A heads-up on purchasing things in the App Store

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I posted the following this morning on macosxhints.com, but given the high level of interest in the App Store, I thought it relevant to duplicate the following heads-up here as well.

As you probably know, the iPhone App Store is now open. While working on my App Store window shopping article, though, I discovered an interesting feature (bug?) in the App Store: there’s no shopping cart.

When I buy songs at the iTunes Store, I use the shopping cart as my “wish list” storage location. I see something I may want to buy, and I add it to my cart. You control this behavior in the Store section of iTunes’ Preferences (Buy Using a Shopping Cart). When I went into the App Store for the first time, I blindly assumed that my setting to use the shopping cart in the iTunes Store would also apply to the App Store. It turns out that that is not the case.

When you click Buy in the App Store, you buy immediately. (You can see what you’ve purchased in the Applications section of iTunes 7.7’s Library. If you can’t see the Applications section, you may have disabled the Games entry in iTunes 7.6’s preferences; Applications replaces Games in iTunes 7.7.) Before I figured this out, however, I’d accidentally purchased two things. Thankfully, one is a game I’m interested in, so that’s not so bad. The other, though…anyone wanna buy a never-read e-book copy of A Tale of Two Cities? It cost me $0.99, but I’ll let it go for only $0.39! :)

So until/unless Apple modifies iTunes’ preferences to allow a shopping cart in the App Store, be very careful with that Buy button. You will purchase whatever you click immediately, without so much as even a confirmation dialog. (And because most apps are tiny, they’ll be done downloading before you can even think to cancel them.) I’m just very glad I didn’t click buy on the $69.99 ForeFlight app—although as a pilot, it looks very cool!

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