Set Up Apple iPhone Screen Time Parental Controls - mmguardian

How To Set Up Apple iPhone Screen Time Parental Controls

Parental controls are a necessity these days. Apps and smartphones have been designed to be as addictive as possible, and without parental intervention by putting a time limit for screen time on the iPhone, children will inevitably develop poor habits.

Fortunately, there are several subscription-based parental control tools that parents can use to monitor their children’s screen time and online activities. There are also decent parental control features built into the operating systems of the devices these children use every day. Apple’s Screen Time is a free parental control feature that parents can use to gain oversight over their children’s mobile/online activities.

This article will discuss how to put a time limit on iPhone and a step-by-step explanation on how to change parental control settings on iPhone.

If this is information you’ve been looking for, buckle up. You came to the right place. 


Who Can Use Apple’s Screen Time?

If you’re an Apple device owner and your device supports iOS 12, iOS 13, or iOS 14 – you can use Apple’s Screen Time tools. However, advanced features like the ability to set “Communication Limits,” are only available on devices that support iOS 13 (or higher).

To upgrade your Apple device’s OS:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Click on “General”
  3. Click “About”
  4. Verify the version of your OS at the bottom of the “About” page
  5. If you don’t see iOS 13.3 or higher listed, return to the Settings
  6. Search “Software Update” in the Settings section
  7. Select the option to download and install the latest iOS version



Can you limit Screen Time on an iPhone?

Once your device has iOS 13.3 or higher, you can start managing who can contact your child via texts, phone calls, or FaceTime. You can also put a time limit on the iPhone to manage how much time your child spends on apps/websites, etc. Parents can even block or restrict certain apps, features, content, etc.

Have you been thinking, ‘How do I control the Screen Time on my child’s iPhone?’

Here’s the definitive guide to getting started.


How to activate and use Apple Screen Time feature

  1. Go to Settings and select ‘Screen Time.’
  2. Tap ‘Continue.’
  3. From the options, choose ‘This is My [Device]’ or ‘This is My Child’s [Device].’



On your device

  1. If you’re the parent or legal guardian and want to prohibit another family member from altering your settings, tap ‘Use Screen Time Passcode to create a passcode.’
  2. Re-enter the password to confirm.
  3. Once you verify your passcode, with iOS 13.4 and beyond, you’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password. 

If you forget your Screen Time passcode, you can use this to reset it.


On your child’s device

  1. Follow the above steps until you get to the Parent Passcode.
    Type a passcode.
  2. To confirm, enter the passcode again.
  3. With iOS 13.4 and beyond, you’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID and password. 

If you forget your Screen Time passcode, you can use this to reset it.

  1. Then, select ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions.’ 
  2. If prompted, enter your passcode.
  3. Turn on ‘Content & Privacy.’



Point to note
Keep in mind that the passcode you choose is different from the one you use to open your smartphone. 


Turning off the passcode on your child’s device

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Screen Time.’
  2. Choose your child’s name. Then, select ‘Change Screen Time Passcode’ or ‘Turn Off Screen Time Passcode.’
  3. Confirm this new change by using Face ID, Touch ID, or your device passcode.

After activating the Screen Time feature, you’ll get to closely monitor how much time the user (i.e., the child) spends on specific apps, websites, etc. Enter the “Settings” section. Look up “Use Screen Time Passcode” and select the option. Type and retype a password to protect your Screen Time settings. Children won’t be able to remodify these settings once you have set a password.


Features Apple Screen Time Allows You to Restrict

  • Content and privacy restrictions
  • iTunes and App store purchases
  • Built-in apps and features
  • Explicit content and content ratings
  • Web content
  • Siri web search
  • Game Center
  • Changes to privacy settings
  • Changes to other settings and features



Set Content & Privacy Restrictions

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and choose Screen Time.
  2. Choose ‘Continue,’ then select “This is My [Device]” or “This is My Child’s [Device].”
  3. Choose ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions.’ 
  4. When prompted, enter your passcode, then turn on ‘Content & Privacy.’
  5. Ensure to choose a passcode that’s unique to the passcode that you use to unlock your device. 

Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases

You can also block your child from installing or deleting apps, making in-app purchases, and more.

  1. Go to ‘Settings.’
  2. Choose ‘Screen Time.’
  3. Select ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions.’
  4. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  5. From the drop-down menu, select ‘iTunes & App Store Purchases.’ 
  6. Select a setting and set it to’ Don’t Allow.’ 


