The European Union has made it clear that it wants Apple to make stronger in-app purchase protection, which would lessen the number of inadvertent in-app purchases being made all the time.
A Friday update to an ongoing investigation into Apple’s in-app purchasing shows that the EU is not pleased with the lack of improvements Apple has shown when it comes to protecting its customers. Although other companies, such as Google, have shown progress, Apple is still lagging behind.
Google, for example, will be removing the word “free” from any game that has in-app purchases. This will be done by September 2014, Google has said, as well as other improvements, such as requiring a password before every in-app purchase is bought. This will hopefully prevent kids from making huge purchases on their phones or tablets and will let parents know if an app has in-app purchases or not.
Apple, on the other hand, has not yet made any such commitments, although they have expressed a need for change.
“No firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes,” said the EU.
So far, Apple has made one improvement. The words “In-App Purchases” appears on the pages of free apps that offer in-app purchases. But this isn’t enough, the EU said, as the words are too small and may not alert users.
The EU has also been pushing Apple to require that a password be put in before any in-app purchase is made. Currently, when buying things on an iPad or iPhone, Apple does not require a password be put in again until 15 minutes after a purchase is made. This means that kids can make numerous purchases without needing to know their parents’ password, as long as their parents put one in before the 15 minutes time limit is up.
Apple has said that some parental controls will be added into iOS 8, which will come out sometime this fall. One new feature will be “Ask to Buy,” which will ask a parent for approval if a child tries to buy something on his or her iPad or iPhone. Hopefully, this will put Apple on par with Google in terms of in-app purchase protection.