Apple iPhone & iPad

The Complete Guide to iOS Parental Controls.


iOS Parental Controls Complete Guide

Apple or Android? Which is better?

When it comes to Android versus Apple, the age-old question from parents is, “which one is better for my kid?” There are definitely pros and cons.

Honestly, it’s really close. If your child is big into social media and you have concerns about how he/she is using it, then an Android device is going to allow for much better monitoring.

All three of Apple’s portable devices (iPod, iPad, iPhone) use the same operating system (iOS) and therefore operate similarly.

Follow these additional steps for creating a safer environment on your iOS device:

Steps for Protecting an iOS Device (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

Protect Young Eyes promotes a 3-layer approach for creating a safer internet experience on all portable, digital devices.

Layer 1: Guard the location of the Apple device.

Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology. We have strong opinions about controlling where kids use their tech.

Related post: The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online

Layer 2: Set up Clean DNS on your home’s network.

Remember, you are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, and so for every device that uses your home’s WIFI network, have something in place to monitor who’s connected to your WIFI and control where they’re going. Two popular options for parents are:

We’ve recently found OpenDNS to be glitchy with our internet service, which is why we’ve moved to Clean Browsing’s clean DNS for every device in our home, including the router.

Layer 3: Guard the Apple device itself.

Remember, the device will often be using a data plan or be connected to a wireless network that is not under your control.

If you’re running iOS 11 or earlier, follow these instructions: iOS Restrictions and Family Sharing

Ir you’re running iOS 12, follow these instructions: iOS 12 Definitive Guide for Parents.

If you’re running iOS 13, follow these instructions: iOS 13 Parental Controls Explained

Layer 4: Consider third-party parental controls for the iOS device(s).

Even after you’ve set up Apple’s Screen Time, you might still want something that you can use on multiple devices. Meaning, if you’re a home with a few iPads, an Android tablet, a MacBook, and a Chromebook, then you’ll want something that allows you to control all of the devices centrally, since Screen Time obviously can’t do that.

Recently, our team spent 50+ hours analyzing and testing 13 of the top iPhone/iPad parental control and monitoring solutions on the market today. We did the work so that you don’t have to!

Related Post: iPhone Parental Controls 2019

The Best iPhone Parental Control Software

*Don’t forget that most cell providers have their own suite of parental controls, but other than Verizon, they are pretty weak. Verizon Family BaseAT&T Parental ControlsT-Mobile FamilyWhereSprint Safety & Control.

Special Note: How to control iMessages (Texting) on an iPhone

The biggest reasons kids ask for an iPod Touch are for texting with their friends and downloading and listening to their favorite music. Anyone with an iPod can iMessage (Apple’s word for text) anyone else with an Apple device while connected to WiFi. Unlimited and free! Here is an Apple article explaining how iMessage works. If you want to monitor your kid’s iMessage activity, here are two good articles with some savvy tips:

  1. Net Sanity Blog on monitoring iMessages for free
  2. iAnswer Guy with tips on monitoring iMessages

Bark, which we mentioned above, also monitors iMessages for inappropriate words and phrases, then alerts parents so that they can get involved at the right time. It’s pretty great!

Layer 5: Have awesome conversations

Finally, look your kids in the eyes and talk to them often about all of the awkward things that no one talked to you about. You can do it!

April 2019 Update

Verizon has a new phone plan just for kids. It includes 5 GB of data, unlimited texts/calls to 20 contacts, and Verizon’s parental controls included. Check out this article for all of the details and to see if it is a good fit for your family.

Are you interested in receiving our free, bi-weekly parent newsletter?

Sign-up for the PYE Digital Trends Newsletter

Protect Young Eyes Logo

*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!

Scroll to Top