Approve what kids buy with Ask to Buy

With Ask to Buy, you can give kids the freedom to make their own choices while still controlling their spending.

How Ask to Buy works

A parent's iPhone shows a request that a child made on their own iPhone.

With Ask to Buy, when kids want to buy or download a new item, they send a request to the family organiser. The family organiser can use their own device to approve or decline the request. For example, if a child wants to buy an app, the family organiser can see the app and decide whether to allow it.

If the family organiser approves the request and completes the purchase, the item automatically downloads to the child's device. If the family organiser declines the request, no purchase or download will take place. If a child re-downloads a purchase, downloads a shared purchase, installs an update or uses a redemption code, the family organiser won’t receive a request. 

Who can use Ask to Buy?

Families can use Ask to Buy after they've set up Family Sharing. The family organiser can turn on Ask to Buy for any family member who isn't an adult. It's on by default for any children under the age of 13. You'll be asked to set up Ask to Buy when you invite anyone under 18 to your family group.1

If a family member turns 18 and the family organiser turns off Ask to Buy, the family organiser can't turn it on again.

How to turn on or turn off Ask to Buy

If you're a parent or guardian, use your own device to turn on or turn off Ask to Buy.

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Tap Family Sharing.
  4. Tap Ask to Buy.
    Settings on iPhone showing Ask to Buy enabled for Marisa, Jesse and Madi.
  5. Tap your family member's name.
  6. Use the toggle to turn on or turn off Ask to Buy.

On your Mac

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Family Sharing.
  2. Click Ask to Buy in the sidebar.
  3. Tick or untick the box next to the child's name.

On your Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Then click iCloud.
  3. Click Manage Family and select your family member's name.
  4. Select Ask to Buy.

How to approve or decline a request

If you're the family organiser, use your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Mac to approve or decline a request.

  1. Open the notification to see the item that your family member wants to get. Can't find your Ask to Buy notifications?
  2. Approve or decline the purchase.
    Parent's iPhone showing a button to approve and a button to decline a request to buy a book from Apple Books.
  3. If you approve, sign in with your Apple ID and password to make the purchase.

What happens next?

After the item is purchased, it's added to your child’s account.2 If you turned on purchase sharing, the item is also shared with the rest of the family group.

If you decline a request, your child receives a notification that you declined the request. If you dismiss the request or don't make the purchase, the child will need to make the request again. Requests that you decline or dismiss are deleted after 24 hours.

Where to find your Ask to Buy requests

If you miss an Ask to Buy notification, you can find the request in Notification Centre on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Mac.

How to choose another approver

The family organiser can give another parent or guardian in the group over the age of 18 permission to manage Ask to Buy requests. Only one adult needs to manage each purchase, and after it's done, the purchase is final.

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Tap Family Sharing, then tap your family member's name.
  4. Tap Role.
  5. Tap Parent/Guardian.

On your Mac

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Family Sharing.
  2. Click Family Sharing in the sidebar.
  3. Click Details next to the family member's name.
  4. Click Edit, then select Parent/Guardian.

On your Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Click iCloud, then select your family member.
  3. Select Parent/Guardian.

How children or teens can make a request with Ask to Buy

  1. To buy or download an item, tap the price or Get button. Or if you're using an Apple Watch, double-click the side button, then enter your passcode.
  2. If asked, enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. Tap Ask. If your parent or guardian is nearby, you can tap "approve it in person" and they can approve the purchase directly from your device.
    A child's iPhone shows a message that says that a request to buy this book will be sent to your parent or guardian. Below this message, there's a Cancel button and an Ask button.
  4. After your parent or guardian buys the item, it downloads to your device automatically.2

Ask to Buy doesn't apply to apps or content from school

If a child's account was created using Apple ID for Students, the child can use Ask to Buy for personal purchases outside of the educational institution. It won't apply to any apps or other content distributed by the school.

1. Age varies by country or region.

2. In South Korea, a child might be asked to verify their age after an Ask to Buy request is approved. Learn about age verification in South Korea.

Published Date: