How to Set Up iPhone Parental Controls and Content Filtering

If you have a young one and want to block access to certain things while they have an iPhone, here’s how to set up parental controls and content filtering.

So you just bought your son or daughter a fancy new iPhone, but you don’t really want them to be exposed to the crazy world that is the internet, or you might just be afraid they’ll spend all your money on in-app purchases. Thankfully, Apple has included a bevy of parental control options in iOS 8 that should ease your worry as you hand over the device.


Of course, Apple makes it easy to adjust settings and such, but it’s a little hard to find and you have to know what to look for in order to get there. We’ll show you how to access parental controls in iOS 8, as well as walk you through some of the settings you can change so that your young ones stay safe, as well as keep them from spending all of your hard-earned money.

Setting Up iPhone Parental Controls

It’s easy to access parental controls in iOS 8, but it’s not listed under “Parental Controls,” so you may be digging around the settings trying to find something that isn’t there. Open up the Settings app, tap on General and scroll down until you see Restrictions. If you’ve never accessed this area before, you’ll see Enable Restrictions at the top. Tap on this to begin setting up parental controls.



When you tap on Enable Restrictions, you’ll be asked to create a Restrictions Passcode so that anyone unauthorized won’t be able to go in and change these settings when you’re not looking.


You’ll be asked to enter in the passcode twice at first, but you’ll only have to enter it in once after the initial setup process anytime you want to go back in and change settings. After you create a passcode, now it’s time to dive deep into the parental control settings.

Customizing iPhone Parental Controls

I’ve never actually dove deep into iOS 8’s parental controls before, as I don’t have a child to enable them for, but I was pleasantly surprised to see way more options than I originally expected. Of course, one of the biggest settings that many parents will restrict is in-app purchases. You can easily find that by scrolling down just a bit. Just tap on the toggle switch to right of In-App Purchases (so that it turns from green to gray) and you’re set.

You’ll also see other apps and features in that list that you can turn off, including the camera, Safari, FaceTime and Siri. You can also prevent your child from installing and deleting apps on their own.

The next section is Allowed Content, and this is mostly where you can restrict what your child can view based on the rating of a particular movie, TV show or app that they might try to download and play with.


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You can block music that has explicit lyrics, and specifically choose what movies they watch based on their MPAA rating. You can also block movies altogether if you want, but who would be so cruel?

The next section, titled Privacy, will let you allow or not allow changes to specific areas of your iOS device. For instance, you can set it so that your child can’t turn off the GPS and can’t make changes to various default apps, like Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Photos, etc.

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Apps and features that allow changes will show up in a different section further down titled Allow Changes.


The last section deals with Game Center, which is Apple’s centralized gaming hub that keeps track of scores and achievements for compatible games.

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In this section, you can easily prohibit your child from playing multiplayer games (because playing with others is apparently frowned upon), and you can also disable the ability to add friends (again, making friends is apparently frowned upon). Of course, we joke, and there are some cases when parents would actually want to enable this, especially to prevent their child from being exposed to cyber bullying and other online harassment.

In the end, it’s important to be proactive as a parent. You hear stories constantly about children using their parents’ iOS device only to find out that they racked up huge iTunes Store bills because they went on a careless shopping spree for apps and in-app purchases. By restricting your child from doing this in the first place, you save yourself tons of headaches, as well as keeping your virtual wallet safe from your little ones.