How to Fix Ask To Buy Not Working on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

How to Fix Ask To Buy Not Working on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

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Apple Family Sharing comes with a feature known as “Ask to Buy” that’s a must-use for people who share a payment method with their family group, especially if the family group has children in it. While Ask to Buy is a wonderful feature, unfortunately, many users have been facing troubles with it.

Sometimes family organizers don’t receive notifications for requests. At other times, even when “Ask to Buy” is enabled and their child requests approval for the purchase from the family organizer, they might see the message “Unable to Ask Permission. You can’t ask permission because you have signed in with iCloud and iTunes accounts that are not associated with each other.

There could be many reasons why you’re facing these troubles. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix them and get things working like clockwork again. Whether you are not getting any Ask to Buy notifications or if your child sees “unable to ask permission” after requesting a purchase from the family organizer, we’ll cover fixes for every situation.

1. Make Sure You’re Using a Supported Device

Family Sharing can be set up on iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 or later and on Mac with macOS Yosemite or later. On an unsupported device, you will still need to request permission when making a purchase. However, you won’t receive a notification if the organizer allows or denies your request. So, if Ask to Buy is not working for you make sure you’re using a supported device.

2. Restart Your Device

Restarting your device is the age-old fix that can help with plenty of issues. The same is true for this case. You can either normally restart your device or force restart it for this fix. As force restart is generally preferred in situations where you can’t normally restart your device. Since this isn’t one of those situations, we’re going to restart the device normally. Once your device has restarted, check if the issue persists.

3. Make Sure Ask To Buy is On

Ask To Buy is turned on by default for any children under 13. But if you previously turned it off or if the children are above 13 years old, make sure that the feature is enabled. A parent or guardian can easily turn on or off Ask to Buy using their own device. Here’s how you can enable the feature:

On iPhone and iPad

1. Go to the Settings app on your device.

2. Then, tap Family.

Family Settings

3. Select the person, then tap on Ask to Buy.

Ask to Buy on iPhone
Credit: Apple

4. Then turn the option for Require Purchase approval to on if it isn’t already.

Turn On Ask to Buy

On Mac

1. Go to Apple Menu > System Settings from the menu bar.

System Settings 1

2. Select Family from the options on the left.

Tap Family in Mac Settings

3. Select the person.

Select the Person

4. From the sidebar, click Ask to Buy.

Ask to Buy on Mac
Credit: Apple

5. Toggle the button to On or Off for Require purchase approval.

4. Check Your Notification Center If Ask to Buy Notifications are Missing

If the Ask to Buy notifications are missing, you can check them at the notification center of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Here’s how you can go to the notification center on each device.

On iPhone and iPad

1. If the phone is locked, swipe up from the middle of the lock screen to see the notifications.

2. If the screen is unlocked and you are anywhere else, swipe down from the center of the top of the screen.

Ask to Buy Notifications on iPhone
Credit: Apple

On Mac

1. Either click on the date in the upper right corner of the screen.

2. Or, with two fingers, swipe left from the right edge of the trackpad. Notifications will show up at the top of the notification center.

Ask to Buy Notifications on Mac

5. Check Family Sharing Settings

Whether you’re not seeing the requests or it’s your child that’s getting the “unable to ask permission” error, checking the Family Sharing settings can help fix the issue.

On iPhone and iPad

1. Go to the Settings app.

Settings app iPhone

2. Click on Family. If that option is not available, then tap on your name and click Family Sharing.

Family Settings

3. If you are using the organizer device, check that Purchase Sharing is on.

Purchase Sharing Settings iPhone

4. Then, check that the Ask to Buy option is turned on for the members listed by tapping on their names.

On Mac

1. Go to Apple Menu > System Settings.

System Settings 1

2. Tap Family. In Purchase Sharing check that Share My Purchases is on if you are Organizer.

Turn on Purchase Sharing

3. Tap the member name and then tap on Ask to Buy to see if the option is on or off.

Ask to Buy on Mac

6. Check Which Apple ID You’re Signed Into

Whether you’re facing the issue on the organizer device or the child’s device, make sure that you’re signed in with the correct Apple ID on the device you’re facing the issue. To share the purchases with your family, make sure you log in with the shared Apple ID at App Store, iTunes Store, Apple TV app, Apple Music app, or Apple Books.

On iPhone and iPad

1. Go to the Settings app

Settings app iPhone

2. Click on Family.

Family Settings

3. Tap your name from the list of accounts.

image 31

4. See which Apple ID is listed.

image 32

5. Now, go to Purchases.

6. Tap the Apple ID for purchases to see if you are signed in with the same Apple ID you’re using for Family Sharing. If not, then click on Share using secondary Apple ID and enter the username and password for that Apple ID.

Secondary Apple ID Family Sharing

On Mac

1. Click on Apple Menu, then go to System settings.

System Settings 1

2. Tap on Family.

3. See which Apple ID is listed under Apple ID for purchases.

Apple ID For Purchases on Mac

4. Open App Store > Account.

5. Click on account settings and see if you are signed in with the same Apple ID you were using for purchases.

Ask to Buy App Store

7. Make Sure The Content Is Supported

If you’re still facing issues with Ask to Buy, make sure that the content your child is trying to buy is supported. Ask to Buy does not work for educational content. So, if your child’s Apple ID was created for school, Ask to Buy will work for any personal purchases they’re trying to make. But you won’t receive requests for any apps or content that their school is distributing.

8. Reset Ask To Buy

If everything was in order but Ask to Buy is still acting up, a simple reset of the feature, i.e., disabling and re-enabling it, might just do the trick for you. Seeing as it’s extremely simple to disable and enable Ask to Buy, it won’t hurt to try this fix.

Note: If your child is over 18 years of age, once you disable Ask to Buy, you won’t be able to turn it back on. So, if you still want to use Ask to Buy for them, skip this fix.

On iPhone and iPad

1. Go to the Settings app on your device.

Settings app iPhone

2. Tap the option for Family. For iOS 15, tap your name at the top. Tap the Family Sharing option.

Family Settings

3. Select the person, then tap on Ask to Buy. For iOS 15 or previous versions, click Ask to Buy then select the person.

Ask to Buy on iPhone

4. Then turn the toggle for Require Purchase approval to off.

Ask to Buy Off on iPhone

Wait for a few seconds and turn it on again.

On Mac

1. Go to Apple Menu > System Settings from the menu bar.

System Settings 1

2. Select Family from the options on the left.

Tap Family in Mac Settings

3. Select the person.

Select the Person

4. Then, from the sidebar, click Ask to Buy.

Ask to Buy on Mac

5. Toggle the button for Require purchase approval to off. Turn it on after waiting for a few seconds.

Ask to Buy Off

Final Words

Ask to Buy is an amazing feature for families using the Apple ecosystem. But if it doesn’t work as expected, it can be very frustrating. Hopefully, with these fixes, these frustrations are in the past tense for you.