How to enable parental control restrictions 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 enable restrictions for 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 Settings app, tap on General, and then tap on restrictions.

  4. Tap on Enable Restrictions.
  5. Type in a passcode. You'll remember for when you need to disable restrictions again. (This can and should be completely different from your Lock screen passcode.) Make sure you note it down somewhere — if you forget the passcode, you'll have to erase your device and set it up from scratch.

    Tap on Enable Restrictions and type in a passcode.

How to enable restrictions for iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

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.

  4. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  5. Enter a four-digit passcode.
  6. 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 August 2018: Added instructions for enabling restrictions in iOS 12.