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Using iTunes Parental Controls

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Using iTunes Parental Controls
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The iTunes Parental Control Window

While the iTunes Store is full of terrific content from music to movies to apps, not all of it is appropriate for children or teens. But what’s a parent who wants to let their kids access some parts of iTunes, but not others, to do?

Use iTunes Parental Controls, that’s what.

Parental Controls are a feature of iTunes that lets you block access from your computer to selected iTunes content. It’s important to understand, though, that Parental Controls block content based on the computer, not the user, so if you have one family computer, you’ll either be blocking all things content all the time or have to turn off these settings for adults when they use the computer.

To use iTunes Parental Controls, go to:

    iTunes Menu -> Preferences (on a Mac)
    Edit -> Preferences (on a PC)

In the Preferences window, there’s a tab called Parental click it. This is where you’ll find the Parental Controls. Your options:

  • Completely block access to Podcasts, Radio stations streamed through iTunes, the iTunes Store, and Shared iTunes libraries. This will prevent your computer, no matter who is using it, from accessing those kinds of content (though note that you can exempt educational iTunes U content if you wish).
  • You can also restrict content based on its rating. To do that, first choose the country you're in to get the correct rating system.
  • Your options then are:
    • show the rating of the content in your iTunes Library
    • restrict music with explicit content. This is used to restrict music marked explicity on your computer and at iTunes.
    • restrict movies, TV, apps, and books on your computer and at the iTunes Store based on the rating provided in the drop-down menus

To save these settings, click the lock icon at the bottom left corner of the window. Enter your computer's password (different from your iTunes account password in most cases) to lock the settings. You’ll only be able to change the settings by entering your password again to unlock them – so don’t forget it!

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