Kids love the iPad. If you purchase an iPad for your child or allow them to use yours, then you might want to be proactive when it comes to protecting them from nefarious apps or content, not to mention protect you from unauthorized credit card charges. Here’s how to setup parental controls on iPad.

Setting up a Passcode Lock
If you only allow your child to use an iPad with adult supervision, then you can easily setup a passcode. This essentially puts a lock on the iPad, requiring a code to access any content. To set up new Passcode, do the following:
On your iPad, navigate to Settings > General Passcode Lock>Turn Passcode On
From here you’ll have to enter and re-enter a 4 digit passcode.

setup parental controls on iPad

When the iPad is powered on, the four digit passcode is required.

Parental controls iPad

Tip: Make sure you do not have the option ‘Erase Data’ checked. If someone has 10 failed attempts at entering the correct password, the iPad will go into self-destruct mode, deleting all of the data.

Using Restrictions To Hide Apps
If there are certain apps that you want to restrict, setting this option effectively allows you to hide the apps. They aren’t removed from the iPad, but cannot be accessed at all, even from search. Here’s how to hide or restrict apps on the iPad or iPhone.

  • Navigate to Settings > General > Restrictions > Select Enable Restrictions
  • Enter a 4 digit numeric passcode (you’ll need to do this twice)
  • Turn off apps that you’d like to hide

Tip: Restrictions are limited to Safari, YouTube, Camera, FaceTime, Ping. Use ratings below to restrict use of apps.

Safari disabled

Bonus Tip: You can also disable Installing Apps and Deleting Apps.

Restricting Content
Using the settings under “Allowed Content”, you can use familiar parental ratings as a guideline for what you children can and cannot watch. For example, if you have already downloaded TV-MA content, you can disable viewing by navigating to Settings > General > Allowed Content > TV Shows > Tap the highest allowed content rating.

Here are the associated categories and rating restriction options.

  • Music and Podcasts: Explicit On/Off
  • Movies: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17.
  • TV Shows: TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA.
  • Apps: 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+.

Tip: You can also set restrictions to not allow all, effectively disabling any category.

Bonus Tip: You can disable use of all third party apps using content restrictions.

How to turn off in-app purchases
A number of popular games on the App Store are free. The cost of free is usually offset by in-app purchases or advertising. To prevent in-app purchase, you can turn them off in Settings > General > Allowed Content > In-App Purchases > Off.

Parental Controls and Safari on iPad
Unlike the Mac, there are no parental controls in Safari on the iPad. A workaround is to use the Restrictions to hide Safari, then utilize a third party application with built-in parental controls. One such app is the K9 Web Protection Browser. The free app acts as a browser replacement for Safari, that automatically blocks pornography, open image/media search, nudity, violence, racism, hate, intimate apparel and more. It will also filter potentially malicious sites that include phising, proxy avoidance, spyware and more.

Restricted websites

Setting up parental controls on the iPad and using restriction settings allows you to filter content that you feel is appropriate for your child. When used in conjunction with third party apps, you can easily create a kid-safe environment on the iPad.