Clark’s App Warning for iPhone and Android Users

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The ability to download apps with cool features and functionalities is one my favorite parts about having a cell phone. And while many of these apps are free, there are plenty that aren’t. Money expert Clark Howard has a simple warning that can protect your wallet when you are shopping for paid apps.

Are You Overpaying for Purchases Inside Apple and Android Apps?

“Know that with the apps you’re using, you’re usually paying much more than you have to,” Clark says.

He says both Google and Apple have made a habit of overcharging users who pay to download apps as well as those who make in-app purchases in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store.

In-app purchases and the revenue they generate have become controversial topics for the two tech giants. To understand why, we have to take a look at the pay structures that Apple and Google have required app developers to abide by.

What Apple and Google Charge App Developers Trickles Down to You

Apple mandates that developers pay a commission fee between 15 and 30% to have their paid apps housed in the App Store. Google has a similar policy for placement in Google Play.

Saddled with these high fees, the app developers often pass these charges along to consumers.

Clark says what Apple and Google are doing restricts freedom of choice for consumers and burdens the app makers.

“What these two have been doing is they’re using their shared monopoly control over the ecosystem of phones to put up ‘toll gates’ to rip you off,” Clark says. “In a lot of cases, you’re not even aware how much you’re being ripped off.”

How Much Are You Paying for That Mobile App?

Here are some examples of price differences between the two major app stores. We’ve also added the price of the app on the developer’s website, where applicable.

One example is the music app Pandora, which has a “freemium” pricing model, which means you can listen to music for free in its basic version, but pay for more features like its Premium service.

How Much Does Pandora Premium Cost?

More Price Differences Among Popular Apps

For Alto’s Adventure, the iOS version costs $4.99 while the Android version is free.

You’ll pay $2.99 for stargazing app Skyview in Apple’s App Store. Meanwhile, in the Google Play Store it will cost you $1.99.


Baby app The Wonder Weeks costs $5.99 in Apple’s App Store, but costs $6.49 on Android platforms.

Final Thought

If you’re someone who buys paid apps, the bottom line is that you should check the manufacturer’s website to see if you can get it cheaper.

In many cases, you may find that the developer’s price matches one of the app stores, but in some cases, you may find that it’s cheaper. If you want that same app for your desktop computer you may even find that the Microsoft version (which works with your Windows computer) is free!

Clark wants you to look not only at the price differences between app stores, but consider the device you’ll be installing the software on. Those factors will determine what you should pay.

“I want you to be aware enough that you go outside of doing purchases inside the Apple device or the Google device — the Android or the iPhone — and pay for the services you’re doing on the website. Remember, that’s the difference,” Clark says.

Read our guide on how to save money on apps.

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