How to restrict cellular data with Screen Time on iPhone and iPad

Screen Time on iPhone 11 Pro with iOS 13
Screen Time on iPhone 11 Pro with iOS 13 (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Parental Controls, also known as Restrictions, allow you to prevent anyone else from making changes to how you use your data on your iPhone. If you are on a tight data plan or choose not to use data, you can lock the ability to change cellular data or background refresh options. You can rest easy knowing your kids — or anyone else — won't be racking up data charges on your bill.

How to block changes to your accounts, cellular data usage, background app refresh, and volume limits on iPhone and iPad

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. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Source: iMore (Image credit: Source: iMore)
  1. Scroll down and tap on these categories to change their settings:
    • Passcode Changes
    • Account Changes
    • Cellular Data Changes
    • Volume Limit
    • Do Not Disturb While Driving
    • TV Provider
    • Background App Activities
  2. Tap Don't Allow.

Source: iMore (Image credit: Source: iMore)

If you want to allow changes to any of these settings, you can follow these same steps again, and choose to Allow them.


Do you have any other questions about restricting data usage? We'd love to hear them; leave a comment below!

Updated January 2020: Updated for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.