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How to disable in-app purchases on Android

Avoid costly and unwanted bills by adding some security to in-app purchases

In-app purchases tend to be a real nuisance for Android users which can lead to problems and issues. Unfortunately it’s a system that more developers are relying on and one that can be lucrative if the app is decent enough. Some people have been caught out by not realising they’ve made a series of in-app purchases, some are well disguised within apps and some unwitting parents may not realise that their children have racked up a massive bill in an innocent looking game.

Although there’s no way to permanently get rid of in-app purchases from appearing in the apps you enjoy, there’s a way to add a layer of security which can help stop unwanted purchases being made by you, or your family. In this tutorial we’ll take you through this process which will hopefully help save you and your wallet.

  1. How to disable in-app purchases on Android

    Open Google Play

    Open up the Google Play app from the app drawer on your device. Press on the menu icon located on the top right of the home page and select the Settings tab from the drop down menu that now appears in front of you.

  2. How to disable in-app purchases on Android

    Find User Controls

    Scroll down through the various settings until you reach the User Controls sub-menu. From within here you’ll want to find the Use PIN for purchases option. Currently this will be greyed out and you’ll need to select the Set or Change PIN option instead.

  3. How to disable in-app purchases on Android

    Add and confirm PIN

    This screen will require you to create a unique PIN for your phone or tablet. There’s no restriction on the length of it, but make sure it’s easy enough for you to remember. After adding your new PIN, you’ll need to confirm it on the next screen.

  4. How to disable in-app purchases on Android

    Use PIN for purchases

    You’ll now find that the Use PIN for purchases option is now available for you to select. By ticking this option any subsequent purchases you make on your device, including in-app purchases, will require you to first enter the PIN before confirming it.

  5. How to disable in-app purchases on Android

    Open an app

    After setting everything in place you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly. Open up an app that you know includes a range of in-app purchases. We used Temple Run 2 here. Find an in-app purchase and click on the Buy option.

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  • Very useful information as I was not aware about it. Thanks for sharing. It will help me saving money 🙂 I’ll buy other valuable apps now.

  • David Dawson

    New version of google play no longer has this option. This is disgraceful.

    • Jon Peterson

      Yeah, passwords are just soooooooooooo much worse than PINs. Shame on Google for changing terminology to something with a larger character set.

      • justmyopinion

        Did this comment sound smart and appropriate in your head when you were typing it? People should not be nasty just because they can, it makes you sound like a bully.

        • Jon Peterson

          Smart? No. Appropriate? Meh. Why should I pander to the potential feelings of someone who is making such an asinine statement that it can only be intended with legitimacy if they’re a complete idiot? The feature didn’t go away. The method for accessing it didn’t change. They just changed the terminology from “PIN” to “password”. Anyone declaring that Google Play “no longer has [that] option” after the change is either incapable of basic interaction with computers or (more likely, as this individual has managed to register a Disqus account, and thus has some basic idea of how to interact with computers) is attempting to badmouth Google with false accusations, most likely motivated by fanboyism.

          At that point, whether the person is complaining about something they do not understand or trolling as a fanboy, why should I return a measured and respectful response? I won’t argue my response was appropriate, but at the same time, neither was the remark I responded to.

          (I’d also challenge you to question whether responding to antagonistic comments from over a year ago with condescension is really an appropriate route to take.)

          • justmyopinion

            There was no condescension intended in my comment at all, I was merely questioning why people cannot be polite in their answers to others. So what if they appear stupid or uneducated to you, let it go. Why do so many have to have a snarky answer to someone else just to make themselves feel superior?

          • Jon Peterson

            Superiority had nothing to do with it. That comment was the top one, and thus the one other users were most likely to read. Dickishness aside, my response corrects the assumption, and reduces the chance that future readers will believe this feature no longer exists.

          • mike starr

            BECAUSE THEY’RE HIDDEN BEHIND A KEYBOARD…

  • David Dawson

    This option has been removed in latest version of google play. This is disgusting.

  • Ikhnos

    I don’t think that the PIN you choose actually has to be *unique*, as suggested in the article.

    Imagine how awkward that would make things.

  • alan

    Google have removed this option… thought you were better than this Google!

  • Matthew

    Jan 2014 update: There seems to be a ‘Use password to restrict purchases’ option, where you input your google password. Im new to ANdroid, so cant state if this is better or worse than the ‘PIN’ option.

  • Mable Spurr

    I was able to create a password for my android. I just closed my eyes and started pushing buttons and then hit save. That way my phone bill isn’t sky high anymore. I fully admit I have no self control when it comes to money.

  • Peter Gunn

    This was not removed as some posts here say. You can set purchases to require Authentication, in which case you have to enter your password.