You can also modify your password settings for future purchases from the iTunes & App Store or the Book Store. 

To do this, repeat steps 1-5.

Then, select’ Always Require’ or ‘Don’t Require.’


Allow built-in apps and features

You have the option of limiting the use of built-in apps or functionalities. When you disable an app or feature, it is not removed; instead, it is temporarily hidden from your Home Screen. If you switch off podcasts, for example, the podcasts app will not appear on your Home Screen until you turn it back on.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Screen Time.
  2. Then, select ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions.’
  3. Type the passcode from your Screen Time account.
  4. Pick ‘Allowed Apps.’
  5. Finally, choose the apps you want the user to have access to. 

Prevent explicit content and content ratings

You can also disable the playback of explicit music as well as movies or TV series with certain ratings. Apps also have ratings, which can be adjusted using content limitations.

You can also disable the playback of explicit music as well as movies or TV series with certain ratings. Apps can also be rated, which can be done through the use of content restrictions.

To limit explicit content and content ratings, implement the following measures:

  1. Go to the Settings menu and select Screen Time.
  2. Then, under Content & Privacy Restrictions, select Content Restrictions.
  3. Select the desired settings for each feature or configuration under Allowed Store Content. 

Does iPhone Screen Time include podcasts?

Yes, you also can restrict the following sorts of content:

  • Music Videos
  • Music Profiles
  • Movies
  • Books
  • Apps
  • App Clips



Can you delete Screen Time history?

No, because Screen Time is a built-in function of iOS devices, you cannot completely remove it. Nevertheless, it can only be tracked if Screen Time is enabled beforehand.

To do this, on your iPhone, 

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ app.
  2. Scroll down to ‘Screen Time’ and select it.
  3. At the bottom of the page, choose ‘Turn Off Screen Time.’
  4. Tap the confirmation to turn it off. 

Prevent web content

iOS and iPadOS can filter website content intelligently to prevent access to adult material in Safari and other apps on your phone. You can also add websites to an approved list or blacklist them, or restrict access to only approved websites.

  1. Enter the Screen Time section via Settings
  2. Select an option called “This is My Child’s Device” (option is only available in Apple devices with iOS 13 version or higher)
    You’ll be asked to share your password twice (2FA)
  3. Select the “Content and Privacy Restrictions” option inside the “This is My Child’s Device” section
  4. Activate the Content and Privacy Restrictions feature.
    In the Content and Privacy Restrictions section, you can limit, enable, or disable different apps and websites. 
  5. Select the “iTunes and App Store Purchases” option to:
    – Allow or block the installation of apps
    – Allow or block the deletion of apps
    – Allow or block all in-app purchases


Children often make in-app purchases while gaming. Blocking all in-app purchases can prevent accidental purchases. 

Use the same steps to limit the purchase/renting of movies or songs in the iTunes Store. 

If the Content Restrictions option is activated, the iPhone will automatically block all adult-rated content on your child’s device.

Instead of customizing these restrictions, select your country/region in the ratings section. For example, if you select the USA, the operating system will automatically apply suitable content ratings for kids.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Screen Time.’
  2. In the ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ section, enter your Screen Time passcode.
  3. Choose ‘Content Restrictions’ and then ‘Web Content.’ 
  4. From the list, select either Unrestricted Access, Adult Websites Only, or Allowed Websites Only. 

Restrict Siri web search

  1. Go to the Settings menu and select Screen Time.
  2. Then, under Content & Privacy Restrictions, select Content Restrictions.
  3. Scroll to Siri, to select your preferences.
  4. You can limit the following Siri features:
  5. Web Search Content: Tell Siri not to search online when you make an inquiry.
  6. Explicit Language: Stop Siri from using and displaying explicit language. 

Restrict Game Center

You can customize the Game Center settings by limiting features such as – Multiplayer Games, Screen Recording, or Adding Friends.

These restrictions apply to all games on your child’s device as well. By optimizing the “Game Center” settings, you can prevent your child from participating in multiplayer games.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Screen Time.’
  2. Then, under’ Content & Privacy Restrictions,’ select ‘Content Restrictions.’
  3. Scroll down to ‘Game Center,’ then set your preferences.

You can restrict multiplayer games, adding or connecting with friends, screen recording, nearby players, private messaging, profile privacy changes or avatar and nickname changes.

