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Apple Family Sharing and Restrictions = Safer iPhone

Apple Family Sharing and Restrictions

Apple Family Sharing and Restrictions = Safer iPhone

Note: if you’re now running iOS 12, you’ll want to follow our Definitive iOS 12 Guide for Parents and ignore the instructions below.

How do I use Apple Family Sharing and Restrictions?

Apple makes it easier for kids and parents to have a safer Apple experience than with most other types of devices. They do this with Family Sharing and Restrictions

Some adults can’t stand Apple’s devices because the iOS operating system is rigid and there’s only one way to do things (the Apple way). In contrast, Android devices have a more flexible operating system and multiple ways to do things (not to mention fancy weather widgets).

But, as a parent trying to teach my kids how to us the internet, I tend to prefer Apple. Why? Because their operating system is rigid, and there’s only one way to do things! During the internet training phase, my goal is to limit options and eliminate possible back doors. There are paid ways to limit Android devices, when it comes to parental controls, Apple devices come with options that are far and away better than Android.

FAR. BETTER.

Let’s talk about the two that matter most. In 60 seconds, just about any parent can enable both of them on any of Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPad or iPod) and go from internet safety zero to hero.

This video explains the process well and there are step-by-step instructions underneath the video.

  1. Apple Family Sharing

The Family Sharing functionality allows parents (called “family organizers”) to approve app downloads on a child’s device from the parent’s phone, including in-app purchases.

To enable Family Sharing, follow this path on your Apple iOS device:

  • Click “Settings” (looks like 2 gray gears)
  • Click “iCloud”
  • Look under your name and click “Set Up Family Sharing”
  • Click “Get Started”
  • Assuming you are the “Family Organizer” (the one in control), click “Continue” and add as many family members as you would like.
  • Do you want to share your purchases as the adult? That’s your decision. Click “Settings” – “iCloud” – “Family” – click your name – then toggle on or off “Share my Purchases”

Situations where this works well:

  • You have a trustworthy kid, but you want to be involved in app decisions (good move)
  • You have a kid who is still in the internet “training” phase (age 15 and under)

 

  1. Apple Restrictions

The “Restrictions” feature is one of Apple’s most amazing tools for parents, and it’s what Android devices so desperately need. Enabling “Restrictions” allows parents to set up certain filters at the device level so that it doesn’t matter where the kid is using the device.

To enable restrictions, follow this path on your Apple iOS device:

  • Click “Settings”
  • Click “General”
  • Click “Restrictions” and select a 4-digit code that your kid won’t know. **Important! Don’t forget this 4-digit code, or you’ll have to perform a factory reset if you want to change “Restrictions” in the future.
  • From there, toggle off whatever you see fit. Here are some recommendations:

You can turn off Safari, which is Apple’s internet browser, if you want them to access the internet through another accountable browser, like Mobicip for young internet users (<12) or Covenant Eyes for older internet users (12+)

Earlier, we talked about controlling app downloads through “Family Sharing,” but, for young internet users, you might consider turning off the App store altogether.

Related post: 3 Reasons to Turn Off the App Store

Although it’s hard to find outright porn in the App store, with over 1.5 million apps and growing, there are plenty of apps that offer suggestive and offensive content in the app description that you might want to avoid. In fact, we recommend turning off the app store until age 13.

Further down in “Restrictions,” you can restrict settings for music, books, and Siri.

If you keep Safari as the Internet browser, in Restrictions, be sure to select the “Website” option and then select “Limit Adult Content”. This prevents the user from deleting their browser history and also provides an excellent level of filtering within Safari.

Two very easy steps! And, because Apple’s devices are wildly popular with tweens and teens, parents who take these two simple steps will significantly reduce the risk of exposure to inappropriate content. Be a hero!

Frequently asked questions:

What happens if I forget my 4-digit Restrictions code?

Unfortunately, there is no easy recovery without a factory reset, which will delete all data, including contacts, photos, music, and messages. This is not a decision to be made lightly! Some people have commented that it’s possible to restore an iPhone through iTunes, which is true. But, the restoration will also restore whatever Restrictions were enabled previously.

Can’t my son or daughter simply perform the factory reset and circumvent the 4-digit code?

Technically, yes, this is possible. But, it will mean erasing all data. If you have a high-risk child you might be devious enough to perform a factory reset, then make sure you set the Apple ID for the phone when the phone is first set up (or follow these steps to change the Apple ID for an iPhone). For iOS 7 and beyond, the Apple ID that was in place prior to the reset/reboot is required in order to initiate the device after the reset/reboot. This was put in place to deter thefts of the devices.

