Apple has announced that users can no longer setup iTunes Allowances for kids from today, ahead of a complete shutdown of the iTunes Allowances program on May 25th, 2016. iTunes Allowances let parents set up monthly credit for their kids to spend on App Store and iTunes Store purchases.
In the support note announcing the closure, Apple recommends families instead use Family Sharing to manage purchase and spending habits across family members. This does not impact the availability of iTunes Gifts — Apple customers will still be able to buy iTunes gift cards to give to friends and family as normal.
Although iTunes Allowances were not very well known (Apple rarely advertised its existence, with configuration buried in iTunes settings), they were useful. iTunes Allowances allowed kids to receive a fixed amount of iTunes credit every month from their parents to spend on App Store and iTunes purchases. For example, a child could be assigned a $5/month allowance for the App Store and iTunes Store.
Once the limit was used up, kids would have to wait until the next monthly allowance to continue buying apps, games and music. It allowed parents to curb spending without controlling everything they buy.
Now that iTunes Allowances is going away, families will instead have to migrate to Family Sharing. Family Sharing includes features like Ask To Buy, which requires parental permission when a child tries to buy an app or game. It isn’t a complete replacement, however, as it is a manual process unlike the automatic credit system that was iTunes Allowances. If you haven’t set up Family Sharing already, check out our how-to guide here.
Aside from Family Sharing, another option for parents wanting to give their children some independence is by buying iTunes credit gift cards at regular intervals. Contrary to popular belief, iTunes accounts do not require associated debit or credit cards in most regions, allowing the account to be entirely funded by gift card credit. When the credit runs out, paid downloads will simply fail to be bought.
More information about the removal of iTunes Allowances can be found on Apple’s support pages.