Set Up Parental Controls iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Set up and enable Family Sharing.
  • Set up your iOS device's Screen Time.
  • Set Downtime and App Limits.
  • Set Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  • Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases
  • Prevent explicit content and content ratings
  • Review Screen Time audits.
Before We Begin:
  • Have a working iOS device updated to iOS 12.
  • Have an Apple ID account. 
Apple logo

1 Family Sharing

With Family Sharing, you can not only share all your iTunes and App Store purchases with your family, but you can set it so that parents require that younger children ask permission before purchasing content. You can then receive a request and either accept or deny it right from your own iPhone or iPad.
A Mac, iPad, and iPhone showing the Family Sharing page

To start a Family Group:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS Settings menu highlighting the Apple ID button.
  3. Select Set Up Family Sharing.
    iOS Apple ID screen highlighting set up family sharing option.
  4. Select Get Started.
    iOS Family sharing welcome screen with get started button highlighted.
  5. Select a feature you would like to enable within Family Sharing.
    iOS Family sharing screen displaying available features.

To invite people to join your Family Sharing group:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings screen highlighting the Apple ID button.
  3. Select Family Sharing.
    iOS Apple ID menu highlighting the family sharing option.
  4. Select Add Family Member.
    iOS Family Sharing menu highlighting the add family member option.
  5. Options for adding a new family member to family sharing will appear. Select an option to begin sending an invitation to join your family sharing group.
    Add family member popup displaying available options.
    • Invite via iMessage: This will allow you to send an iMessage invitation from your iOS device to one of your contacts.
    • Invite in Person: This will allow you to send a Family Sharing invite via Email address, iOS Game Center ID, or will allow you to select someone from your contact list who may not use iMessage.
    • Create a Child Account: This will allow you to create an iCloud account for a minor child which will be tied to your Family Sharing account. Parental Controls and other permission-based features can be enforced on a Child Account. This is great for minor children in your home who may also use iOS devices.

To accept a Family Sharing invitation:

If you are invited to join a Family Sharing Group, your invitation may come in one of two forms:
  • Invitation via Email:
    Family Sharing email invitation.
    • Select Get Started to proceed with accepting your Family Sharing invite.
  • Invitation via iMessage:
    Family sharing iMessage invitation.
    • Select Tap to View Invitation to proceed with accepting your Family Sharing invite.

2 Set Up Screen Time

With Screen Time, you can access real-time reports about how much time you spend on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and set limits for what you want to manage.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Screen Time will introduce itself. Tap Continue.
    Screen time introduction>
  4. You can set a time when your device will not be used. Select your time and tap Set Downtime or tap Not Now.
    Downtime introduction
  5. App time limits can be set now or you can set them later. Tap Set App Limit or Not Now.
    App limit introduction
  6. Tap Continue.
    Context and Privacy continue
  7. Create your Passcode.
    Passcode creation

    Make sure to choose a passcode that's different from the passcode you use to unlock your device. 

  8. Re-enter your Passcode to confirm it.
    Confirming the passcode

3 Set Downtime

Downtime effectively shuts down your phone for a specific length of time, allowing access only to calls and apps you authorize. You simply choose a start time and an end time, which is useful if you want to restrict your child's access at bedtime or during family time.
  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap Downtime.
    Downtime button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Enable and set your Downtime schedule.
    Enabling downtime

4 Set App Limits

App Limits lets you restrict access to apps in certain categories for a specific set of time per day.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap App Limits.
    App Limits button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Tap Add Limit.
    Adding a limit
  6. Select what you would like to limit.
    Apps you can limit
  7. Choose the limited time and tap Add.
    Time selection

5 Set What Is Always Allowed

Always Allowed lets you make exemptions to your rules. What you choose here is always available regardless of restrictions.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap Always Allowed.
    Always Allowed button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Choose what you want to allow by tapping the + button on the left side.
    Always allowed list

