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Apple has today updated its iTunes Allowances plan announcing that as of yesterday (April 13) customers will no longer be able to create new iTunes Allowances. Any existing allowances will be canceled on May 25, 2016.
iTunes Allowances was a program run by Apple that was designed for parents so they could set up a monthly credit for their kids to use on the App Store, or in iTunes.
Apple has said that any remaining credit left in the recipient’s account will remain until it’s used.
The Allowance program was a very easy way for parents to put limits on their offspring’s App Store spending without having to closely monitor or maintain daily involvement. They’d set the limit and once the child uses up the allowance, they’d have to wait until the following month to get anymore.
However, the program is not well known amongst Apple users due to it being somewhat ignored by Apple.
So, what’s Apple’s solution? Family Sharing. It’s a much more recent feature, arriving alongside iOS 8 in 2014, it allows up to five family members to share iOS applications and make parent-approved purchases using the same credit card. Further benefits of sharing accounts include books from the iTunes Store, shared Photo Streams, calendars, and locations.
Family Sharing is certainly feature rich, but those that use the iTunes Allowance would be well within their right to question whether it’s a suitable replacement. Do parents want their accounts and content so closely linked with that of their kids (and vice-versa), furthermore, the approval function introduces an extra level of granularity that many parents might not wish to deal with. On the one hand, it’s good for parents that want more control, but not so much for those that feel they don’t need it.
To set up Family Sharing – follow our comprehensive guide to Family Sharing.
Another option that remains and might be preferable to some parents is buying an iTunes gift card. Gift cards can be used with Apple IDs even if there’s no credit or debit card attached, and this could be operated in a similar process to the Allowance program. To redeem a gift card, the recipient simply needs to open the App Store on their device, swipe to the bottom of the page, and tap the Redeem button.
Visit Apple’s website for more on Family Sharing.