Nowadays, most parents tend to share an iPad or an iPhone with their kids.
But besides the advantages, there are also many ways for kids to get into trouble while using these devices. Unfiltered, unrestricted access to the internet and other features in iOS is not a good idea for children of a variety of ages.
If you are a parent and are concerned about this problem, then you’re in the right place!
Fortunately, iOS has two features that allow you to set up parental controls to keep your kids safe and limit what they can access on the device. They are named Guided Access and Restrictions
By using Restrictions (also known as Parental Controls), you can restrict your kids’ access to apps and contents on your device, while Guided Acces is used if you just hand your iPad to kids temporarily.
Let’s take a detailed look at how to use these features.
With Restrictions, you can lock out Safari, Camera, Facetime, Siri, AirDrop, CarPlay, App Store or iBooks, as well as content by age rating, and the access to many other features. For example, from the Websites setting under Allowed Content, you can allow all websites, limit adult content, or allow only sites you specify. This feature is an excellent solution if you want to lock down some parts on your kids’ device all the time.
To set up Restrictions (Parental Controls), open the Settings app and then navigate to General > Restrictions. Hit “Enable Restrictions” bar at the top of the page so you can continue to set up further. This passcode can be different from the lock screen passcode, but if you forget it, you’ll need to either restore from a backup or restore your device as new.
Ok, now you are able to adjust the parental control restrictions.
The Allow Section
From here, you can set different restrictions to many default applications that come with the device such as Safari, Camera, App Store, AirDrop, FaceTime, and iTunes.
You can also turn off the ability to install new apps, delete apps and make in-app purchases. Having these turned off, you can assure your kids are free to play but won’t be able to buy anything, saving you from a nasty credit card bill.
The Allowed Content Section
You can limit your kids’ access to content such as music, podcasts, movies, books, apps and websites based on their rating levels or age-appropriateness. For example, tap the Apps option and you can choose which types of apps your kids can install. If you child is five years old, you would select the 4+ age rating.
The most useful part, as I’ve mentioned in the beginning, is the Websites section. You can choose Limit Adult Content and the device will not be able to access adult websites. But note that, this may also limit access to some sites that your kids really need access to for school. Another option is “Specific Websites Only”, you can set up a list of websites and your kids can access these websites only.
Other settings allow you to lock certain privacy and system settings, preventing them from being changed. For example, a photo editing app may request access to your camera roll and you can stop this access here. You can also prevent changes to accounts like your mail, contacts, and calendars.
Finally, the last section is Game Center, which lets you choose whether your child can play multiplayer games or add friends in Game Center.
2. Guided Access
As I said before, Guided Access is ideal for temporarily handing your iPad or iPhone to a kid. It’s useful but often overlooked by many parents.
This feature allows you to lock your device to a single app. So if you open an app, turn Guided Access on and then hand your device to your kid, they can only use the specific app that you’ve locked to. They can’t quit and do something else because they will be prompted with the passcode that you set before.
To set up Guided Access, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. All you have to do is turn on the Guided Access slider and set a new passcode. You can use the same passcode that you use to unlock your device or a different one. If your device has Touch ID sensor, you will also see the “Touch ID” option here.
The Time Limits option lets you configure time limit sounds. By default, if you set a time limit before starting Guided Access mode, it will end silently. So if you’d like an audible alert when the time limit is up, use the Sound and Speak options here.
To use this feature, open the app that your kid needs to use. While launching the app, press the Home button three times then you’ll see the Guided Access screen showing up.
From this screen, you are able to either enable or disable Sleep/Wake Button, Volume Buttons, Motion, Keyboard, and Touch within the app. You can also set any time limit you want in increments of one minute, from one minute to 23 hours and 59 minutes. Once you’ve done setting it all, tap the Start button located at the top-right corner of the screen to activate the Guided Access mode.
Now your child can use the app normally but they won’t be able to switch to another app or go back to the home screen. If they try to tap the Home button to leave the app, the message saying ‘Guided Access is enabled’ will appear at the top of the screen and the app is still.
If you set a time limit, then your device will lock itself when the limit expires.
To leave this mode at any time, just perform a triple-click on the Home button again, you’ll see the interface similar to what you see when you activate the mode. Tap the End button at top left corner and then enter the passcode you set up earlier to exit.
3. Family Sharing
With Family Sharing, you can create a specific Apple ID for a child under age 13. This unlocks one of the best Family Sharing features: Ask to Buy. When your child wants to buy something from iTunes Store or App Store, the sale must be approved by you (or another member of the family who is the Family Organizer) first.
To set up and use Family Sharing, go to Settings > iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing… > Get Started and then follow the on-screen instructions.
While setting it up, you will need a valid credit or debit card to be attached to your account. Just go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Tap on your Apple ID, now select View Apple ID > Payment Information and add your credit card.
When you add a new family member, notice the text at the bottom that reads “Want to add a child who doesn’t have an account? Create an Apple ID for a child.” . Tap on it and follow the onscreen instructions to set up your child’s account.
Once the account has been created, use it to log in App Store on your child’s device. From now on, when your child requests to buy a game or app, the confirmation will arrive almost instantly to your device, letting you decide if the purchase should be processed.