Parental Controls on iOS – What Are They and How to Use Them

by - 16 April 2022
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Technology is everywhere these days and the most common place to find it is in the palm of your kid’s hand, in the form of an iPhone or iPad. If you have at least one Apple device in your home or within your child’s reach, you also have some powerful tools at your disposal for making sure that you can help keep them safe while online and limit their access to explicit or costly content. Here are the best parental controls on iOS, as well as how to use them.

Limiting Overall Screen Time

Before you will have the ability to enact parental controls, you will need to make sure Screen Time For Family is installed and set up. Once you have verified you have that feature enabled, head into your app list and open the Settings app. Once inside the Settings app, tap Screen Time, then tap Turn On Screen Time.

You’ll then be shown a summary of the Screen Time functions and features, which will require you to tap Continue. If you will be restricting your child’s access, select This Is My Child’s iPhone. From there, tap Downtime, and then set the parameters that you would like your child’s phone to be offline. Remember that setting offline parental controls will still allow texts and calls to come through during offline time.

Limiting App Usage

From the Downtime settings, you can press the Back button once, then select App Limits. Here, you can set time limits for various app types. You will be able to set time limits for usage of messaging apps, social media apps, games, and more. Simply make your choices and then tap Set App Limit to finalise the changes.

Before you finish up, tap the Back button once more, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, and toggle it on. It will then ask you to set a passcode to secure the feature, this will prevent your child from changing the options. If you have iOS 13.4 or later, you will need to also verify account ownership by entering your Apple ID and password.

Restricting iTunes & App Store Purchases

To prevent your child from unauthorised downloads or purchases, navigate the Settings app to the Screen Time option, and tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If you’ve already set a passcode, you will need to enter it here to proceed. Then tap iTunes & App Store Purchases, and select Don’t Allow wherever you like.

Limit Browsing And Web Access

Also in the Content & Privacy Restrictions is the ability to restrict web access. Once you are in Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions, tap Content Restrictions and navigate to Web Content. From here, you’ll have two options, either whitelist specific sites and block all others with Allowed Websites Only or just restrict adult content with Limit Adult Websites.

Restricting Siri’s Power

Even when other content is restricted, there is the possibility that Siri can be used as a workaround. To prevent this you’ll need to restrict what Siri is allowed to do as well as access. To do this, head to your Settings app, and tap Screen Time.

From there, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, then tap Content Restrictions. You’ll need to scroll down to the Siri heading. Here you will be able to stop Siri from accessing any web content or performing any internet searches when asked a question. With this setting, you can also prevent Siri from displaying any explicit or objectionable language in its responses.

Block Explicit Content

Another thing you can do is to block all explicit content, by tapping Content Restrictions in Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions, and adjusting the settings as you see fit. These settings can be used for blocking videos, music, news, and even podcasts. It can even restrict sharing of certain content with friends, and even book content or apps with disallowed ratings.

Disabling Specific Apps

If you need to block built-in apps that cannot be uninstalled, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions, enter your passcode, then tap Allowed Apps. You’ll be given a toggle for every app, simply turn off the ones you want to restrict. Remember that this will not delete them, it will just hide them and prevent access.

Using Parental Controls To Make Safe Browsing Simple

The Content & Privacy Restrictions can seem overwhelming at first, but once you know what content or behaviour you want to limit, you will be able to easily restrict potentially harmful content. Just make sure you don’t forget your passcode.