What does In-App Purchase mean?

Everyone loves free goodies right?

But in a time where everything is part of business, you can’t get free things without some profit value coming out of it. This can be understood with below example!

“Most of us are addicted to games, right? We try our best to clear the game levels. But one day, you get stuck on level 234 and there is no way you can clear that level without buying some coins. Either you need to buy coins or you have to wait for few days to refill your lives.

But you are addicted, remember? So, you cant wait and will buy the coins.”

This exact process is called In-App Purchase.

I will be posting a series of 3 articles covering In-App Purchase Introduction, Server to server notifications and how to handle notifications at server end. This post would be dedicated to build up the understanding of In-App Purchase.

In-App Purchase

In-App Purchase is a fee that user needs to pay for premium features, virtual goods or premium content that an app offers.

App Store is flooded with apps which makes it very tough for user to choose the best for him. He obviously wants to try few options before he selects one of them. On the other side, mobile app developer wants to monetize his application. So, In-App purchase is the perfect solution in this scenario.

User can try the free part of app and pay for the locked features if he wants to continue.

Types of In-App Purchases

  • Consumable : As name says, User needs to buy these as per use. In case of re-installation or device switch, user might lose these. For ex- game coins.
  • Non-Consumable : User needs to buy these one time. In case of re-installation or device switch, user wont lose these. For ex- upgrade to a premium version of app.
  • Auto-Renewable: User can buy these for a certain time period (monthly or yearly). This type of purchase gets auto-renewed when the time period expires. For ex- Medium Subscription.
  • Non-Renewable : User needs to buy these for a set of time period (1 month, 3 months). This type of purchase requires user to subscribe again after expiry. For ex- access to premium static content.

How to turn off In-App Purchases?

Yes, you can definitely turn off In-App purchase if you don’t want your kids or someone else who uses your phone to accidentally buy any premium feature or to buy coins while playing any game.

On iPhone below steps can be followed-

  • Navigate to Settings -> Screen Time.
  • Navigate to Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  • Navigate to iTunes & App Store Purchases.
  • Here you can turn-off In-App purchase.

On Android below steps can be followed-

  • Go to Google Play App.
  • Go to Settings in the menu.
  • Here either use Biometric Authentication or Require authentication for purchases for this purpose.

Family Sharing Feature

In this feature, a family can have a shared subscription. You just have to enable family sharing in App Store/Google Play. Connect for the subscription you want to use. In this way, all family members can use a single subscription.

Family feature in iOS allows six family members at max to share App store purchases and content. In Android, five family members can share.

Isn’t it great?

To know how to set up Family Sharing feature, please check the Apple documentation. For Android, check here.


This post was mainly to build up understanding of In-App Purchase. Hope you understand it now.

I will be sharing separate articles for server to server notifications and how to handle them in iOS/Android.

Stay tuned.


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