Quick Guide: Setting Up an iPhone for Your Child

We here at EverythingiCafe.com hope you had a great holidays season, filled with family, friends, and cool gadget gifts. If you or a loved one got a new iPhone recently, we’ve got a few great articles you should check out, like this Getting Started with iPhone article and this one on caring for your iPhone. If you were the giver of an iPhone this time around and the recipient happens to be a son or daughter who needs some limits to ensure they don’t get into trouble with their new iPhone, read on.

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Image courtesy of mpaa.org

Your son or daughter is most likely thrilled with his or her new iPhone, though their enthusiasm may cause you a little worry. What happens if they run up your iTunes account bill downloading music and apps willy nilly? What if they get into some adult-oriented content on the internet through the Safari browser? If these concerns have crossed your mind, then rest a little easier knowing that there is a way to set restrictions on the iPhone itself so that they can’t get into too much trouble.

In the Settings under General, there’s a Restrictions menu that will take you to this screen:

enable-restrictions

This is where you’ll control the access your child will have within various apps, like YouTube and Safari, as well as place limits on their purchasing ability within iTunes and more.

To start setting this up, you will first need to tap the Enable Restrictions button at the top of the screen. You’ll then be prompted to enter a Restrictions Passcode. This code will prevent anyone else who doesn’t know the code from changing the Restrictions settings. Of course, don’t share this code with the young one who will be using the iPhone or all of the restrictions you set will be for naught.

set-passcode

Once you’ve set the Restrictions Passcode, you can choose which apps can be accessed on the iPhone in the Allow list:

restrictions-main

When a switch is set to On in this list, this means the app can be accessed. Changing to the switch to Off removes the specified app from the iPhone’s screen entirely – it hasn’t been deleted, it’s just been made “invisible” so it can’t be accessed.

Choosing to disable Safari and YouTube will of course prevent access to the web and YouTube videos. Next on the list, choosing to disable iTunes and Installing Apps will prevent downloads from the iTunes store and the App Store through the apps on the iPhone (since they’ll disappear from the iPhone’s home screen) – this will have no effect on what can be purchased within iTunes on the computer used to sync the iPhone.

Disabling the Camera does exactly what it sounds like it does, along with removing the Camera app from the home screen. In these days of “sexting” this may be an option some parents want to consider.

Disabling Location might be a little more tricky depending on how much you may want to keep tabs on the young one using the iPhone or allow him or her to get location information. This will prevent any applications from using information from the iPhone’s GPS chip (or obtained via Wi-Fi and/or cell tower triangulation), meaning that the user won’t be able to geotag messages, tweets, or photos (if the Camera app is allowed) but will also prevent the user from getting pinpointed local map data within the Google Maps app, for example.

The next section covers in-app purchasing and content that can be viewed on the iPhone. If you allow the user to access the App Store, you can choose to allow or disallow in-app purchases separately in the first line item here. After this, you can choose your country, which will automatically apply the local rating system used to specify content that may not be suitable for those under certain ages.

allowed-content

country-ratings

After this, you can select to allow explicit content for music and podcasts as well as specific ratings for movies, TV shows, and even apps.

music-podcasts1

movies

tv-shows

Once you’ve made your selections, you can simply exit Settings and you’re all done. Hand that iPhone over to your son or daughter and rest assured that they’ll only have access to what you’ve declared acceptable. Unless he or she guesses the passcode you chose, anyway. Be sure to select one that they won’t guess, not your birthday, their birthday, or some other common number that has significance in your family. If they try multiple times to guess your passcode, the iPhone will display the number of failed attempts and stop allowing entry after increasing periods of time, so it won’t be easy to crack without a lot of time and patience.

passcode-attempts

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That’s all for this week’s installment in our Learning iPhone series. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions below!

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