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How to Set Up Parental Controls on Your Child’s iPhone to Keep Them Safe (Update iOS 15)

This guide has been comprised to show you how to install and set parental control parameters for your child’s iPhone. You can learn how to do this through Content & Privacy Restrictions provided with iOS or through apps that give you complete control of a smartphone, including live geolocation, social media accounts, and access to messages.

How to set up parental controls on an iPhone and iPad

Hey, it’s Frankie here today to talk about setting up parental control on iOS devices.

If you are a parent concerned for the safety of your child, you are the person whom this article was written for.

Statistics can show the reason, as the reputable statista.com states, that cyberbullying, sexual misconduct, and stalking online are on the rise. You can read about these rising numbers, like the current projections that nearly 40% of children from 12 to 17 have been a victim of cyberbullying at least once.

When I saw this data, I knew that there had to be something that I could do to help.

I do not have the luck of having a child of my own, which means I lack some of the paranoia of parenting. I am never unimpressed by the resolve that many of these parents have for avoiding danger by raising their children in an atmosphere of unconditional love and compassion.

I know that one day I will work just as hard to be a good dad, but until then, my goal is to support you.

One of the first things that you need to know, is that there are two ways to activate parental controls on an iPhone:

  • one of the first of these is accessing Content & Privacy Restrictions provided by Apple’s iOS operating system, which can restrict access to specific apps, websites, purchases on iTunes, and what content can be accessed in the App Store.
  • Another is installing some parental control app that gives you full access to your child’s iPhone. These programs allow you to read messages, access social media, control calls, and utilize live GPS to always know where your child is.

By looking over this guide, you will be able to:

  • Install these parental control options on an iPhone (How to Put Parental Controls on iPhone)
  • Set it to restrict access to specific apps, sites, or potential purchases.
  • Know what are the best possible control apps to gain full access to your child’s phone.

I should warn you: this is not a short guide. I have included all of the pertinent information that I have on the subject.

Ready? Good.


Frankie’s Take:

You might have seen in my other guides that I typically take a lighter tone and joke around. Unfortunately, the world that we are living in is one that could harm innocent children, which is not a subject I should convey lightly. I get pissed thinking of the scum trolling the internet and I am going to help you.

Setting Up Parental Controls on iPhone with Content & Privacy Restrictions

Okay, Frankie. I put myself in your knowing hands. But one question before we get going: What can parental controls restrict?

Great question!

There are numerous restrictions and limits that you can implement on an iPhone with parental controls. You can block: Facetime, Siri Virtual Assistant, Sending files to other devices through AirDrop, iTunes, iBooks, Podcasts, App Store (including blocking purchases without approval), restrict content by age ratings, stop account changes or modifications of settings.

To put it plainly, they are a way to block a child’s access to anything that you might consider inappropriate for them because of their age or sensitivity, or even just your better judgement.

So, how do you enable any of these restrictions?

All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Click  Screen Time
  3. Turn ON Screen Time
  4. Click Continue and choose one of two options: This is My [Name of Device] or This is My Child’s [Name of Device]. You would choose the first if the phone is yours, but you allow your child to use it. The second option si only when your child uses the device. I would suggest choosing this.
  5. You can see a series of windows now where you can choose to set up Downtime (usage restrictions on the device) and App Limits. You can choose “Not Now” for both at this time.
  6. Now a new screen, Content & Privacy appears. Click Continue.
  7. You can set a Screen Time Password (4-digit passcode). This same code is necessary to activate, change, or deactivate restrictions.
  8. Re-enter this same passcode to confirm it.

How to Set Up Parental Controls on iPhone

To guarantee that you do not have any mishaps in getting these steps accomplished, I have put together a short video to help.

Remember: Keep this code safe somewhere. If you lose it, you will have to reinitialize your iPhone and lose any data not backed up to the iCloud. Do not use an easy-to-guess code (birthdays, 1111, 1234, etc.) Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and they will figure it out for sure if you make it simple.


You have activated parental controls for your child’s iPhone!

Now you just need to set the appropriate restrictions. Here is how!

Block Access to Suggestive Websites

One of the first things that you can do is to keep your child from getting on websites that feature adult content or ‘strong’ imagery.

Here is how you do that:

  • Head to Settings > Screen Times
  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your Screen Time Passcode you made.
  • Tap Content Restrictions then on Web Content
  • Choose among three options: Unrestricted Access, Limited Adult Websites, or Allowed Websites Only.

Prevent web content on iPhone and iPad

This is where you are going to decide how to protect your child. Unrestricted means off – a browser on the internet could go anywhere. If you choose Limit Adult Websites, you can block access to all adult sites simultaneously. By choosing Allowed Websites Only, you manually enter the sites where your child can go.


