How to restrict Game Center with parental controls for iPhone or iPad

How to restrict Game Center with parental controls on your iPhone or iPad

Parental Controls, also known as Restrictions, let you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can and can't access on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. That includes preventing your child from engaging in multiplayer games or adding friends on Apple's social gaming network, Game Center. Like any social network, Game Center can be a great way to add some friendly cooperating or competition. However, not everyone your kids run into on Game Center will be friendly. There may be bullies or people with ulterior motives. That's why Apple makes it easy to make sure your children are only playing with people you know about and approve of.

How to block adding friends and playing multiplayer games in Game Center

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Restrictions.
  4. Tap on Enable Restrictions at the very top if they aren't turned on already. If they are, skip to step 6.
  5. Choose a 4-digit passcode that only you will know. Never give this to your child.
  6. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the restrictions page and you'll find the Game Center section. Turn Off the options for Multiplayer Games and Adding Friends.

If and when your child wants to play a multiplayer game or add a friend, or wants you to add a friend for them, you can temporarily disable the block and do just that, then re-enable it when you're done.

How to get more help with Parental Control restrictions for iPhone and iPad

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to restrict Game Center with parental controls for iPhone or iPad


It is important for parents to be aware that this setting only applies to apps that use Game Center and only to connections that are made through Game Center. There are many apps where having the multiplayer setting in the off position does not prevent multiplayer use or in app chat rooms. An excellent example is Minecraft PE which is rated for ages 4+. The multiplayer component of this game is called Realms and does not use Game Center. Your child will be able to connect to online servers with open unmonitored chat if they have WiFi enabled or a cellular connection. The only way to prevent the connection is to turn off the WiFi. Clash of Clans rated 9+ is another popular game with chat where only Game Center connections are disabled by the setting, the game can still be played without Game Center Friends and the language in the chat can be quite inappropriate. My suggestion is to open any apps you download for your child, because the content ratings do not take into account any foreseeable objectionable content that could arise during in game chat. Words With Friends is a lovely app that I use to help teach my kids spelling, it is rated age 4+ and has in game chat. The content of the game does in fact deserve a rating of everyone, but in my opinion; game chat is best restricted to mature tweens and teens.