What are you waiting for? Please take 30 minutes and protect all Apple devices today! Be that Internet Safety Hero your kids are longing for.

Peace, Chris

P.S. Here’s an age-specific formula for iPhone, iPad, and iPod protection:

Pre-school = Restrictions + Family Sharing + Mobicip for browsing the internet and Guided Access to control where they go.

Elementary School = Restrictions + Family Sharing + Mobicip for browsing the internet + Circle with Disney for time and app controls.

Middle School and early High School = Restrictions + Family Sharing + Covenant Eyes for browsing the internet and teaching accountability + Circle with Disney for time and app controls (if needed)

High School = Restrictions + Family Sharing + Covenant Eyes for browsing the internet and teaching accountability.

Call to Action – Now What?

After you set the right technical settings on your Apple devices, are you ready to have awesome conversations with your kids about how to use those iPhones well? Snapchat – pornography – predators – bullies – help! Please visit our Protect Young Eyes Parent University, where you’ll find videos to watch with your kids, creating common vocabulary, and awesome chats. Sometimes, when kids hear someone else talk about awkward things, it helps them really hear it for the first time. Please visit the PYE Parent University today!

PYE Parent University

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Living life to the full! That's why He died and how I try to live. I have an eclectic list of professional experience...CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director, now educational resource manager for Covenant Eyes. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I want to show parents how to protect their kids from online dangers, which led to the creation of Protect Young Eyes. We recently created Virtue in Media, the first digital citizenship curriculum based on Scripture (www.virtueinmedia.com).

9 Comments
  • Mary Serra
    Posted at 09:46h, 01 June

    Excellent advice!!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • LaNita Vander Meer
    Posted at 08:32h, 07 June

    Is there a way to do this with Apple to Android? Our daughter has an iPod but we, as parents, use Android phones/tablets. We have adjusted the settings on her device & our internet. Is there is more we can do other than monitoring her device ‘after the fact’?
    We have been to Protect Young Eyes seminar and found it very helpful & eye opening! Thank you for making it your mission to protect kids and inform parents!

  • Chris McKenna
    Posted at 00:14h, 08 June

    Hi LaNita – Android doesn’t have the same, nifty parental control options as iOS. Please visit my Android section for more details: https://protectyoungeyes.com/content/android/ For what she’s doing on apps on her iPhone, it sounds like you’ve done what we suggested in the blog which is great. If you have app downloads controlled, then the constant conversations about where she’s surfing and how the Internet is going are what’s important for the apps you’ve allowed.

    Peace, Chris

  • Chris McKenna
    Posted at 10:36h, 10 June

    Hi LaNita – one thing I should have mentioned. Covenant Eyes does have a “app locking” feature for the Android software that is pretty slick. I’ll be updating my site to include mention of it, because it allows you to “lock” the Google Play store so that kids can’t download things without your permission. Here’s a link that describes it: http://www.covenanteyes.com/support-articles/how-do-i-set-up-the-android-app/#app-lock

  • Gerard Mcgeady
    Posted at 17:35h, 25 June

    Is it safe to make online purchases using an iphone if the phone has an international sim card? We will be traveling to England and have purchased an international sim card to use for phone, text and data. It would be great to use the phone to purchase train tickets, etc, but only if it’s safe.

  • Chris McKenna
    Posted at 02:43h, 30 June

    Hi, Gerard – without knowing much about the type of Sim card, I would dig a bit into the privacy policy of the company you purchased the Sim card from. Inherently, I don’t know of a reason why the international card would be any less safe than whatever card you had before but check into the manufacturer.

    Chris

  • David Wilson
    Posted at 01:26h, 10 September

    Is there a way to block reddit.com? I have added it the list of sites that are never allowed but it still loads in safari.

  • amy
    Posted at 06:14h, 10 September

    By the using of this app we can share our purchased or downloaded songs, videos, TV Shows and other applications with in family group. On the above you shared few suggestion on Apple family sharing as well as its restrictions, this is really great advice which you shared with us. Keep posting. I Forgotten my Apple ID password but I couldn’t resolve by own then I go to this site https://www.appletechnicalsupportnumbers.com/apple-id-support/ and resolved it.

  • Chris McKenna
    Posted at 00:40h, 11 September

    Hi, it should block. I added reddit.com to the “Never Allow” list and it won’t load in Safari for me.

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