Your kid have an iOS addiction? Or maybe, it’s your husband you’ve put under an allowance structure. Apple is moving to close the iTunes Allowance program that allowed parents to dole out $10 to $50 per month into their kid’s iTunes account.
Hey, Clash of Clans must be played.
What’s the alternative? Apple is pushing its Family Sharing feature. It’s a bit of a downer because the allowance feature allowed parents to avoid being the next viral horror story of little Timmy racking up thousands of dollars on his parents’ credit card snapping up in-app purchases (Apple made the system tougher to prevent those types of situations).
It also removes the great way to teach kids how to manage money at an early age but limiting the amount they could spend on their mobile app of choice. Parents had a win-win situation. Their kids could play whichever game they wanted, and it put in hard limits to what was being spent.
The program has officially closed to setting up new accounts and existing allowance accounts will sunset on May 25, 2016. The unused credit will stay active until spent.
Setting Up Family Sharing
Apple is quiet on why it is shuttering the allowance program, but it is using the announcement to push Family Sharing and iTunes Gifts. Families should know this is not enabled by default.
Two options to enable the system. On your iOS device – Settings > iCloud > Family Sharing. For Macs, it’s System Preference > iCloud > Family Sharing.
From there, you choose to be the family organizer. Think of it as the superuser for the family. You can send out up to five invites to the kids and others. The organizer will also have the ability to approve and pay for any purchases by the family.
In the ‘Ask to Buy’ section, parents can set up prompts for any downloads their kid makes – free or paid. It’s a similar allowance feature, but you can see where it loses the ability to teach kids money management at an early age.
Here’s the benefit and probably the biggest drawback. If you buy a game, your kids have access to it on their phone. No double-dipping with paid apps. Sounds great, unless you don’t want your 10-year-old playing or opening certain apps.
Avoiding the issue involves implementing age restrictions via Apple IDs based on age. Under 13 requires a parent or guardian to set up the Apple ID.
The benefits of Apple’s Family Sharing are expansive – photo albums, app sharing, keeping track of wandering teenagers, etc. . What’s odd is not allowing iTunes allowances baked into Family Sharing.
Apple is stripping a feature out that could have been easily left in. Parents could both approve the apps their kids could buy and set limits, so they are not getting hammered with push notifications.