No, they didn’t buy 5 iPads. They merely handed the one they had over to their 5 year old son.
Apparently, Dad downloaded a ‘free’ game for his son, and gave him the iPad to play with for just 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, the little boy managed to tap an in-app purchase button enough times to rack up the huge bill.
You can read more about this story, here.
Many apps use the “free, but with in-app purchases” approach. Sometimes this just means free-to-try for a while, and if you like it, you can buy it from within the app. Other apps charge you for ‘things’ within it. A painting app might charge you for new brushes, while a gaming app might charge you for new levels or tools to use within the game.
Personally, I don’t mind the type that lets you try before you buy. But I tend to stay away from the apps that encourage “extras” from within. Just seems a bit greedy to me.
Anyway ….. if you are an adult who finds himself/herself handing over your iPad occasionally to your child, your grandchild or any other child who wanders into your life, you should fix the settings so that you do not find yourself opening a surprise bill in your inbox.
Here is how you fix your settings to prevent in-app purchases:
Go to Settings > General > Restrictions. (if you have not tapped on restrictions before, you will be asked to enter a pin. Remember this!!) and then slide down to where you see “In-App Purchases”
Tap the button to turn it OFF.
Happy ending for this family. Apple refunded the parents. But if your iPad finds its way into the hands of a child, it would be very wise of you to make sure the in-app purchase ability is switched to ‘off’.