I have three children with three iPods and recently gave them all their own Apple ID accounts so that their iTunes money would be separate. However, now they cannot buy apps to add on to their games because the games were bought on our original Apple account.

How can I get the purchase to go through?


Purchasing from one account and then using another for in-app purchase (IAP) isn't currently possible.

Since each application is digitally signed when you download it from the App Store - you are tied to using the same account for in-app purchases as for the initial purchase.

If it is a free app, you could back up the device to iCloud, delete the app, re-purchase the app under the correct account and then restore the device from the backup. If you are not worried about saving game state, you can skip the backup and the restore steps.

If the app is not free, then you are faced with deciding to buy the in-app purchase from the original account or re-buying the app on the correct account.

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    Nice thorough answer. Are there any official sources on this? (I suspect there may not be, but if there are, it would be nice to link to them here!) – jtbandes Jan 2 '13 at 4:03
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    @jtbandes The official terms and conditions for the iTunes store has a very short section covering in-app purchase and this is implied by the wording that you must re-enter your password again for IAP as opposed to initial purchase. You can't re-enter a different password in a technical sense, but I doubt that's an intended implication and more likely it's just not spelled out clearly. – bmike Jan 2 '13 at 5:29
  • Point of order: IAP with games often link to the GameCenter ID in addition to the Apple ID used for the purchase. I did an IAP for Magic 2013 (don't judge me) but was signed in to GameCenter with an ID I didn't intend to use while playing the game. When I was signed in to my GameCenter account that I did want to use, the game content didn't persist and would remove itself. Apple said this was too bad, developer/publisher said "what's a GameCenter??" – incumbent Apr 29 '14 at 16:31
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    bmikes answer is correct. The Apple store does not allow it. Case in point: All my apps on my iPad were purchased using a particular Apple ID. Recently when I moved to a new country, I created a new ID and used that to login to iTunes on my iPad. (The apps downloaded using the previous ID were still there). One of those apps was a magazine app for which I attempted to renew the subscription (in app purchase) but it gave an error saying that the app was downloaded using a different ID. Finally I had to delete the app and re-download it using the new ID. – bobbyalex Apr 30 '14 at 1:55

You can log in and out of iTunes app store with different Apple IDs on the same device. I do it all the time with grandkids.

Administer account, hide purchases, browse store, all of it. In-app purchases should be no different. Just take care to log kids out of app store, and password your device!

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