Apple’s many mobile devices were designed to be toys for adults, but are now slowly making their ways into the hands of kids.
Small children who just want to play fun apps on iPods grow into pre-teens with iPhones who have unlimited access to apps and web content.
But nervous parents, have no fear. Apple set up restrictions in iOS that let parents control what their kids have access to on their personal and shared-family devices.
These parental controls allow kids to continue to use their Apple products, without their parents’ worry and constant vigilance. Some of the controls are even set for different age levels, so parents don’t have to treat their teens like toddlers.
Here are five tips on how to use the built-in iOS restrictions to keep your little one from making a big mess with your Apple device.
1. Enable App Restrictions
The easiest, fastest way to place restrictions on your iPhone is to set up a restriction code, which can do by going to Settings, then General, then Restrictions. Once you set up the code, you can choose to restrict access to specific apps on the device, like Safari, Facebook and Camera. Without the code, kids will not be able to access the apps, so you won’t have to worry about your toddler accidentally calling your boss.
2. Restrict Specific Functions
Another option is to restrict certain functions on your iPhone. You can set it so without the restriction code, your child cannot add or delete apps, access movies, TV shows, or apps rated higher than a set age-rating. There’s even an option to restrict them from turning the volume up past a certain level. With a variety of options, parents have a good amount of flexibility to decide what limits are right for their child.
3. Use Guided Access
Have you ever worried about your child accidentally making in-app purchases, or adding nonsense to your calendar? With the Guided Access function, those worries are a thing of the past. Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility and turn on Guided Access. You can set a passcode so only you will be able to turn it on and off.
Once you’ve done that, you can access it on all apps. Open the app you wish to limit, tap the Home button three times and a menu should appear, allowing you to circle and block out specific parts of the app. When you want to restore the app back to full use, tap the Home button three times once more, put in your code, and press “End.”
4. Turn Off Simple Passcode
Image: Flickr, Ninja M.
If your child has figured out the passcode to your device and you want to keep them out, you can create a more complicated passcode using numbers, letters and symbols. Go to Settings, then General, then Passcode Lock. There, you should have the option to turn off Simple Passcode. You will then be prompted to type in your old passcode and then enter a new, more complicated one. Just be sure that you can remember it — and that the child you’re trying to keep out doesn’t find the piece of paper you wrote the new code on.
5. Limit Wi-Fi Use
Does your kid spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook, or other social media sites? Even though there isn’t a way to block Wi-Fi directly from the iOS on the device, you can do so from your Mac and it is iOS supported. First, you’ll need the device’s Wi-Fi address, which is in the About section of Settings.
Then, on the Mac, go to Airport Utility, select your base station and press edit. Click the Network tab followed by Enable Access Control, and then Timed Access Control. From there, entering the Wi-Fi address, you can set when your kids can access the Wi-Fi on their devices. Here’s a more detailed tutorial on the process.
Found other ways to restrict a child’s access on or iPhone, iPod, or iPad? Leave suggestions and tips in the comments below.
Image: Flickr, Toca Boca