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How to block websites in Safari on iPhone and iPad

iPhone X with reddit restricted on Safari due to content restrictions
(Image credit: iMore / Future)

Do you have a young child or teenager with an iPhone or iPad? Or maybe they just use yours from time to time to keep themselves entertained. Yeah,  we get it. But let's not forget that there is plenty of, well, unsavory content out there on the internet that you might not want your kids to see. Thankfully, Apple lets you control the type of content that one can access when browsing on the iPhone and iPad, as long as it's Safari.

With parental controls on current iPhones, such as the iPhone 13 Pro, you can automatically set limits and restrictions in Safari, like blacklisted and whitelisted sites, so your kid won't see the content on a link that they shouldn't have tapped on.

Here's how to block websites in Safari and manage the parental controls and restrictions for web content.

How to limit adult content in Safari for iPhone and iPad

If you're not overly worried and just want to try to prevent your kids from hitting links that take them to adult material, or there are only a few sites you want to make sure they never land on, you can use the automatic settings and the blacklist feature. Before you start, you'll need to make sure you have set up Screen Time on your device.

  1. Launch Settings from the home screen.
  2. Choose Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, tap on the Settings app, then choose Screen Time. Choose Content & Privacy Restrictions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  2. Select Content Restrictions.
  3. Tap Web Content.
  4. Choose Limit Adult Websites.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions, then select Content Restrictions. Tap Web Content. Choose Limit Adult Websites. (Image credit: iMore)

How to block specific websites in Safari for iPhone and iPad

If limiting adult content isn't enough, or you happen to notice a URL that has slipped through the cracks, you can always block any URL you want with restrictions.

  1. Launch Settings from the home screen.
  2. Choose Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, tap on the Settings app, then choose Screen Time. Choose Content & Privacy Restrictions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  2. Select Content Restrictions.
  3. Tap Web Content.
  4. Choose Limit Adult Websites

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions, then select Content Restrictions. Tap Web Content. Choose Limit Adult Websites. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Add a Website under NEVER ALLOW.
  2. Type the URL of the website you wish to block in the Website field.
  3. Select Back at the top left.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, tap Add a Website under Never Allow. Type the URL of the website to block. Choose Back. (Image credit: iMore)

Repeat this process for each site you'd like to block. Keep in mind that if certain websites have mobile sites, you may need to block them separately. If you find a site that's still getting through after you attempt to block it, visit that site and look in the Address Bar of Safari to make sure you're blocking the correct URL. Copy it if you need to and paste it into restrictions.

How to block everything and whitelist only specific sites in Safari for iPhone and iPad

For very young children, or if you simply want to make sure nothing is accessible except what you specifically allow, you can disable everything and then only turn back on the sites you consider absolutely permissible, like Apple or Disney.

  1. Launch Settings from the home screen.
  2. Choose Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, tap on the Settings app, then choose Screen Time. Choose Content & Privacy Restrictions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  2. Select Content Restrictions.
  3. Tap Web Content.
  4. Choose Allowed Websites. This setting means only the websites you add are allowed to come through, and everything else is blocked.

To limit adult content in Safari on iPhone, toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions, then select Content Restrictions. Tap Web Content. Choose Limit Adult Websites. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Add Website.
  2. Add Title and URL for a custom website that you wish to add to your allow list.
  3. Choose Back.

To block everything and whitelist only specific sites in Safari, tap Add Website. Add the Title and URL of the website. Choose Back. (Image credit: iMore)

Keep unwanted content off your kids' devices

The internet is a big place, and there are tons of precarious content out there. For those with young kids and teenagers, it's best to keep them safe from unwanted, probably NSFW content. Thankfully, Apple makes this very easy to do if you are using Safari.

This is also not just limited to those with kids either. Perhaps you just don't want to see gross websites while you browse. If you have certain websites you just prefer to avoid altogether, just restrict Safari from being able to access them for the best iPhone experience.

While these steps are still accurate in iOS 15, they should also be the same once iOS 16 and the iPhone 14 come out later this year.

Updated July 2022: Updated for the latest versions of iOS 15 and iOS 16 betas.

Christine Chan
Senior Editor

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

With contributions from