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Dear Aunt TUAW: Do I have to re-buy apps for all my devices?


Dear Aunt TUAW,

If I buy an app direct from the App Store, I can load it onto more than one iOS device connected to my iTunes account?

And then, what's the low down on in-app purchasing? If I then make an in-app purchase on one of my devices, say for an upgrade pack, or more scenery for a game, or more Sat-Nav aids, etc. it seems like the update is only available for the device I made the in app purchase on.

Is there any way to put an in-app purchase on both my iPhone and my iPad? Or do I have to make the same in app purchase again for every device?

What if I keep my iPad for my wife and then buy an iPad 2 - so I want to have both on the same iTunes account - how will I move my in app purchases across to the new iPad?

Your loving nephew, Jonny (not Ive - the other one) xxx

Dear Jony, er I mean, Jonny,

App purchases are associated with your entire account, not just the device they are bought on. Once you have authorized yourself with that account, you can re-download your software at no cost on other devices.

You can also transfer purchases from your device to your home computer and then sync them around as needed. Right-click your device in the iTunes sources list and choose Transfer Purchases from the contextual pop-up menu.

Transferring your purchases adds them to your main iTunes library, even when they were bought on-device through the iOS App Store.

As for in-app purchases, it depends. Non-consumable purchases, i.e. buy once, use-forever purchases are good for all devices registered to an account. Examples of nonconsumable purchases include adding game levels, enabling ad-removal, and unlocking features. Once unlocked, they remain available for all devices. Application developers are able to check for prior purchase and apply that purchase to new devices through a process known as restoring purchases.

For subscriptions and replenishable items, otherwise known as "consumable" purchases cannot be shared across devices. Typical consumables include monthly subscriptions, extra ammo or food, or other items that are used up over time and must be re-purchased to access more of the same. This morning, Uncle Rich pointed out this Apple knowledge base article on the matter.

So other than consumables, your bases are covered. With subscriptions and similar items, be aware they are one-device-only choices by default (although clever developers can sometimes find ways to work around that.)

Love & kissies,

Auntie T.

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