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How to set up parental controls on your iPhone or iPad

Restrictions, also known as Parental Controls, let you manage which features, apps, and content your kids can and can't access on the iPhone or iPad. Before you can turn anything specific off, however, you need to enable Restrictions in Settings.

This involves creating a passcode to prevent anyone else — especially oh-so-clever kids — from just turning everything back on again. Once you've got everything set up according to your child's age and temperament, along with your own personal preferences, however, they can use an iPhone or iPad without you having to worry that they'll see or hear anything inappropriate, change anything they shouldn't be changing, or buy anything they shouldn't be buying — including in-app purchases!

What can I restrict with parental controls?

The Restrictions section of the Settings app offers many options: You can restrict certain apps, content types and ratings, device functions (like deleting apps), privacy settings, cellular data usage, and more.

  • How to use parental controls on iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

How to enable restrictions for iPhone and iPad

In iOS 12, restricting access to any content falls under the new Screen Time feature.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Turn On Screen Time.

  1. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  2. Enter a four-digit passcode.
  3. Re-enter the four-digit passcode.

Now you can choose what type of content to block, including in-app purchases, adult websites, location sharing, and a lot more!

Questions?

Do you need more information on how to enable Restrictions? Let us know in the comments below.

Updated March 2019: Updated for iOS 12.

Luke Filipowicz
Luke Filipowicz

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.

2 Comments
  • Hi I have set up all parental controls on my kids apple devices however it has been a bit tricky for my teen... for example i dont mind him having YouTube but i really don't want him on apps like Holla (which he has already discovered ) i know the solution is to place a General block on apps for age 17+..however this would also block YouTube and the kidstube version is definetely too young for him. Is there a way u can block specific apps individually? Or allow one to slip thru like perhaps YouTube? Thnks for ur help :)
  • We also need a parent control blocking all images in texting. Kids have access to explicit images and videos right within the basic text messaging app.