Quick Guide to Parental Controls for iOS Devices

Quick Guide to Parental Controls for iOS

Quick Guide to Parental Controls for iOS Devices

When it comes to availability of apps and ease of use, it’s hard to beat iOS. Yes, you heard that straight from the mouth of this Android girl.

Although iPads are a bit pricier than Kindle, they are hands-down the device you want if you have a special needs learner. The selection of apps available for iOS is amazing. But, that also means parents need to take advantage of the Parental Controls for iOS if kids are using their iPad or iPhone.

Take a few minutes when you first purchase your device to familiarize yourself with the settings. That time you spend personalizing the settings you deem appropriate for your child can save them from being exposed to content that’s not appropriate for them.

iOS devices have the ability to set Restrictions. These are also known and serve as Parental Controls for iOS. For the sake of this guide I’m going to use the term Restrictions because that’s the term you’ll see on your iPad or iPhone. Restrictions let you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can use on the iPhone or iPad. With Restrictions, you can lock out Safari, Camera, FaceTime, Siri, AirDrop, and CarPlay. You can also block access to iTunes, iBooks, Podcasts, or App Stores. This includes in-app purchases.

Restrictions also give you the ability to set up content by age rating and make changes to accounts and other app settings. With Restrictions, parents have a way to block access to anything they deem inappropriate for their child based on age and sensitivity.

You’re able to be the parent and use your own best judgment. This ability to really customize the settings is what makes iOS ideal for families. So, let’s learn about these settings.

Before you can turn any feature off, you need to enable Restrictions in Settings.

This involves creating a passcode to prevent anyone from just turning everything back on again. And remember, anyone with the passcode is able to change the settings (this includes your kids)! The Parental Controls for iOS, or any device, are only effective if kids can’t manipulate them. Be sure you use a passcode your kids and others who know you will not be able to figure out.

To set up your Passcode:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Restrictions and then Enable Restrictions.
  4. Set your Passcode.

image showing how to set up Parental Controls for iOS by setting up a passcode


The Passcode is set, now where do I start with Restrictions?

Remember, Restrictions let you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can and cannot access on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Most of the content in the iTunes Store is rated. This includes music and podcasts, movies, TV shows, and App Store games and apps. So, if you don’t want to block entire stores like iTunes or apps like Safari you can still block content based on its age rating. Siri commands can be restricted based on explicit language and web access, and adult content or specific URLs on Safari can be restricted.

You can set the ratings region for restrictions to any country you like. You can even set it for a country you don’t currently live in. This feature is great for those who have moved to a new country but would like to keep their iOS settings to one that’s more familiar.

Let’s clarify what the apps and services do so you can make the best decision about how to adjust the restrictions for your kids.

  • AirDrop: AirDrop lets users wirelessly transfer files between other iPhones and iPads. Depending on settings, the device may be viewable to anyone, which means anyone can send files to the device.
  • Camera: Camera is Apple’s picture and video taking app. This feature can be turned off.
  • CarPlay: CarPlay allows you to pair your iPhone with your car. If you have a car that is CarPlay enabled and you don’t want to give a young driver the ability to pair their iPhone with the car, disable CarPlay.
  • FaceTime: FaceTime is Apple’s video and audio calling app. It allows you to communicate with anyone who has your iPhone number or registered email address for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. This is a great way for families and friends to stay connected. But, you can disable it if you have young kids who tend to make or take calls without your knowledge. Or worse yet, surprise you in the bathroom with a call from your mom!
  • Safari: Safari is Apple’s web browser. With it, any page on the web is viewable. You can selectively disable content based on age rating. So you don’t need to disable Safari totally in order to have a handle on web content.
  • Siri: Siri is Apple’s digital voice assistant. There are tons of questions you can ask Siri. You can also give Siri commands. Siri does a host of things. But you can disable Siri and use Voice Control instead. Voice Control only allows basic commands.

To set up Restrictions for any feature:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Select Restrictions.
  4. Enter your Passcode.
  5. Begin setting Restrictions for features as needed.

image showing how to set up Parental Controls for iOS by setting restrictions for features


Remember, you can turn any or all of these off, and then selectively turn any or all of them back on when you’re around and supervising your child.

For example, you can have FaceTime off, but turn it on again for a call to the grandparents. Or, you can have Camera off, but turn it on again for a nature walk. And some settings you might want to disable only for a period of time. Kids learn and grow.

They’ll learn as you walk beside them and teach them what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Restrictions give you lots of options. Use them as your kids learn and grow. The Parental Controls for iOS or any device are meant to protect your kids. Don’t be tempted to overuse them. Instead teach your kids to use technology wisely and begin to roll back parental controls as they grow.





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