Whether you bought an app that didn’t work, your kids accidentally racked up a huge in-app purchase bill, or you forgot to cancel an auto-renewing subscription, chances are you’ll be eligible to ask Apple for a refund.
The catch? It’s not especially obvious how to initial a refund, and there’s a cancellation deadline of two weeks. If you think you’re due some money back, here’s how to request it.
First, a quick note: it’s Apple you have to ask for a refund, not app makers themselves. Developers don’t have control over your App Store payments.
The exception is if you subscribed to a service like Netflix or Spotify on the web – i.e. not via the App Store. In that case, even if you only use the app on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to speak to the original vendor rather than Apple.
(A little behind-the-scenes know-how for you: many businesses encourage users to sign up on their website instead of in the app to avoid Apple’s 30% cut of App Store sales. That’s why you’ll often get cheaper deals on subscriptions if you go straight to the source.)
There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest and quickest is through Apple’s Report a Problem service. You can access this with our link above, the links mentioned at the bottom of your App Store invoice emails, or by going to a web browser on any device and typing the address reportaproblem.apple.com.
Once there, you’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID details. Using the drop-down boxes at the top of the page, choose I’d like to Request a refund and then state your reason from the list.
You can then scroll through a list of recent purchases and tap the app(s) you wish to return. Press Submit. You’ll normally hear from Apple within 48 hours.
The small print
Apple says that have a 14-day period to ask for a refund once you’ve paid for something. That said, these rules don’t seem to be set in stone. You can still request a refund after the 14 days, although it’s up to Apple’s discretion whether or not they will grant it.
If your request is accepted, you’ll be reimbursed within 14 days (usually much sooner).
Note that if you use Family Sharing, whoever is registered as the Family Organizer can request refunds and cancelations on behalf of anyone else in the family.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t request a refund while a charge is pending – you’ll have to wait for it to settle.
Finally, Apple may deny the request to cancel an order if the “supply of Content” has already started, meaning you’ve been using the service. Although the figures for as and when Apple actually invokes that exception is a bit of a mystery, so it’s worth putting in a request anyway if you’re unsure.