Apple is killing off a super useful iTunes tool for parents, but there’s an alternative

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Photo via omarjordanf/Flickr

Make your kids ‘Ask to Buy’ something first.

A helpful feature in iTunes that you may have never heard of is disappearing.

iTunes Allowance let users designate a certain amount to spend on anything in iTunes, and prevented other family members from going over it. A helpful feature for those who are on a budget or parents who don’t realize just how much their kids are spending on games, apps, and music.

It’s a little-known feature that’s been around for a while, but Apple is sunsetting iTunes Allowance on May 25. Thankfully, there’s still a way you can prevent accidental overspending from family. 

Family Sharing, introduced in 2014 for iOS 8 and Yosemite, lets you share iTunes, App Store, and iBook purchases with up to six people. It has an Ask to Buy feature that lets family organizers approve or decline any purchases or free downloads from anyone who isn’t an adult. 

Ask to Buy is super useful for families who may have a younger person with a download-happy finger making purchases on a shared Apple account. Kids overspending on App Stores is a problem—in 2014, Apple refunded iTunes purchases made my children whose parents did not realize or approve of them. 

To turn it on, you must have a Family Sharing account with at least one child as part of the Family Sharing plan. 


Visit iCloud Settings on your iOS device and hit Family Sharing. Then tap “Ask to Buy.” If you’re on a Mac, go to your iCloud Settings under System Preferences and click your family member’s name. Then click “Ask to Buy.” 

When a user designated as a child tries to make a purchase the Family Sharing organizer will get a notification, and will be required to enter their Apple ID to approve the download. The organizer can also designate another adult to approve purchases. 

The helpful feature is only available for disallowing underage Apple users from overspending on apps and other services, unlike iTunes Allowance that let you put spending limits on yourself or other people. In that case, you can always use iTunes Gifts to send your friends iTunes allowances instead.

H/T Cult of Mac

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