Manage your family’s spending
Don’t let your kids have free rein over purchases – make them ask for permission
Family Sharing asks you to enter details of your credit or debit card so that Apple can bill you for any purchases made by
your family. If that fills your mind with tabloid stories about toddlers running up massive bills on apps or in-app purchases, don’t worry – you can use the Ask To Buy feature to stop them running amok with your bank card in apps and Apple’s download stores.
Ask To Buy is on by default for any family member aged under 13 and can be turned on for anyone under 18. Any purchase attempt requires approval from the family organiser or an appointed parent/guardian (as the family organiser, select someone in the list of family members and you’ll see an option to grant this status).
You can enter your Apple ID’s password or use Touch/Face ID to allow a purchase, or refuse with a tap. Approval is also needed for in-app purchases, iCloud storage upgrades, iTunes, App and iBooks Store purchases, subscriptions, and free apps. The last of those helps avoid kids installing ad-laden apps.
Your family can share media and apps on up to 10 devices per account, but subscriptions and in-app purchases are tied to the individual’s iCloud account.
You can apply tougher rules by using the parental controls baked into iOS. In Settings > General > Restrictions, you can turn off the ability to make in-app purchases – which has hugely reduced how many requests we get – and you can block access to certain services, such as the whole iTunes Store, or age-inappropriate content.
Everybody in your family group shares a single payment method, so you can more easily keep track of who is spending what.