6 Enable and Set Content and Privacy Restrictions

With Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time, you can block or limit specific apps and features on your child's device. And restrict the settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for explicit content, purchases and downloads, and privacy.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Select Content and Privacy Restrictions.
    Content and privacy restriction settings
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Enable Content and Privacy Restrictions by tapping the Switch.
    Content toggle
  6. Tap iTunes and App Store Purchases.
    iTunes and App store purchases
  7. Select what you want to restrict and whether you want to require a password for in-app purchases.
    iTunes and App Store purchase settings
  8. Return to the previous menu and tap Allowed Apps.
    Allowed Apps button
  9. Select the built in apps allowed to be used.
    Allows apps list
  10. Return to the previous menu and tap Content Restrictions.
    Content restrictions
  11. From here you can restrict:
    Content Restriction page
    • Ratings For: Select the country or region in the ratings section to automatically apply the appropriate content ratings for that region.
    • Music, Podcasts & News: Prevent the playback of music, music videos, podcasts, and news containing explicit content.
    • Music Profiles & Posts: Prevent sharing what you're listening to with friends and seeing what they are listening to.
    • Movies: Prevent movies with specific ratings.
    • TV shows: Prevent TV shows with specific ratings.
    • Books: Prevent content with specific ratings.
    • Apps: Prevent apps with specific ratings.
    • Web Content: Prevent any webpages or browser apps from working.
    • Siri: Prevent Siri from searching the web or saying anything explicit.
    • Game Center: Restrict the use of multiplayer games, adding friends, or recording the screen.
  12. Return to the previous menu and scroll down to Privacy. Choose whether to allow these settings by tapping them.
    Privacy settings
  13. Continue scrolling down to Allow Changes and choose what you will allow this device to change.
    Allowing changes

7 Review Screen Time

Screen Time gives you a detailed report about how your device is used, apps you've opened, and websites you've visited, any time that you want to see it.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. If you have only this device set up in Screen Time you can view your report here.
    Screen Time report
  4. If you want to view another device's report, tap anywhere in the report.
    Tapping the report
  5. Tap Devices. Then Tap the device you want to view. In order to view another device you will need to have it set up in Family Sharing.
    Multiple devices being viewed

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In This Guide
You'll Learn How To:
  • Set up and enable Family Sharing.
  • Set up your iOS device's Screen Time.
  • Set Downtime and App Limits.
  • Set Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  • Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases
  • Prevent explicit content and content ratings
  • Review Screen Time audits.
Before We Begin:
  • Have a working iOS device updated to iOS 12.
  • Have an Apple ID account. 
Apple logo

With Family Sharing, you can not only share all your iTunes and App Store purchases with your family, but you can set it so that parents require that younger children ask permission before purchasing content. You can then receive a request and either accept or deny it right from your own iPhone or iPad.
A Mac, iPad, and iPhone showing the Family Sharing page

To start a Family Group:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS Settings menu highlighting the Apple ID button.
  3. Select Set Up Family Sharing.
    iOS Apple ID screen highlighting set up family sharing option.
  4. Select Get Started.
    iOS Family sharing welcome screen with get started button highlighted.
  5. Select a feature you would like to enable within Family Sharing.
    iOS Family sharing screen displaying available features.

To invite people to join your Family Sharing group:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings screen highlighting the Apple ID button.
  3. Select Family Sharing.
    iOS Apple ID menu highlighting the family sharing option.
  4. Select Add Family Member.
    iOS Family Sharing menu highlighting the add family member option.
  5. Options for adding a new family member to family sharing will appear. Select an option to begin sending an invitation to join your family sharing group.
    Add family member popup displaying available options.
    • Invite via iMessage: This will allow you to send an iMessage invitation from your iOS device to one of your contacts.
    • Invite in Person: This will allow you to send a Family Sharing invite via Email address, iOS Game Center ID, or will allow you to select someone from your contact list who may not use iMessage.
    • Create a Child Account: This will allow you to create an iCloud account for a minor child which will be tied to your Family Sharing account. Parental Controls and other permission-based features can be enforced on a Child Account. This is great for minor children in your home who may also use iOS devices.

