Software

How to manage subscriptions purchased in iOS apps

If you're wondering how to cancel a subscription to the iOS app you just installed or how that free trial will work, learn how to cancel or extend your in-app purchase subscriptions.

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Image: CNET

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.

  1. Open the Settings app on iOS.
  2. Navigate to iTunes & App Store.
  3. Tap your Apple ID at the top of the view.
  4. Tap View Apple ID in the pop up that appears, and then authenticate with your password, FaceID, or TouchID if prompted.
  5. Scroll down and select Subscriptions from the view that appears (Figure A).

Figure A

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In the Subscription section of your Apple ID, all of your subscriptions will be visible.

In this section, tap any of the subscriptions to get the available options for that particular app subscription (Figure B).

Figure B

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Some apps offer downgrade or cross-grade options for different subscription types; all apps offer the option to cancel a subscription.

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.

Also see

About Cory Bohon

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 te...

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