From time to time we receive messages from users of the mobile versions (i.e. for iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, and Windows Phone) who report problems with the in-app purchases of the app. The background and solutions are covered in this article.

What are in-app purchases anyway?

In-app purchase is the solution for payments like Huawei IAP is the in-app purchases service that allows users to make payments within apps. All mobile versions of Huawei user so-called in-app purchases. You can download and test the app for free from the respective app store.

Other IAP Solutions

Just like the purchase of a paid app (which must be paid for directly when downloading), the purchases of in-app items are also processed via the respective app store. The only difference is that with an in-app purchase the user is in the respective app and with a download purchase directly in the app store. In both cases, the App Store works behind the scenes.

With regard to in-app purchases, we are now mainly receiving messages about two different problems.

Problem 1: Unable to make purchases?

The user tries to make the purchase in the app and receives an error message. Mostly that there is no connection to the store or that the purchase has been canceled.

The purchase and payment are therefore not carried out and the functions in the app remain limited. This is understandably very annoying for the user. Unfortunately, we are usually unable to help in these cases.

As previously mentioned, the purchase and payment are handled solely by the App Store. Neither the app itself nor we as developers have any influence on this process. We don't even get a message about this from the App Store.

Think of it like buying software in a real store:

  • The developers made the software and delivered it to the store.
  • The customer selects the software in the store and then wants to pay for it at the checkout.
  • If the cash register is defective or any other problem arises in the store, the developers have no control over this.
  • The store does not inform the developers of every single purchase, nor does it give the developers any details about its customers. The developers only regularly receive invoices from the store in the form “In month X the software was sold Y times”.

It is exactly the same with the app stores: If there is a problem with the purchase, the store, i.e. the app store, is the right contact.

The app stores are large and complex systems. Errors and problems are relatively common here. These can be problems with individual connections or even large-scale failures. Big problems, however, are a big exception and only occur very rarely.

If there is an error in a purchase, this is usually a minor problem such as a broken connection. These problems usually resolve themselves after a relatively short time.

The solution for the user is very simple: wait for a little and then try again.

That sounds banal, but in most cases, it is really the right solution.

Problem 2: Functions that have already been purchased are suddenly blocked again

While problem 1 was about the fact that purchases could not be carried out, this point worked with problem 2: The user has successfully carried out the purchase and can use the associated functions without restrictions. For no apparent reason, however, the functions will eventually be blocked again and the user will be asked to buy again.

This problem is, of course, even more annoying: you have paid and suddenly the associated service has disappeared and you have to pay again.

Don't worry: every in-app purchase in our apps only has to be bought and paid for once.

In most cases, the disappearance of the purchased functions is not as unreasonable as it seems. The most common reason in most cases is:

Cause # 1: reinstalling the app

If the app is reinstalled, it will initially appear without any purchases. The functions are therefore blocked. It does not matter whether the app is being reinstalled on the same device or whether you have bought a new device.

In this case, the app simply doesn't know anything about the previous purchases. But it's easy to remember. The way to do this differs slightly depending on the version of the app

iOS and Mac

Simply go to the purchase page in the app and use the function for restoring previous purchases at the bottom. As long as you perform this restore with the same App Store account as the original purchase, the app will be reminded of the purchases and makes the associated functions available again.

Android, Windows Phone, and Windows

With these platforms, recovery simply consists of doing the purchase again. As long as this is done with the same storage account as for the first purchase, the store will automatically recognize that the item has already been purchased and release it without a new payment.

Cause no 2: update the app

After updating the app, the purchases disappeared. This shouldn't be the case, because when updating, the App Store only downloads a new version of the app, while the data of the app is retained. In contrast to reinstalling the app as with cause 1, the purchases should not be forgotten. Actually…

In rare cases, however, the purchases no longer exist after an update. This is probably due to an error in the update or in the system.

In this case, too, the solution is to use Previous Purchase Restore as in Cause 1.

Cause # 3: change of platform

Many users know that purchases can be restored to a new device. Cause 1 is therefore not a problem for these users. However, we regularly receive messages from users who report that a purchase of the iOS version on the Mac cannot be reactivatedOr that the purchase is not recognized on Android on Windows, etc.

That is correct and generally not possible. So this is not a limitation of MoneyControl, but a general function of the App Stores. Purchases cannot be exchanged between the app stores. If an in-app purchase was made in the iOS version, for example, it must be executed again in the Mac version.

That sounds pretty bold at first. Why should you pay twice for the same service !? But you should note that you are buying two different services.

Of course MoneyControl for iOS offers (almost) the same functions as MoneyControl for the Mac, for Android, etc. Of course, both versions of the app serve the same purpose. But it is NOT the same app twice.

It is not possible to simply copy an iOS app to the Mac and use it there (or vice versa). Mac OS X and iOS are two very different systems and accordingly, the associated apps are also very different. The differences between the other platforms like Android or Windows are bigger.

Each version of the app is a completely separate development. This is just like a book and its film: they both tell the same story, but still, it is obvious that the film is not simply a copy of the book. This had to be produced with a lot of money, time, and effort in addition to the book. So it goes without saying that you can't go to the cinema for free just because you've already bought the book. The same applies to the various app versions.

Cause # 4: An app store bug

Problems in this category are really very rare. An error in the App Store can cause information about existing purchases in an app to be corrupted or deleted. To make matters worse, it can also happen that the restoration of the purchases does not succeed immediately and the app therefore only works to a limited extent again.

The restoration is then a little more complex but of course still possible. Fortunately, these problems are, as I said, very rare. For this reason, we describe the procedure in these cases in a separate article.

Author's Bio: 

A Blogger from TX.