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What is the difference between a "managed in-app product" and an in-app product that is not managed?

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    Welcome to Android Enthusiasts StackExchange :) However this question warrants a answer bordering on development related hence, voting to close as its off topic, should check Google main site for the information and also here on StackOverflow's question that explains the differences :)
    – t0mm13b
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:25
  • I was wondering why OP wanted to know this, from a user perspective or a development one? Posted an answer anyway as it seemed borderline and could be reasonable for the site.
    – Peanut
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:29
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    I think this is in a gray enough area to stay here. I can imagine your run-of-the-mill Android user wanting to know this.
    – ale
    Dec 19, 2012 at 4:06

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The short answer is that managed items are items that can only be purchased once per user and that Google Play keeps track of their purchase, unmanaged items aren't tracked by Google Play and they can be purchased multiple times.

A fuller description is given in Google's In-app Billing Version 2:

Managed per user account — Items that can be purchased only once per user account on Google Play. When a user purchases an item that uses the "managed per user account" product type, Google Play permanently stores the transaction information for each item on a per-user basis. This enables you to later query Google Play to restore the state of the items a specific user has purchased. If a user attempts to purchase a managed item that has already been purchased, Google Play prevents the user from purchasing the item again and displays an "Item already purchased" error.

The "managed" product type is useful if you are selling items such as game levels or application features. These items are not transient and usually need to be restored whenever a user reinstalls your application, wipes the data on their device, or installs your application on a new device.

Unmanaged — Items that do not have their transaction information stored on Google Play. This means that you cannot later query Google Play to retrieve transaction information for those items. For "unmanaged" purchases, you are responsible for managing the transaction information. Also, Google Play does not attempt to prevent the user from purchasing an item multiple times if it uses the "unmanaged" product type. It's up to you to control how many times an unmanaged item can be purchased.

The "unmanaged" product type is useful if you are selling consumable items, such as fuel or magic spells. These items are consumed within your application and are usually purchased multiple times.

Note that only version 2 of the in-app billing deals with both managed and unmanaged, version 3 only deals with the managed in-app product type.

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