What Is an In-App Purchase?

Last Updated: January 17, 2022By

Twitch app opened on black smartphone

This is a question that many people ask themselves when they are considering downloading an app on their smartphone. You might be wondering what the difference between in-app purchases and buying an app on its own or if you can avoid making any additional transactions once you buy it.

In this article, we will discuss everything there is to know about how in-app purchases work so that you can understand them before agreeing to download the game or app!

What Is an In-App Purchase?

They are digital content, such as virtual goods and services, that can be bought by users through an app or game.

In-app purchases are a way for developers to make money off of their apps and games besides in-app ads, as they allow users to buy items and features without having to leave the app or game itself.

In-app purchases have become more popular with developers because of how profitable they are. In fact, most of the revenue generated by apps or games comes from in-app purchases that outpace advertising revenues.

This is in contrast to purchasing an app on its own, where you would have to go through the steps of entering your payment information and completing a purchase.

There are two kinds of in-app purchases: consumable goods and durable goods. Consumables are things that users can only use once or multiple times, such as coins for lives. Durables will last indefinitely until used up, like extra points.

You might be wondering why you would want to make an in-app purchase. What are the benefits?

If you love playing games and apps, then making in-app purchases can be a way for you to have more fun with them! You will always get access to new features or content that otherwise wouldn’t be available if they weren’t purchased through the app itself. This can include levels, game characters, bonus items, and more.

In-app purchases also offer convenience to users.

For example, if you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to go out and purchase a new album, you can instead buy it through the music app on your phone. This is an especially convenient option for parents who might not be able to leave their children alone at home, but would still like the option of listening to music.

Why Do In-App Purchases Cause Concern?

Man playing PUBG on black smartphone

Some people believe that in-app purchases are a bad idea because they can cause your bank account balance or credit card limit to go over what you want them to.

For example, if you purchase $50 virtual goods and then decide that you don’t want to continue playing it, you will be out that money and won’t be able to get it back.

There is also the concern that children might make in-app purchases without their parents’ permission or knowledge. This can lead to a lot of unwanted charges on the family credit card, so it’s important for parents to be aware of what their children are downloading and playing.

In this case, you might want to consider turning off your child’s ability to make in-app purchases.

In order to do this, you’ll need to go into the settings of their phone and select “Parental Controls.” From there, you will have access to a menu where you can block all future in-app purchases that they would like to purchase.

Here are guides depending on the device you are using:

In-app purchases can also be addictive for some users. This means that they can spend more money on in-app purchases than what they originally intended to, especially if the game or app is really fun and engaging.

How Can I Avoid In-App Purchases?

If you’re not sure whether an in-app purchase is worth it yet, you can always wait until the next update of the game or app to see if the content is worth it. You can also check reviews online before downloading anything.

Another way to avoid in-app purchases is to set a spending limit on your devices.

For example, if you’re using Apple devices, this can be done by going into the settings of your device and selecting “Restrictions.” From there, you can Enable Restrictions, enter the Restrictions passcode, and disable In-App Purchases.

In addition, you should always keep an eye on your bank account and credit card. This way, you can catch any unauthorized charges and prevent them from happening in the first place!

In-app purchases are a great source of additional content for games and apps that might not be as full without them. Just remember to track your spending so you don’t go over budget!

Are There Any Benefits of In-App Purchases?

Yes, there are a few benefits to making in-app purchases.

One benefit is that in-app purchases can help support the developers of your favorite apps—which means they may be more likely to continue developing those apps and adding new features!

Additionally, in-app purchases can provide users with new content. This could be anything from new levels to characters and bonus items. In some cases, in-app purchases even offer exclusive access to things that wouldn’t be available if they weren’t purchased through the app itself.

For example, many games have different levels that are locked until you make an in-app purchase.

Lastly, in-app purchases can help speed up the game-playing process. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of time to spare and want to get through the game as quickly as possible.


In-app purchases are a great way to enhance your favorite games and apps—but it’s important to keep track of how much you’re spending on them! If the app or game becomes too expensive, try waiting for an update that adds new content. Or simply uninstall the app if in-app purchases aren’t really something you want to be involved in.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether or not in-app purchases are worth it!