Take control of the content that can be accessed on an iPhone or iPad. Configure it to block unwanted content and set it up for kids.

By configuring a wide range of restrictions you can control what can and cannot be done on an iPhone or iPad. This is useful if there are other people that use your devices, especially children.

By default, there are no restrictions on the use of the iPhone and iPad, but sometimes you need them. You might not want to let your kids have free access to the App Store, or FaceTime. It could cause problems if other users, such as mischievous children, could delete apps on your devices. Apps can be reinstalled of course, but it is still a major irritation and you may lose settings.

You may not wish to see explicit content in various types of media, such as movies, books, music or on the web. It can be blocked if you prefer it and you will definitely need it if you let your children use your iPhone or iPad.

1 General settings

Tap the Settings app on the home screen and then press General. Press Restrictions on the next screen. When restrictions are not active, the Restrictions screen appears.

 iPhone Settings app iPhone General settings


2 Enable iOS restrictions

When restrictions are disabled, all content is available whether it is explicit language, adult themes and more. Press Enable Restrictions and you are prompted to set up a  PIN code. Do not forget it because it is needed to disable restrictions or to change any of the settings.

 Enable restrictions in iPhone Settings Set a PIN code in iPhone restrictions


3 Allow or block apps

In the Allow section at the top you can choose whether the user is allowed to browse the web with Safari, take photos with the camera, use FaceTime to chat to people and so on.

Use the switches to choose which items to allow or block. Apps are hidden if you disable them with the switches, such as iTunes Store, the App Store and so on. This prevents them from being used and it is also a way of hiding some of the built in Apple apps if you want to use alternatives. For example, you could restrict the News app, which hides it, and then you could install your own preferred news app from the App Store.

Right down at the bottom are options to allow or prevent changes to certain settings, such as accounts, mobile data , background app refresh, and so on. You might want to prevent a child from playing multiplayer games or from adding friends.

 Choose which apps can be used in iPhone restrictions Limit the changes apps can make in iPhone restrictions 


5 Increase privacy with restrictions

In the Privacy section you can choose which apps have access to contacts, photos, and other items. Tap each of these and you can see which apps have access and after setting the switches to enable or disable apps, select Don’t Allow Changes.

You could, for example, block Messenger from accessing Contacts by turning off the switch. You could prevent new apps from accessing your photos by selecting Don’t Allow Changes.

This is not just for setting up the iPhone or iPad for other people and kids, it enables you to choose which apps have access to your data. Your privacy can be increased by enabling restrictions and limiting the apps with access to things.

 Privacy restrictions on the iPhone in the Settings app Limit access to contacts by setting switches in iPhone restrictions


6 Limit explicit and adult content

There is a section dedicated to limiting the type of content that can be accessed on the iPhone and iPad. For example, adult content and explicit language in music, films, TV, website, books and so on, is allowed without restrictions, but when they are turned on, you can block them.

Whether you block content for yourself is your choice. You should certainly use these blocking features if the iPhone or iPad is to be used by children.

 Block or allow content on the iPhone Block unwanted content on the iPhone


Summing up

Some of these restrictions are useful for increasing your own privacy or for limiting content that you don’t like, such as explicit content or sexual references. The settings are essential if you have children that use your iPhone or iPad.

Setting a PIN code lock is compulsory, so only you can undo any changes and this prevents anyone else from disabling the restrictions.