The iPhone hack all parents need to know

Managing kids and technology isn’t the easiest part of parenting today, but there are some simple things you can do to keep your kids safe in the digital jungle, while still ensuring they get the most out of their technology. Here are some really simple ways you can have a little more control over what happens on your kids’ iPhones and iPads.

1. How can I control what my kids have access to on their iPhone?

You can block explicit content, restrict which movies your kids have access to based on their rating, and restrict their access to apps, websites, social media, advertising and services like Siri, iCloud and FaceTime by turning on Restrictions.

How to limit what your kids can do with their iPad by turning on Restrictions:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions
  2. Enable Restrictions and create a passcode
  3. Choose the apps and features that you wish to restrict

2. How can I make sure my child only uses the app we’ve agreed on?

Guided Access can be used to temporarily limit your device to a single app, as well as letting you control which app features are available. Once it’s turned on with a triple click of the Home button, your kids won’t be able to open other apps or content.

How to set up Guided Access

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
  2. Turn Guided Access on
  3. Enter a passcode and re-confirm it

3. How can I stop the “just 5 more minutes” debate from lasting for hours?

We’ve all heard the plea: “Please Mum, just 5 more minutes!” only to be met with a tantrum when the extra time is up. Guided Access lets you set a time limit on how much longer your child can use an app. The iPhone will give your child a 30 second warning, and will go to sleep when time is up – just in time for their own bedtime!

How to set a time limit on a Guided Access session

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
  2. Tap Time Limits
  3. Choose a Sound to be played when their time is up
  4. Open the app you want to use
  5. Triple-click the Home button to turn on Guided Access
  6. Tap Time Limit Options to set a time limit
  7. Tap Start

4. How can we share content across all of our family’s devices?

These days, the average family home contains multiple tech devices – and each one probably has different apps, books, music, movies and TV shows loaded onto it. You can access all of your purchases with all of your devices by setting up Family Sharing, which makes it easy for up to six family members to share each other’s content, without sharing accounts.

How to set up Family Sharing

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing
  2. Invite other family members to join, and create Apple IDs (usernames) for younger kids
  3. Set up a shared payment method

5. Should my child have their own username?

Your username, or Apple ID, synchs things like your purchases, personal messages, contacts and calendar across your devices. Many parents don’t want their kids to be able to open (and accidentally reply to or delete) their emails, social media or photos, which is very possible if you’re all sharing the same Apple ID.

Setting up an Apple ID for each of your kids allows you to set separate controls for what they can use, without impacting your own access. With Family Sharing, you can create Apple IDs for children under 13, then monitor and manage what your kids download.

How to create an Apple ID for your child:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family > Create an Apple ID for a child
  2. Enter the child’s birthday and tap Next
  3. Review the Parent Privacy Disclosure and tap Agree
  4. Confirm a payment method and tap Next
  5. Enter your child’s name, tap Next, then create their Apple ID ( and tap Next
  6. Follow the instructions to set a password, choose security questions, and set up your child’s account

6. How can I make sure my kids don’t download anything without asking for permission first?

Ask to Buy with Family Sharing gives your kids the freedom to make their own choices, while you keep an eye on their downloads and spending. Before your kids can download anything from the App Store, iTunes or iBooks Store, they must ask your permission. You will receive a notification of the requested download on your iPhone or iPad to review, then approve or decline.

For kids under 13, Ask to Buy is turned on by default. You can also turn it on for any member of your family that’s under 18. It applies to requests to download new content, In-App Purchases and even free downloads.

How to turn on Ask to Buy:

  1. You’ll be asked to enable Ask To Buy for any under 18’s when you first set up your Family Sharing group
  2. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family
  3. Tap your family member’s name
  4. Tap Ask to Buy

How to review a request:

  1. Open the notification on your iPhone or iPad to see what your child wants to download
  2. Approve or decline the purchase
  3. If you approve, you need to sign in with your Apple ID and password to make the purchase

7. I don’t want to be the only Download Cop – can my partner help too?

You can also give another parent or guardian in your family group permission to manage Ask to Buy requests. Only one adult needs to manage each purchase, plus your partner will probably also appreciate not having to ask your permission before they download a new book, app or movie for themselves!

How to choose another approver

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family
  2. Tap your family member’s name
  3. Tap Parent/Guardian

8. I don’t want my kids spending wildly on my credit card – how can I avoid this?

By now, you’ve already set up Ask To Buy, so your kids will never be able to make purchases or download content without your permission. A good way to begin to teach your kids the value of money and how to manage their own budget is by giving them a small iTunes Gift card ‘allowance.’ You still have to approve all content downloads through Ask To Buy, but the purchase is billed to their own iTunes credit, not your credit card.

How to give an iTunes Gift

  1. You can buy an iTunes Gift cards at many stores, or
  2. Go to the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the main page
  4. Tap Send Gift
  5. If you’re not already, sign in with your Apple ID and password
  6. Enter your recipient’s email address and add a message if you want to
  7. Enter the amount that you want to gift, then tap Next
  8. Select a theme for your gift, then tap Next
  9. Tap Buy and confirm your purchase

9. How can I make sure my kids aren’t downloading inappropriate apps for their age?

Once you have created separate Apple IDs for your kids, The App Store automatically limits them to apps that are listed as being suited to their age group. The App Store also lists the primary age range (5 and under, 6-8 and 9-11) on each app’s page, so you can check individual apps too. There are also age-appropriate collections in the children’s sections of the iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store.

How to find age-appropriate content on the App Store

  1. Go to the App Store
  2. Tap Categories in the top left corner
  3. Tap Kids, then choose the appropriate age range
  4. Tap on Reviews in a specific app to see its Average Rating and reviews from other users

10. How can I keep track of where everyone is? Including their devices?

When you join a Family Sharing group, you can start sharing your locations with each other automatically. If you’re picking your kids up from a friend’s house, need to check that they made it to soccer practice, or simply want to check they’re still at school (!), Find My Friends is an easy way to keep an eye on where they are throughout the day.

Finding your family’s lost devices is easier when everyone can help. Any family member can use the Find My iPhone app to help locate another member’s missing iPhone, iPad, or Mac, so it’s easier than ever to track it down if it’s lost or stolen.

How to check where your family members – and their devices – are

  1. Each member should share their location when they join your Family Sharing group
  2. Open the Find Friends or Find my iPhone app
  3. Your family members’ locations will be displayed on a map

11. I can barely hear myself think – how can I stop them blasting the volume?

If your kids sometimes pump up the volume too far, you can set a limit to how high they can turn it up using Volume Limit. And if you live with a budding tech genius, you can also stop them from re-setting this limit by selecting ‘Don’t Allow Changes’ to the Volume Limit in Restrictions.

How to set a maximum volume

  1. Go to Settings > Music > Volume Limit
  2. Set the maximum volume level for your child’s device