How to restrict private data access with parental controls on your iPhone or iPad

The Parental Controls feature (also known as Restrictions) lets you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can and can't access on your iPhone or iPad. That includes not only blocking apps from accessing your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, Bluetooth sharing, microphone, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and advertising settings, but also preventing your child from accidentally or intentionally changing those privacy settings. Not only can that keep your data safe, but keep your kids safer as well.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to stop new apps from having access to data on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11 or earlier

Note: Before you start you'll need to have restrictions enabled.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Restrictions.

    Launch the Setting app, tap on General, and then tap on Restrictions.

  4. Tap on the type of data you want to restrict. You're options are:
    • Location services
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Photos
    • Share My Location
    • Bluetooth Sharing
    • Microphone
    • Speech Recognition
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Advertising
    • Media & Apple Music
  5. Tap Don't Allow Changes

    Tap the type of data you want to restrict and tap on Don't Allow Changes.

If you want to be able to have new apps access your data, follow these steps again, but tap on Allow Changes.

How to stop new apps from having access to data on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

Before you start, you'll need to make sure you have set up Screen Time on your iOS 12 device.

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

  4. Tap on the type of data you want to restrict. You're options are:
    • Location services
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Photos
    • Share My Location
    • Bluetooth Sharing
    • Microphone
    • Speech Recognition
    • Media & Apple Music
  5. Tap Don't Allow Changes

If you want to be able to have new apps access your data, follow these steps again, but tap on Allow Changes.

How to stop specific apps from having access to data on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11 or earlier

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Restrictions.

    Launch the Setting app, tap on General, and then tap on Restrictions.

  4. Tap on the type of data you want to restrict. You're options are:
    • Location services
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Photos
    • Share My Location
    • Bluetooth Sharing
    • Microphone
    • Speech Recognition
    • Advertising
    • Media & Apple Music
  5. Tap on the On/Off switch beside the app you want to restrict. When the switch is gray, that means the app won't be able to access the data anymore.

    Tap the type of data you want to restrict and then tap on the On/Off switch*beside the app you want to restrict.

How to stop specific apps from having access to data on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

Before you start, you'll need to make sure you have set up Screen Time on your iOS 12 device.

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

  4. Tap on the type of data you want to restrict. You're options are:
    • Location services
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Photos
    • Share My Location
    • Bluetooth Sharing
    • Microphone
    • Speech Recognition
    • Advertising
    • Media & Apple Music
  5. Tap on the app you want to restrict
  6. Tap on the type of access you want to give that app.

Questions?

Do you have any other questions about restrictions or privacy settings? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated August 2018: Added steps for iOS 12.

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