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Apple Is Ending iTunes Allowances, but Why?

The feature has been part of iTunes since 2003, the year Apple opened the virtual music store.


Apple said Thursday it plans to abruptly end iTunes allowances, a feature that let parents transfer a set amount of money into their kids’ accounts each month.

The company posted a support document saying it had stopped allowing new accounts as of Wednesday, with existing allowance accounts to be closed as of May 25. Any money in an allowance account after May 25 won’t disappear; it will remain there until used up by the recipient.

Just why Apple is making the change is a little unclear. While there have been headlines about kids spending a fortune on iTunes, the whole point of allowances was to limit spending to a set amount from $10 to $50 per month.

An Apple representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The allowance feature has been there since the earliest days of the iTunes store in 2003. Just how much use it has been getting, though, is unclear.

Apple has introduced other ways to manage family spending in recent years, most notably the family sharing options. That lets family members access each others’ purchases and also has an option where parents can be notified and asked to approve the iTunes purchases of their children.

Update: An Apple representative confirmed the move, pointing to “ask to buy” and the family sharing options as the preferred way for families to manage kids’ purchases going forward.

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