To accept a Family Sharing invitation:

If you are invited to join a Family Sharing Group, your invitation may come in one of two forms:
  • Invitation via Email:
    Family Sharing email invitation.
    • Select Get Started to proceed with accepting your Family Sharing invite.
  • Invitation via iMessage:
    Family sharing iMessage invitation.
    • Select Tap to View Invitation to proceed with accepting your Family Sharing invite.

With Screen Time, you can access real-time reports about how much time you spend on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and set limits for what you want to manage.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Screen Time will introduce itself. Tap Continue.
    Screen time introduction>
  4. You can set a time when your device will not be used. Select your time and tap Set Downtime or tap Not Now.
    Downtime introduction
  5. App time limits can be set now or you can set them later. Tap Set App Limit or Not Now.
    App limit introduction
  6. Tap Continue.
    Context and Privacy continue
  7. Create your Passcode.
    Passcode creation

    Make sure to choose a passcode that's different from the passcode you use to unlock your device. 

  8. Re-enter your Passcode to confirm it.
    Confirming the passcode
Downtime effectively shuts down your phone for a specific length of time, allowing access only to calls and apps you authorize. You simply choose a start time and an end time, which is useful if you want to restrict your child's access at bedtime or during family time.
  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap Downtime.
    Downtime button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Enable and set your Downtime schedule.
    Enabling downtime

App Limits lets you restrict access to apps in certain categories for a specific set of time per day.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap App Limits.
    App Limits button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Tap Add Limit.
    Adding a limit
  6. Select what you would like to limit.
    Apps you can limit
  7. Choose the limited time and tap Add.
    Time selection

Always Allowed lets you make exemptions to your rules. What you choose here is always available regardless of restrictions.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Tap Always Allowed.
    Always Allowed button
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Choose what you want to allow by tapping the + button on the left side.
    Always allowed list

With Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time, you can block or limit specific apps and features on your child's device. And restrict the settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for explicit content, purchases and downloads, and privacy.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Select Content and Privacy Restrictions.
    Content and privacy restriction settings
  4. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.
    Passcode for screen time
  5. Enable Content and Privacy Restrictions by tapping the Switch.
    Content toggle
  6. Tap iTunes and App Store Purchases.
    iTunes and App store purchases
  7. Select what you want to restrict and whether you want to require a password for in-app purchases.
    iTunes and App Store purchase settings
  8. Return to the previous menu and tap Allowed Apps.
    Allowed Apps button
  9. Select the built in apps allowed to be used.
    Allows apps list
  10. Return to the previous menu and tap Content Restrictions.
    Content restrictions
  11. From here you can restrict:
    Content Restriction page
    • Ratings For: Select the country or region in the ratings section to automatically apply the appropriate content ratings for that region.
    • Music, Podcasts & News: Prevent the playback of music, music videos, podcasts, and news containing explicit content.
    • Music Profiles & Posts: Prevent sharing what you're listening to with friends and seeing what they are listening to.
    • Movies: Prevent movies with specific ratings.
    • TV shows: Prevent TV shows with specific ratings.
    • Books: Prevent content with specific ratings.
    • Apps: Prevent apps with specific ratings.
    • Web Content: Prevent any webpages or browser apps from working.
    • Siri: Prevent Siri from searching the web or saying anything explicit.
    • Game Center: Restrict the use of multiplayer games, adding friends, or recording the screen.
  12. Return to the previous menu and scroll down to Privacy. Choose whether to allow these settings by tapping them.
    Privacy settings
  13. Continue scrolling down to Allow Changes and choose what you will allow this device to change.
    Allowing changes

Screen Time gives you a detailed report about how your device is used, apps you've opened, and websites you've visited, any time that you want to see it.

  1. Open Settings on your device.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. If you have only this device set up in Screen Time you can view your report here.
    Screen Time report
  4. If you want to view another device's report, tap anywhere in the report.
    Tapping the report
  5. Tap Devices. Then Tap the device you want to view. In order to view another device you will need to have it set up in Family Sharing.
    Multiple devices being viewed
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