What Do You Think of In-App Purchases in Paid Apps?

We all know the annoyance of in-app purchases. Sometimes you find out before you download the app and sometimes afterwards, whether it’s for your desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet. These extra purchases are also referred to as microtransactions and in-app billing. However, there are occasions when it goes one step further. Sometimes you finally make the decision to dole out that money for that app that you’ve been desiring, and then you find out they want even more money from you. That paid app will have an in-app purchase. We asked our writers, “What do you think of in-app purchases in paid apps?

Our Opinion

Most of our staff here at Make Tech Easier seems to feel the same. Being asked to pay more for an app after you’ve already paid for it just doesn’t feel right.

Trevor is not a fan but does see at least one advantage. “The only benefit I see is not needing to download two apps (free and paid) when you want the pro features.” Damien is also not a fan. He explained he would never buy an app that has in-app purchases as it’s “like making you pay double for the features.”

Phil points out that the purpose of in-app purchases it to help monetize free apps by adding features. “If you have a paid app, then you don’t need to monetize – you already did.” Even if there’s a pro version with more features, he thinks the app companies “come off as greedy and make users irritated.”

Simon thinks the whole idea “sounds very greedy.” With a note that the majority of apps exist with either up-front costs, demo versions, or free software with paid modular features, he thinks putting two of those ideas together in one app seems like “trying to have fingers in many pies.” He notes he’d feel very cheated in that circumstance.


Derrik notes than when he pays for an app or a game he likes to think he’s getting the product they are selling. He understands the companies are trying to make more money but thinks if they’re charging for microtransactions on top of the purchase price, “perhaps they should rethink their business model,” as “being nickel and dimed to death is the worst.”

Robert recognizes the “stigma” attached to in-app purchases, yet there is so much “scope for what it actually means that it can be confusing.” He doesn’t expect to have to pay for a game and then buy in-app purchases to keep up with it. He expects his paid apps to be feature-complete, and in-app purchases need to be like “bonuses on top of that rather than filling in holes intentionally left by the developer.” He notes he’s always wary of in-app purchases not knowing how much will be locked off to him.

For Christopher it all depends on the nature of the purchases. He believes “microtransactions with premium games/apps are fine if they are used to fund the further development of an application.” Yet, there are also times they’re used from the very first moment “to make a consumer pay extra when they’ve already paid the asking price.” He’s seen some gaming titles “still have microtransactions for faster progression through the game which is insane when you’ve already paid for it.” However he sees it as completely reasonable to do that and add ads in free apps.

While Jeffrey despises in-app purchases, he admits “there are times when the act is justified by the value the purchase provides,” such as a niche-specific paid content/informational apps like a medical database app offering interviews or seminars with medical professionals. “It’s not always about greed but sometimes about sustainable economy.” He believes it goes back to whether or not the app price plus the in-app purchase price is worth it.

I have to agree with the majority here. While I’m not always happy to find out there are in-app purchases in free apps, I do understand it. And I then appreciate being able to use the app for free before I decide if I want to plunk down the money for those added features. But there is absolutely no way I would do that with an app I already paid for. I agree that it comes off as greedy.

Your Opinion

Do you think it’s greedy to ask you to pay even more on top of what you’ve already spent? Do you just see it as app companies doing business to pay the rent? How do you look at this issue? What do you think of in-app purchases in paid apps? Join our conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments section below.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox