If you've visited Apple's App Store recently, you may have noticed a subtle change.
The "free" button users once tapped to begin downloading certain apps now says "get." It's a small semantical tweak, but Apple hopes it will be enough to protect children and keep their parents aware of the charges their kids might be racking up.
Often times, even "free" apps will prompt users to make in-app purchases once the app has already been downloaded. Apple has made previous attempts to protect consumers from unknowingly or unwillingly making in-app purchases using free apps. For example, iOS allows users to set up an authorization password. Users with authorization passwords are then asked to enter that password each time they wish to make a purchase.
The subtle change came just months after European regulators pressured Google to change its "Top Free Apps" label on the Google Play to "Top Apps."
"[C]hildren must be better protected when playing online. The action also provides invaluable experience for the ongoing reflection on how to most effectively organi[z]e the enforcement of consumer rights in the Union. It has demonstrated that cooperation pays off and helps to improve the protection of consumers in all Member States," European Union Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica said.
A Google representative said in a statement following that announcement that the "improvements" to Google Play would be good for users and provide better protections for children. Google declined to say whether those changes would extend outside of Europe.
The EU also pressured Apple to clarify its payment authorization methods around the same time it asked Google, but Apple pushed back at the time, saying its existing controls "go far beyond the features of others in the industry." It now seems Apple is beginning to take those steps European regulators recommended back in July.
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