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iOS 7.1 warns you about in-app purchase window

After a recent settlement with the FTC, Apple's iOS 7.1 offers up a warning message about its 15-minute window for in-app purchases.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Make an in-app purchase via iOS 7.1, and you'll now be warned that the buying spree can continue for another 15 minutes without need of your password.

After you type your password to confirm an in-app purchase, the following message pops up:

"In-App Purchase Complete
You can now make additional purchases in any app for the next 15 minutes without reentering your password. To change this, tap Settings and go to Restrictions."

Tap OK, and the message goes away. If you want to restrict this behavior, tap Settings and launch the Restrictions screen. From there, you can set up restrictions to disable in-app purchases entirely or require a password for each purchase.

Though the warning is new, the controls have been in place for awhile. But that 15-minute window created a load of legal trouble for Apple.

In 2011, Apple was sued by a parent who claimed that the 15-minute grace period failed to prevent children from racking up huge bills from in-app purchases. From there, the suit moved into class-action status involving around 23 million people. Apple settled the lawsuit in February 2013, eventually revealing how affected parents would be compensated for their losses.

The US Federal Trade Commission also got involved, charging Apple with violating the FTC Act. An agreement reached in January requires Apple to refund at least $32.5 million to customers for in-app purchases made by their kids.

In iOS 4.3, Apple added the parental controls needed to manage in-app purchases and other items. But by then, the damage had already been done.