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Using iPhone Content Restrictions

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iPhone content restrictions

If you're a parent concerned about what your kids might see or do while using iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches, there are content restriction tools built into iOS that allow you to control content, apps, and more.

To enable the restrictions, tap the Settings app (which should be on the iPhone's homescreen, unless you re-arranged the apps) on the iPhone you want to apply the restrictions to.

Then choose General -> Restrictions and tap the Enable Restrictions button.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: A couple of minutes

Here's How:

  1. You'll be prompted to create a four-number passcode that will allow you to make and modify the restrictions, but not let the child change them (unless they know the passcode, of course). Each time you need to access the restrictions you'll have to enter this code, so make sure to use something you'll easily remember.

    With restrictions enabled, you have a number of choices.

  2. First, you'll be able to turn off access to a series of apps. If you turn them off, the app will be completely hidden from your child – they won’t see it anywhere on the iPhone. Moving the slider back to on will restore the app. In iOS 7, turning an app off involves moving the slider so it shows white, not green. In iOS 6 and earlier, move the slider to Off.
  3. Next, you can control what content is allowed to be access on the iPhone:

    Ratings For: Choose the country whose rating system you want to apply to content. It probably makes sense to choose the country you live in, but many are available.

    Music & Podcasts: Use this to determine whether explicit content can be played on the iPhone. Green (iOS 7) or On (iOS 6 and earlier) means explicit content is allowed. There's a trick to this, though: it only works with content from the iTunes Store. From downloaded music or ripped CDs, the iPhone won't know whether the content is explicit or not and it will play it. This is also true of movies and TV episodes.

    Movies: Chose the highest rating level you want to allow by tapping it (taps do not uncheck ratings, strangely).

    TV Shows, Books, Apps: Works the same way as Movies.

    Siri: You can control whether Siri can speak or search for explicit language.

    Websites: Restrict your kids from visiting adult websites (as determined by Apple) or, for even more control, create a list of websites that they can visit and block them from all others. (iOS 7)

    In-App Purchases: turn this off if you don't want your child to be able to buy items or upgrades within iPhone apps – something that could lead to unexpectedly large iTunes Store bills.

  4. You can also control the iPhone's privacy and security settings. To learn more about them, read this article. (iOS 7)
  5. The Allow Changes section lets you control whether your kids can add email accounts, change how cellular data is used, refresh apps in the background, or change a volume limit on music playback. (iOS 7)
  6. Lastly, you can control some Game Center preferences, including whether your kids can join multiplayer games and add friends to Game Center.
  7. To remove content restrictions, simply tap the Disable Restrictions button at the top of the screen and re-enter your passcode.
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