General Question

AshlynM's avatar

When an app says, free to download, is it really free?

Asked by AshlynM (6380 points ) November 2nd, 2011

I’m talking for the ipod touch, not iphone.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

Response moderated
XOIIO's avatar

Well, if it says it’s free than yes, it’s free. How can you change the definition of a word? You download the content they have as free. If they sneak in a $1 in app purchase to remove ads or soemthing it still was free, theres jsut something else to pay for.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Hmmm. Theoretically, it might be free to download, but then not free to use for more than x number of days, or the app download might be free but the account might cost money because it’s a paid service. Do you have a specific example in mind that we could help you figure out?

XOIIO's avatar

@Aethelflaed They can’t limit an app to be free for x number of days, there is no such thing as a trial in the app store.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@XOIIO Oh, I did not know that.

AshlynM's avatar

Well, I guess I mean free vs paid apps. I was getting trigger happy downloading free apps, but then I got to thinking what if there’s some type of hidden fee within the app? What if they secretly try to charge me from my itunes account? I didn’t have to enter any credit card info when I chose to install the app, but I’m still wondering.

I have the ipod touch, not the iphone.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Aethelflaed's avatar

Oh, no, they can’t charge you without you okaying the charge. I think I remember (but someone should verify) that when you buy a paid app, you have to reenter your username and password (not just from when you logged in initially, but all over again), and accept the charges.

XOIIO's avatar

Well then, again I’ll say, there isn’t a way they can hide a charge from you, its jsut like every single other thing that you buy. You don’t go to a garage sale and get a free watch, as they take 2 dollars out of your pocket.

AshlynM's avatar

Ok, thanks, sorry if it sounded like a dumb question.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@XOIIO I’m pretty sure banks, credit card companies, ISP, cable companies, and other large corporations are actually famous for hidden costs that you don’t realize you’re consenting to.

XOIIO's avatar

@Aethelflaed But they have it in the contract, and they are the ones in controll of it. The developers cant add a hidden charge, and not to mention if iTunes did this apple would be in huge shit.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Aethelflaed I believe your password entry is valid for 15 minutes. You don’t have to reenter it every time. There is a little button you push to download an app. It is the same with the iPod Touch, the iPhone and the iPad. If the little button says free the application is free, free to download. If their is a dollar amount in the little button, that is what the application costs and what you will be charged. The fact that an application itself is free doesn’t mean that there aren’t strings attached or that everything is free. I have downloaded plenty of “free” applications only to find that if I actually want to use them, I have to pay. For example, I downloaded a “free” piano lesson app only to find that that the first lesson was free but that additional lessons were $9.95 each. That kind of thing happens a lot. Or you download a “free” game, only to find out that you have to buy “points” in order to play it. You won’t be charged without authorization, but it can be a little deceptive when some of the free apps turn out to be not that free after all.

whitetigress's avatar

Indeed, unless stated otherwise.

jerv's avatar

They are free, but they may be crippled. Last I checked, only about 25–30% of iOS apps were free, and most of those were “Lite” versions of paid software though, but at least the free versions won’t ever cost you a cent.

gorillapaws's avatar

The mechanism that the creator of Apps have to use in their code so they can bill you explicitly requires a notification that they are charging you X dollars and you always have the option to say no to this. It was designed this way explicitly to prevent shady programmers from stealing money from people. You don’t need to worry about them using your credit card (they never directly get your Credit Card info) Apple makes all of the charges and sends the developers of the paid apps their share of the money.

If someone ever manages to bypass this and steal your money anyways (which is probably close to impossible), then Apple would close down their account and refund your money. Their whole App store economy is based on users trusting Apple with their credit cards, and I’m certain they would do everything in their power to honor that trust.

lillycoyote's avatar

@gorillapaws Unless it happens to be your own 5-year old. :-) The only reason I know about the 15 minute password thing is that I read a story about a woman who entered her password into whatever iThing it was, I don’t remember if it was a iPhone or an iPad, to download a “free” game for her 5 year old daughter not knowing two things 1. that her password entry was good for 15 minutes rather than necessary for each purchase and 2. that inside the “free” game were a gazillion opportunities to buy things for gameplay; I guess things like characters, props, settings, etc. then she handed the iThing to her daughter. When the woman got her email invoice from Apple it turned out that in that 15 minutes her 5 year old had gone on quite the shopping spree, just in the game itself, not really knowing any better, being only 5, and racked up hundreds of dollars in charges. The woman made a pretty big stink and fought like a dog with Apple and I believe they eventually rescinded the charges.

gorillapaws's avatar

@lillycoyote but there is still a pop-up note to accept the purchase with the amount each time (even though you only have to enter your password every 15-minutes). In other words, it’s impossible for the app to secretly make those purchases for you without your (or your unsupervised 5-year-old’s) explicit consent.

lillycoyote's avatar

@gorillapaws I know that. It’s the 5 year old that didn’t completely understand the implications. :-) Nor did the mother know that because her password was good for 15 minutes that the child would be able to make purchases in the game. Perhaps Apple shouldn’t have rescinded the charges and allowed it to be a very expensive lesson for the mother. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure they did rescind the charges; that’s just kind of the way I remember it. But, to refer to the child as being “unsupervised” is a little unfair, I think. That the child may not have been sitting in the mother’s lap while she played the game so that the mother could observe every screen touch doesn’t mean she was unsupervised.

jerv's avatar

That is another reason I don’t trust others with my toys.
It goes double for small children who have no idea about money.

@lillycoyote Unless someone has enough knowledge or common sense to avoid any unforeseen circumstances not involving an act of gawd, anything other than watching over their shoulder is unsupervised.
Then again, I might have a different take on things simply because I cannot count the number of times I have been in a position where not watching somebody like a hawk until they demonstrate proficiency could lead to serious injury (or possible death!) to multiple people.
Computers can be as dangerous as cars, if not moreso; an i[Pad/Pod/Phone] can merely drain your wallet, while an OKK Computer-controlled milling machine can send shrapnel around the room. I would not want anyone who did not appreciate those dangers and know how to avoid them operate whatever it is that presented those dangers.

vnaccounting's avatar

Should be free. But, Some times some apps, during downloading ask for payment.

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