In-app purchase subscriptions are an increasingly popular way for developers to charge users for access to apps and services on Apple's App Store. It's important to know how to manage these subscriptions so you're not charged for ones you no longer use. Learn how these subscriptions work, how to view your subscriptions in your Apple account, and how to change or cancel subscriptions.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
What are in-app purchase subscriptions?
Subscriptions are a type of in-app purchase (IAP) that are a recurring payment type. These recurring payments give you access to certain features in apps or access to a service. Many apps are moving to this type of payment, offering free app downloads, and then charging for access to its app or service.
Most IAP subscriptions offer a free period, after which you will be charged for the subscription to the app. Subscriptions can be yearly, monthly, weekly, or for a certain number of months, with pricing chosen by the app's developer. Once a subscription is purchased, you should maintain access to the app or service for as long as you pay for the subscription.
It's important that during the sign up step you confirm how frequently you'll be charged; some apps on the App Store use less than savory practices of charging large amounts of money per week to subscribe to the app. Be sure to keep an eye on the iOS App Store subscription panel when you authenticate for the purchase and ensure that you know the subscription terms.
SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
How to cancel or extend an IAP subscription
There are a few ways to view your subscriptions in iOS, but for the tried-and-true method, follow these steps.
- Open the Settings app on iOS.
- Navigate to iTunes & App Store.
- Tap your Apple ID at the top of the view.
- Tap View Apple ID in the pop up that appears, and then authenticate with your password, FaceID, or TouchID if prompted.
- Scroll down and select Subscriptions from the view that appears (Figure A).
In this section, tap any of the subscriptions to get the available options for that particular app subscription (Figure B).
Inside of the app detail, you can view all cross-grade or downgrade options available for the app you're currently browsing. (Some apps may not offer the ability to downgrade or cross-grade the subscription options.)
If you choose to no longer have the subscription billed to your Apple account, you can easily cancel the subscription by tapping the Cancel Subscription button. Note: When you cancel a subscription, the amount you've already been billed is not refunded; your subscription for access to the app will continue to work until your subscription was set to end, and then it will not be automatically billed again, and you will lose access to the app.
- Should Apple have control over the apps you install on your iPhone? (ZDNet)
- Gallery: The iPhone's 21 most important apps of the decade (TechRepublic)
- How to manage notifications in iOS 12 (TechRepublic)
- How to use Apple Configurator 2 to supervise and secure iOS devices (TechRepublic)
- How to download your data stored by Apple (TechRepublic)
- What you need to know about free trials in the iOS App Store (CNET)
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.