If Ask to Buy isn't working

Find out what to do if you can't see your Ask to Buy notifications, or if your child sees "Unable to Ask Permission" after asking your family group organiser to make a purchase.

If your Ask to Buy requests are missing

If you miss an Ask to Buy notification, you can find the request in Notification Centre on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac. If you still don't see your Ask to Buy requests, check your Family Sharing settings, check which Apple ID you're signed in with, and make sure that you're on a supported device.

Open Notification Centre on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

Look for Ask to Buy requests in the Family section of Notification Centre. 

  • From the Lock Screen, swipe up from the middle of the screen.
  • From any other screen, swipe down from the centre of the top of your screen.

Open Notification Centre on your Mac

Ask to Buy requests show up at the top of Notification Centre on your Mac. 

Click the date in the upper right corner of your screen or swipe left with two fingers from the right edge of your trackpad. Notifications are displayed at the top of Notification Centre.


If your child sees an "Unable to Ask Permission" message

After Ask to Buy has been turned on, and your child has asked the organiser of your family group to approve a purchase, your child may see "Unable to Ask Permission. You can't ask permission, because you have signed in with iCloud and iTunes accounts that are not associated with each other."

When you see this message, check your Family Sharing settings, check which Apple ID you're signed in with, and make sure that you're on a supported device.

Review your Family Sharing settings

If you're the family organiser, you can go to your Settings or System Preferences to see if your family members' accounts have Ask to Buy turned on. 

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Family. If you don't see Family, tap your name, then tap Family Sharing.
  3. If you're the family organiser, make sure that Purchase Sharing is turned on. Then you can tap a family member's name to see if Ask to Buy is turned on for their account.

On your Mac

In macOS Ventura or later:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Settings.
  2. Click Family.
  3. If you're the family organiser, click Purchase Sharing and make sure that Share My Purchases is turned on.
  4. Click a family member's name, then click Ask to Buy to see if it's turned on for that person. 

In macOS Monterey or earlier:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences. 
  2. Click Family Sharing. 
  3. If you're the family organiser, click Purchase Sharing and make sure that Share My Purchases is turned on. 
  4. Click Family Sharing and click Details next to a family member's name to see if Ask to Buy is turned on for that person.

Check the Apple ID that you're using for purchases

Make sure that you've signed in to the App Store, iTunes Store, Apple TV app, Apple Music app or Apple Books using the same Apple ID that you've selected for sharing content with your family. Find out how to use your own Apple ID for Family Sharing.

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

In iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > Family.
  2. Tap your name. 
  3. Make a note of which Apple ID is listed.
  4. Tap Purchases.
  5. Tap Apple ID for Purchases and make sure you've signed in with the same Apple ID that you use for Family Sharing. If not, tap Share using secondary Apple ID and enter the Apple ID and password for that Apple ID. 

In iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or earlier:

  1. Go to Settings, tap your name, then tap Family Sharing. 
  2. Tap your name.
  3. Make a note of the Apple ID that you're using.
  4. Go back to Settings.
  5. Tap your name, tap Media & Purchases, then tap View Account.
  6. Make sure you're using the same Apple ID.

On your Mac

In macOS Ventura or later:

  1. Choose Apple Menu  > System Settings, then click Family.
  2. Click your name, then click Purchases.
  3. Under Apple ID for Purchases, make a note of which Apple ID is listed.
  4. Open the App Store.
  5. Choose Store > Account.
  6. Click Account Settings.
  7. Make sure you're using the same Apple ID.

In macOS Monterey or earlier: 

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Click Family Sharing, then click Details next to your name.  
  3. Make a note of the Apple ID that you're using for family purchases.
  4. Open App Store. Click your name, then click View Information. 
  5. Make sure you’re using the same Apple ID. 

On your Apple TV

  1. From the Home Screen, go to Settings > Users and Accounts > iCloud.
  2. Choose your name. Make a note of the Apple ID.
  3. Click the menu button on the Apple TV remote to return to the Users and Accounts screen.
  4. Choose [your name]'s Account.
  5. Make sure you're using the same Apple ID. 

Make sure you're using a supported device

You need iOS 8 or later on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and OS X Yosemite or later on your Mac to set up or join a Family Sharing group. When you try to make a purchase on an unsupported device, you'll still be asked to request permission. However, you won't receive a notification when the family organiser approves or declines the request. If the family organiser makes the purchase and your content isn't downloaded automatically, you can tap the price again to download the item.


If Ask to Buy is turned on for your account

  • You can't buy iTunes Match, iTunes Gifts, or Donations.
  • If you download content from a family member's past purchases, you won't see an Ask to Buy prompt. Also, if you redeem a product code, you won't see Ask to Buy prompts.
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