Apple rushes to fix in-app purchase system to meet FTC deadline

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Apple is scrambling to tweak the in-app purchase system within the App store to meet its Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deadline, claimed a recent report. The company is supposed to modify the in-app purchase process to ensure explicit consent before billing, by March 31.

Earlier this year, Apple reached a settlement with FTC, over its in-app purchase system agreeing to refund $32.5 million for all the unauthorised charges to the users and also make changes to its billing policy that requires permission for all attempted IAP charges.

This is more likely to abolish the current 15-minute window, when users need not re-enter passwords after making an initial purchase, which paved way for children or other unwitting users to inadvertently rack up huge bills.

“While it might sound trivial, changing the App Store to obtain “consumers’ express, informed consent” before billing them is a significant change,” stated ZDNet. “It involves fundamental changes to the App Store order flow and there are a lot of dependencies involved.”

One of the sources inside Apple told ZDNet “In order to meet the government’s second criteria (the option to withdraw their consent at any time) Apple must require a password for all IAPs by default, and perhaps make a no-password window an option via settings.”

Apple is expected to line up these changes as part of iOS 7.1. This could be the primary reason why Cupertino is holding back iOS 7.1 release as it’s been over a month since the launch of iOS 7.1 beta 5 to developers on February 4.

Another deadline that Apple might be facing is the release of SXSW app that is iOS 7.1 compatible and will stream iTunes Festival performances at SXSW.