Request and make purchases with Ask to Buy

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

With Ask to Buy and Family Sharing, whenever a child initiates a new purchase or free download, a request goes to the family organizer. The organizer can review the item and approve the purchase or decline the request right from their own iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. For example, this could be a request for items in the iTunes, Apple Books, or App Store, In-App Purchases, or iCloud storage.

If the family organizer approves the purchase, the content downloads automatically to their family member’s device. If they decline, no purchase or download will take place.

Turn on Ask to Buy

The family organizer can turn on Ask to Buy for any family member who isn't an adult. It's on by default for any children under 13, and you'll be asked to set up Ask to Buy when inviting anyone under 18 to your family group.*

Use these steps to turn Ask to Buy on or off for family members who are under 18* in your family group. If you turn off Ask to Buy for a family member after they turn 18,* you can't turn it on again.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] and tap Family Sharing. If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings > iCloud and tap Family.
  2. Tap your family member's name.
  3. Tap Ask to Buy.


On macOS Catalina:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences.
  2. Click Family Sharing > [child's name], then click the Details button.
  3. Turn on Ask to Buy.

On macOS Mojave or earlier:

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

If you created your child's account using Apple ID for Students, you 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.

iPhone showing family member request to buy

Approve or decline a request

If you're the organizer, you can use these steps to make or decline the purchase from your iOS device or Mac:

  1. Open the notification to see the item that your family member wants to get. (See your notifications on your Mac or iOS device.)
  2. Approve or decline the purchase.
  3. If you approve, you need to sign in with your Apple ID and password to make the purchase.

After the item's purchased, it's added to your child’s account and shared with the rest of the family group.** If your child downloads a previous purchase again, downloads a shared purchase, installs an update, or uses a redemption code in the store, you won't get a notification.

If you decline the request or don't make the purchase, it will be deleted after 24 hours, and the child will need to make the request again.

Choose another approver

The organizer can give another parent or guardian in the group 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, go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing, tap your family member, then tap Parent/Guardian. If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings > iCloud > Family.
  • On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing > Family. Click Details next to the family member's name, then select Parent/Guardian. If you're using macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud, select your family member, then select Parent/Guardian.

iPhone showing Ask Permission prompt to buy Space by Tinybop

Make a request with Ask to Buy

If Ask to Buy is enabled for your account, browsing the store is the same as always, but before a purchase is complete, a request goes to your family organizer. Just use these steps to send a request to your organizer:

  1. Tap the price on the item that you want to get.
  2. If asked, enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. Tap Ask. Your request will go to the organizer. You can tap "approve it in person" if the organizer is nearby and they can make the purchase directly from your device. Even if you make multiple requests for the same item, your organizer will get only one notification. 

After the purchase is made, it will download to your device automatically.**


* Age varies by country or region.

** 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.

† Only an adult can be selected as Parent/Guardian. A child or teen can't be selected as an approver.

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