Multiplayer games are often targeted by cyber criminals, potential predators, cyber bullies, etc.


Allow changes to privacy settings

Your device’s privacy controls allow you to select which apps have access to information digitally stored or hardware features. 

For example, you can provide a social-networking app access to the camera, allowing you to capture and publish photos.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Screen Time.’
  2. Then select ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions.’
  3. Type your passcode if prompted.
  4. Choose ‘Privacy’ and then select the settings you want to restrict. 

Allow changes to other settings and features

Changes to other settings and features can be authorized in the same manner that changes to privacy settings can be enabled.

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and select Screen Time.
  2. Select ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions.’
  3. Type your passcode if prompted.
  4. Select Under ‘Allow Changes,’ choose the features or settings that you want to allow changes to. 

Limiting communication

This “communication limits” option is only available in Apple devices with iOS 13 version or higher. It enables parents to restrict who their children can be in contact with during allowed Screen Time (when they are authorized to use the phone) and Downtime (when they shouldn’t be using the phone).

  1. Enter the Screen Time section via Settings
  2. Select your child’s profile
  3. Select the Communication Limits option by sharing the password
  4. Choose “Everyone” or select only specific contacts 

The contacts you don’t select won’t be able to communicate with your child’s phone during allowed Screen Time and Downtime.


How to Monitor Multiple Apple Devices?

You can monitor your child’s device through your phone. You’ll need to create a separate Apple ID for your child first.

  1. Enter Settings
  2. To access your account, click on your Apple profile
  3. Then click “Family Sharing”
  4. Go to the “Screen Time” section. You will find an option titled “Add Family Member”
  5. Click on that option.



Adding family members

To add any family member through these Family Sharing settings, activate the “Share Across Devices” option. 

You can use this option to monitor Screen Time activities across all your iOS devices.

Security Tip

Make sure to enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) for your “Family Sharing” setting. By setting up a two-step password authentication system, you can share Screen Time information across all devices safely and securely.


How to Limit App Time for Children?

Once “Family Sharing” is activated, you can start setting limits on the apps/features your child uses. You can even set specific time limits for app usage.

  1. Go to Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences
  3. Select Screen Time
  4. Select the profile of the family member you want to monitor (in this case, your child)
  5. Select Downtime in the sidebar.
    Then, click “Turn On” (this option will appear in the upper-right corner of your screen)
  6. Create time frames to allow certain apps at certain times
  7. Modify the “From” time and the “To” time options

You can customize days, schedule limitations for different times the week, and create all types of restrictions on downloaded, third-party apps. 


How to Get Screen Time Reports to Oversee My Child’s Phone Activities?

Apple’s Screen Time feature gives users detailed reports about the device’s usage throughout the day. These reports detail the apps your child has opened recently, any websites they might have visited, and other usage details. 

To access this report:

  1. Click Settings
  2. Enter Screen Time
  3. Tap the graphical report that will appear on top
  4. After activating the “Share Across Devices” options, you can access usage reports of all your Apple devices from one source.

The Screen Time feature is a decent tool for parents to keep a check on their children’s iPhone activities and limit screen time on the iPhone. But it doesn’t block all types of potentially harmful content. 

Even if you learn how to change settings on the iPhone and block all potentially dangerous apps or websites, your child’s phone may be targeted through other avenues.

Bear in mind – child predators, online bullies, trolls, etc., know their ways around these restrictions. They know that Apple’s iOS can’t detect things like –

Inappropriate images in the child’s Apple gallery
Inappropriate images or words in text messages
Text messages that feature abusive words, threats, etc.

That’s why parents are advised to use third-party parental control apps on top of Apple’s in-built Screen Time features.

MMGuardian is a ‘veteran’ in the parental control app industry. The company’s Machine Learning-powered app uses AI to assess all images on the child’s device. Don’t worry – this process occurs on the child’s device, so images are not stored in a database or sent anywhere from the child’s device.

If any inappropriate message, image, or any other form of content is discovered on your child’s phone the MMGuardian app will send ‘Safety Alerts’ to parents. Parents can also view all of their child’s iMessage and SMS texts if they want to check for themselves instead of relying on alerts.

At a very affordable price, the MMGuardian app is the best parental control app for iphone in the market. It goes beyond mere limitations on screen time on the iPhone. It allows parents to have peace of mind knowing they can keep track of who their child is messaging and what they’re messaging about


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