use our device are not familiar with technology we can also simply turn off the Wi-Fi connections and the data network, so as to be sure that no reckless purchase will be made. To learn about the games that also work offline, we invite you to read our guide 50 offline games to play without internet on Android and iPhone.
Check app purchases on Android
To prevent purchases on the Google Play Store from an Android smartphone or tablet, you can choose between two control methods: biometric authentication and classic authentication.
Both control methods are available in the store settings; to proceed then we have to do is open the Google Play Store app, press the hamburger icon at the top left, press Settings and choose the authentication method to protect purchases.
To activate thebiometric authentication just activate the switch next to the homonymous item, while to enable the control of purchases we press the menu Require authentication for purchases and activate the item For all purchases on Google Play from this device.
To prevent unauthorized access to our device (especially if we often leave it unattended) we can also set an effective lock screen, as seen in the guide Smartphone protection and safer screen unlock for Android.
Check app purchases on iPhone and iPad
Also the Apple Store of iPhone and iPad has tools for prevent app purchases or in-app purchases if we don't have the authorization. Parental controls also allow us to block purchases so that both us and our children can be free to play without risking spending money for hitting the wrong button.
To activate the protection on purchases we open the app Settings, let's get to the menu Touch ID / Face ID and passcode, enter the phone unlock code and enable the switches next to the items iTunes Store and App Store is Password entry.
From now on, app purchases and in-app purchases will necessarily have to pass the biometric check in order to go through; obviously we avoid memorizing the fingerprints or the faces of the users to whom we want to prevent purchases!
Even on Apple devices it is advisable to always activate the lock screen, so that only those who know the password or are registered biometric on the device can access the store and download new apps; in this regard, we invite you to read our guide More secure screen unlock for iPhone.
Check app purchases on Windows 10
To prevent app purchases on Windows 10 PCs you don't need to do anything because, by default, the store always prompts your Microsoft account password to confirm purchases.
The option is found by opening the Microsoft store, pressing on our profile image at the top right and then going to the menu Settings.
In this case we must make sure that the switch present under the item I want to buy without a password, for faster checkout is disabled. For greater security we can also set a PIN or password to access the device, as seen in our guide Protect access to Windows PC with screen lock and password.
How many times have we found ourselves with unwanted purchases of new apps, games or game upgrades without even realizing it! Unfortunately this is a common problem for those with small children but also for those who have associated their account on a smartphone sold to a minor or a family member or friend with little computer experience: we will often and gladly find ourselves with this type of purchases directly on the credit card or current account without any form of control, with even substantial expenses (there are games for tens of euros and practically infinite in-app upgrades: as long as you press on the screen, you buy non-stop!).
As a good form of control we can always give a smartphone or tablet to a minor with whom we will associate a dedicated account to be managed through parental control, so that all purchase requests for new apps or in-app purchases will go under our approval (we will receive a notification or an email with the purchase request). To learn more, we invite you to read our guide Parental control on children's mobile with Google Family Link and similar apps.