IPhone Tips: How to Use Parental Controls and Restrictions

Before handing an iPhone to a child for any amount of time, first familiarize yourself with the Restrictions settings available in iOS 7. Using a four-digit pass code, you can restrict access to many of the iPhone's features, such as the ability to delete your contacts or purchase games from the app store, as well as to protect your child from inappropriate content. If your child knows your iPhone pass code, make sure to use a different pass code for restrictions so he cannot change them.

the smartphone is a drug
Content restrictions block access to inappropriate books, videos and games.
credit: Stefano Borsani/iStock/Getty Images

Blocking Apps and Actions

Open "Settings," tap "General," then scroll down and tap "Restrictions." After you tap "Enable Restrictions" and enter a 4-digit pass code, you can select which apps or actions that will require a pass code. Most of the actions involve accessing stores, so your children won't be able to purchase books, apps or movies without your consent. Only three apps are included here: Safari, Camera and FaceTime. Just tap the button beside each app or action to restrict it. When the button is green, it can be used without a pass code. If white, your children cannot access it.

Restricting Content

When letting your child use your iPhone, you can protect him from adult content by enabling the content restriction filters in the Restrictions options. These include movies and TV shows, as well as books and apps. If you don't want to block Siri entirely, but have blocked access to Safari, you should also restrict Siri from accepting explicit language or pulling content from the Web. Otherwise, Siri bypasses Safari restrictions when pulling information from the Internet.

Privacy Options

The Privacy options in the Restrictions screen won't block your child from accessing your email or contacts if he taps on them; however, they do ensure that this information is not accidentally shared on another app. For example, if you let your child log in to his own Tumblr or Facebook account on your iPhone, you can prevent him from accidentally posting photos from your Camera Roll by enabling privacy restrictions for the Photos app.

Location Services

The Location Services settings, found in the Privacy section of the Restrictions page, is something a parent should look at closely, particularly if a child is using his own apps on the iPhone. The safest bet is to block all location services and to disable the ability to make changes. Some apps, however, won't operate properly with location services blocked, such as geocaching apps, maps and some games. In this case, you can leave location services off and block apps individually. If in doubt, restrict every app listed except those you need enabled. This includes the Camera app, which, unless restricted, embeds your iPhone's precise location whenever your child takes a photo.