If you occasionally hand your device over to your kids (say, when you just need to get to the toilet or finish a work call) and you don’t want to give them unadulterated access to the internet, here’s a guide to lock down your phone.
Plus, you don’t want them accidentally calling your boss or emailing a client accidentally… or possibly more dangerously, buying stuff whilst you’re not looking!
How much damage can a kid do on your phone? A lot! Games are designed to be addictive, with many compared to that of gambling. Check out the bills racked up by these young people. $50,000??
Below are guides to setting up parental controls for both Apple and Android devices.
Setting up parental controls on APPLE
Use parental controls on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
You can use Restrictions, also known as parental controls, to block or limit specific apps and features on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Turn on Restrictions
- Tap Settings > General > Restrictions.
- Scroll down and tap Restrictions, then tap Enable Restrictions.
- Create a Restrictions passcode. You need your Restrictions passcode to change your settings or to turn off Restrictions.
If you forget your Restrictions passcode, you need to erase your device, then set it up as a new device to remove the Restrictions passcode. Restoring your device using a backup won’t remove the Restrictions passcode.
Change your Restrictions passcode
To change your Restrictions passcode after you turn on Restrictions, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > General > Restrictions.
- Enter your current Restrictions passcode.
- Tap Disable Restrictions, then enter your Restrictions passcode again.
- Tap Enable Restrictions, then enter a new Restrictions passcode.
When you have Restrictions on, you might not see certain apps, features, or services. If you’re missing an app or feature, or can’t use a certain service, try turning Restrictions off.
Apps and features you can restrict
To see a list of apps and features that you can restrict, go to Settings > General > Restrictions. To turn restrictions on or off, tap the slider next to the app or feature.
If an app or feature is on or if there’s a checkmark next to it, anyone using your device can use that app or feature. Otherwise, no one can use that app or feature on your device.
Businesses and schools often use profiles, which can turn on Restrictions. To find out if your device has a profile, go to Settings > General > Profiles. Contact your administrator or the person who set up the profile for more information.
Apps and features
- Camera (also disables FaceTime)
- Siri & Dictation
- iTunes Store
- Music Profiles & Posts
- iBooks Store
- Installing apps
- Deleting apps
- In-App Purchases
- Multiplayer Games
- Adding Friends
- Screen Recording
*FaceTime isn’t available in all countries or regions.
Types of content
- Ratings For (select the country or region in the ratings section to automatically apply the appropriate content ratings for that region)
- Music, Podcasts & News
- TV shows
- Password Settings
- Location Services
- Share My Location
- Bluetooth sharing
- Speech Recognition
- Media Library
Settings and accounts
- Accounts (you can prevent changes to Mail, Contacts, Calendars)
- Cellular Data Use
- Background App Refresh
- Volume limit
- TV Provider
- Do Not Disturb While Driving
When you have Restrictions on, you might not see certain apps, features, or services. If you’re missing an app or feature, or can’t use a certain service, try turning Restrictions off. If you have any of these issues, try turning off Restrictions:
- You don’t see an app on the Home screen (like Safari, Camera, or FaceTime).
- You can’t use a certain feature or service (like Siri or Location Services).
- You see that a setting is missing or dimmed (like Mail, iCloud, Twitter, and FaceTime).
If you lose or forget your Restrictions passcode, you need to erase your device, then set it up as a new device to remove the Restrictions passcode.
Setting up parental controls on Android
This guide uses Android 7.1 Nougat, but since the interface varies on just about every Android phone don’t expect yours to look identical. The process, though, is broadly the same – you may just have to hunt around for the Users entry in your phone or tablet’s settings.
First, drag down from the top of the screen, then drag down further if a settings cog icon doesn’t appear. Tap on the icon to open the Settings app.
Scroll down until you see Users. If your phone has a Settings app split into sections, you might have to search other tabs to find the Users menu.
Accept the message by tapping ‘OK’ then tap on ‘SET UP NOW’
The device will log you out and ask you to sign into the new user’s account. As that’s for a child in this case, you’ll continue to make the settings.
Tap Continue, as in the image above left, then you’ll be asked if you want to sign into an Android account. If you want to prevent your kids from downloading apps, games, music, videos and TV shows through Google Play, just tap on Skip Setup. You will still be able to download apps etc. via your own user account.
You’ll also have the option to set up their email account, or tap Not now if you don’t want to.
How can I restrict content in Play Store?
Assuming you do want to give your child access to the Google Play Store within their account, either sign in with your own Google account when prompted during the setup, or use their account if they have one.
Then, launch the Play Store app (this is in their user account on the phone or tablet still) and tap the ‘hamburger’ – the three horizontal lines at the top left.
Scroll down and tap Settings, then scroll until you see Parental controls.
Tap it, and you’ll have to create a PIN code. Enter this twice.
Now the setting will be turned on and you can then tap each category to set how restrictive you want to be for each. For apps and games, the numbers relate to ages, so tap PEGI 7 is the child is between four and seven. Be sure to tap SAVE at the bottom of each screen.
Below the Parental controls master switch is shown a summary of which restriction is set for each type of content.
If you want to prevent kids from buying content freely, you can set a PIN that only you know which will be asked for when they try to download anything that costs money. To do this, go back to the main Play Store settings menu and tap on ‘Require authentication for purchases’. Then you’ll see a screen like the one below, right.
The Play Store isn’t the only place to download apps and games, so it’s important to make sure other sources are blocked. To do this, go back to the device’s home screen, and drag down from the top of the screen again to get to the cog icon – tap it to open the Settings app.
Find the Security section (called Security & fingerprint on our phone), tap it and then check to make sure the Unknown sources switch is turned off (which it probably will be).