If Ask to Buy isn't working

Learn 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 can't see your Ask to Buy requests, check which Apple ID you've signed in with, check your Family Sharing settings and make sure you're on a supported device.

Open Notification Centre on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  • 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

  • In macOS Big Sur, click the date in the upper right corner of your screen. Notifications are displayed at the top of Notification Centre. 
  • In macOS Catalina or earlier, click Notification Centre icon Notification Centre in the upper right corner of your screen or swipe left with two fingers from the right edge of your trackpad. Then click Notifications at the top of Notification Centre. 

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

After Ask to Buy is turned on, and your child asks the organiser of your family group to approve a purchase in the iTunes & App Store, your child might 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 which Apple ID you're signed in with, check your Family Sharing settings, and make sure you're on a supported device.

Check the Apple ID that you're using for purchases

Make sure you're signed in to the iTunes & App Store using the same Apple ID that you selected for sharing content with your family. Learn how to use your own Apple ID for Family Sharing.

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing and tap your name.
  2. Make a note of the Apple ID that you're using.
  3. Go back to Settings.
  4. Tap [your name] > iTunes & App Store.
  5. Make sure you're using the same Apple ID.

On your Mac

  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] > 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. 

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 [your name] > Family Sharing.
  3. If you're the family organiser, make sure 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

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences. 
  2. Click Family Sharing. 
  3. If you're the family organiser, click Purchase Sharing and make sure Share My Purchases is turned on. Then click Family to see if Ask to Buy is turned on for your family members' accounts.

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.

Learn more

  • You can't buy iTunes Match, iTunes Gifts or Donations if Ask To Buy is turned on for your account.
  • If Ask to Buy is turned on for your Apple ID, but you're downloading 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.
  • Learn more about Family Sharing.
  • Still need help? Contact Apple Support
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