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How to Secure Your iTunes Account

Learn to keep your kids from going on a virtual shopping spree.

Have you ever gotten an email receipt from Apple for an iTunes purchase you don’t remember making? Do you have apps on your iPhone that you don’t remember buying?

It could have been your son or daughter on a shopping spree.

If your iTunes account is set up on your children's iPhone, or iPod Touch, they can freely make purchases if they know your password. Or, once you’ve made a purchase, the account is still logged in for 15 minutes, which allows additional purchases without having to re-enter the password.

Song purchases cost $1.29 each, and apps, TV shows and movies can range anywhere from $.99 to $14.99. The amounts may not seem like much on their own, but they can add up fast.

If you’d like to better manage what your children are buying and how much they spend in the iTune store, here are a few options.

  1. Set up an iTunes gift on your account and give your children a monthly allowance. Once you’re logged into iTunes on your computer, you’ll find the “Buy iTunes Gift” link under “Quick Links." This allows you to set a monthly spending amount. Allowances begin at $10, with increments of $10 up to $50. Any unused monthly balance carries over to the following month, which means your children can ‘save’ for larger purchases. 
  2. Change your password. Creating a strong password that your children can’t guess will prevent them from logging into your account.  
  3. Enable restrictions on the device. This option is found by navigating to Settings --> General --> Restrictions. You’ll need to enter a four-digit code (I recommend you make it something less obvious than a birthday or house number). Once you’ve set up the code, you can disable your children from accessing the App Store or iTunes Store by sliding those switches to the Off position. Although the App Store is disabled, purchases can still be made within apps that are already installed. To disable this, scroll down to the “Allowed Content” and turn the “In-App Purchases” switch to the Off position.  

This is a good start. There are other restrictions you can enable for their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad and these will be discussed in next week’s column. Stayed tuned!

Daniel Meeks April 27, 2011 at 04:41 AM
Thanks for step #3. Restrictions rule. The more of them, the finer I can make them and the better they are understood works for me.
Blair Miller April 27, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Glad that helped, Dan. There are other restrictions related to apps and I'll be addressing those in my next post.

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