How much does an app cost?
How much does an app cost?
Free apps and paid apps
Many apps are free to download onto your phone or tablet, but some will cost money. Paid apps usually cost between $1 and $10, although some specialised apps cost more.
In most cases, however, you can find a free app able to do the same things as a paid app.
Free vs paid versions
Often, there is a free and a paid version of an app. Both apps may be the same, except that the free version contains ads that help pay the creators of the app.
In other instances, the paid app version might be better and provide more features than the free app.
Reading the information page for each app version will help you decide which one to choose.
What are in-app purchases?
Some free apps come with in-app purchases that, for example, let you pay for extra content, upgrade to an ad-free version or unlock new levels in a game. Often, you may not be aware of what you’re spending, and a free app can quickly become very expensive.
Being aware of in-app purchases
The online app stores indicate when an app has in-app purchases. If you install the app and decide to make an in-app purchase, you will need to enter a password.
Additional purchases, however, can be made for up to 30 minutes without having to re-enter the password – enough time for you to make several purchases without realising it.
Managing in-app purchases
You can avoid unexpected costs from in-app purchases by changing some settings on your device.
- Require a password for every in-app purchase, not just the first purchase.
- Disable in-app purchases.
- Use online app store gift cards instead of your credit or debit card to help limit spending.
Stop in-app purchases on an iPhone
You can switch off in-app purchases entirely on your iPhone. Look for General in the Settings app and then Restrictions. There you find a switch for In-App purchases. You will need to set a four digit passcode. You should write down the passcode somewhere safe in case you do ever want to make an in-app purchase.
Stop in-app purchases on an Android phone
Android phones don’t have a special setting to stop in-app purchases. But they do require you to enter your password or PIN every time you make one.
You can change that setting inside the Play Store. Look for Require authentication for purchases. One setting lets you make purchases without a PIN/password. With another, you’ll only enter the PIN/password every half hour.
eSafety Tip: watch out for download costs
An app might be free, but downloading it will cost you some of your monthly mobile data allowance – unless you’re on Wi-Fi. That’s especially important to consider if you have a small mobile data allowance.
To save your mobile data, try to install apps when you’re at home and connected to Wi-Fi. For more on Wi-Fi and mobile data, see the course on Wi-Fi and mobile networks
Stop apps from using mobile data on your iPhone
To stop all apps from using mobile data, go to the Mobile data section of your Settings app and switch it off there. Then no apps – including things like Facebook and your browser – will use your data allowance. If you scroll down in Settings, you can switch mobile data off individually for the apps that use it.
Stop apps from using mobile data on your Android phone (part 1)
To stop all apps from using mobile data, go to the Network & internet settings in your phone. Switch off Mobile data in the Data usage section. Then, even apps like Facebook and your browser won’t use your data allowance.
Stop apps from using mobile data on your Android phone (part 2)
Under Apps & notifications in the settings, you can switch off Background data for individual apps. With that off, the app won’t download data when it’s not showing on your screen.
Well done. You’ve reached the end of the How much does an app cost? activity. You've learned that you can choose between free and paid apps and that you can purchase additional features inside some apps.
Next up, we'll get into how to choose the best app for you in the activity Choosing apps.