Q: My son has received numerous iTunes Gift Cards for his birthday. There are numerous websites which offer step by step instructions of how to create an account without a credit card and even offers this as an option for children so that you can monitor how much is spent but when you get to the screen on setting up an account and the question of date of birth it asks for the year and keeps telling us that he does not meet the minimum age requirement. Can you offer a solution? We do not want to put in a false id.
A: According to Apple’s Terms and Conditions for the iTunes Store, the minimum age requirement for use of the service is 13 years old. This is due primarily to the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which prohibits companies from collecting personal information online—even a full name—for children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent. In order to avoid the legal complications involved with collecting and managing a process for obtaining parental consent, many companies simply choose to make their services available only to users older than 13 years of age.
However, it appears that a parent can bypass this restriction by choosing to setup an iTunes Store account for their child as part of the “Allowance” feature, since this process does not require that a year of birth be provided in order to create a new account. To setup an allowance account for your child, simply log into your own iTunes Store account and choose the “Buy iTunes Gifts” option from the top right corner of the main iTunes Store page. From this screen you can scroll down to the “Allowances” section and follow the instructions there.
During the process of setting up an allowance you will be given the option to create a new Apple Account for the recipient, and when creating an account from here iTunes only asks you for the day and month of birth, not the year.
Note that if you don’t actually want to give your son an allowance, you can simply choose the option to “wait until the first of next month” when setting up the allowance so that no money is sent immediately, and then go back into your iTunes Store account settings and cancel the allowance. The iTunes Store account will remain in place and your son can add their own gift cards to it in order to make purchases.
You can find more information on this whole process in our Complete Guide to Using the iTunes Store.