Frankie’s Take:

Limiting access to sites, or allowing access to a small handful of options is a good way of protecting your children from porn websites, images of death or car accidents, war scenes, and more.

Preventing the Use of Specific Apps

Another restriction that you can utilize stops users from accessing specific apps. You can deactivate your choices to restrict their use.

The process is simple:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time
  • Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  • Enter your Screen Time Passcode
  • Tap Allowed Apps
  • Choose any apps you want to disable.

Prevent use of specific apps and features

Remember: This is a way to restrict only access to pre-installed content like Mail, Safari, Siri, Wallet, and more. You cannot restrict access to apps like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, or others. If you want to restrict access to these and hide them from the home screen, you need to read this guide.

Frankie’s Take:

Want to know a secret? I have a trick for blocking all apps on a phone for age appropriate content. From the Content & Privacy Restrictions area, you can click on Content Restrictions > Apps and select an age range of your child. The iPhone automatically recognizes inappropriate apps, sites, and content based on the age.

Blocking Purchases on iTunes or App Store

You might find that your child inadvertently makes app or content purchase.s

Many games allow you to purchase bundles or unlock features to access more content. Making these purchases is easy enough that a child could do it. Games get linked to Apple accounts where they get downloaded – if a credit card is linked to the same account it is likely that these purchases are only a single click away.

Good news! You can block purchases from the App Store and iTunes.

Here is how you do it:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time
  • Content & Privacy Restrictions (Enter code if prompted)
  • Click on iTunes & App Store Purchases
  • In-App Purchases > Don’t Allow.

Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases


Frankie’s Take:

This is a block that is useful when your child is more than 7 years old and plays games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, Clash of Clans, etc. Check the iPhone and see if these apps are installed. A few years back I had a cousin that spent more than $300 on Clash of Clans. True story! 😩

Set Privacy Restrictions

Another thing that I might suggest to you are Privacy Restrictions.

Allow me to explain – Many apps like Facebook, WhatsApp or Messenger require access to information on your iPhone like photos and contacts. You give these apps access to the camera roll and content taken and saved by your child. You can stop sites from having access to their images, their contact list, or their current location.

If you want my opinion on the matter, I would avoid anything that could lead to a picture of your child circulating the world wide web. Anyone with ill-intent could use these images to without your consent.

It is faster and safer to block access.

Here is how you do it:

  • Settings > Screen Time
  • Content & Privacy Restrictions (if necessary, enter the Screen Time Password)
  • Find the Privacy section and choose which setting the restrictions apply to

Below are the main features that I suggest you modify with restrictions. These include:

  1. Location Services – You can prevent sites and apps from knowing where your child is
  2. Contacts – Blocks access to contacts
  3. Photos – Prevents apps from accessing the camera roll on the phone
  4. Advertising – Prevents visualization of irrelevant ads (sites and apps with erotic content, etc.)

Frankie’s Take:

Apply all of the restrictions as soon as possible! Why? You don’t know what apps do with your child’s information and you don’t want to find out. How many times have you heard that Facebook got hacked and millions of users’ data became at risk? Your child’s information could be among that breach.

Congrats – I have shown you Apple’s method for setting up parental controls.

It is not without its limits, though.

Limit 1 – If your child is over 13, Apple Method is not the best option. Why you ask? Would you like to be the person keeping your kids from all forms of social media or not letting him play Fortnite or Clash of Clans with his friends? Its more than likely he will find some way to do all that anyway.

Limit 2 – You do not get access to some of the applications that you have granted access to, such as WhatsApp or Messenger. You also cannot determine where they are at any given time with their live GPS.

Limit 3 – He is going to know that parental controls are active, so they are not going to act as they normally would anyway.

Here is what the point of this is: If you have a younger child, the Apple Method can keep them under control. If your child is a bit older and starting to hang out with their friends, the iOS solution might not be the best choice.

Worry not, there is a solution.

You can utilize a parental control app instead.

Want to know how it works? I will show you right now.

The Best Parental Control App for an iPhone

I am not going to waste your time with some obnoxiously long list and information that is only going to leave you more confused.

I am going to tell you the one, singular app that I think is the best in this case. If you want some more options, you can check out my article all about how to secretly monitor your child’s phone and see their text messages.

mSpy app monitor child's phone

My choice is (drumroll please🥁) … mSpy.

You might have already done some Google searching into the topic, so there is no doubt that you have read that name before. It is the most famous and widely used parental control app on the market.

With mSpy you can:

  • Read WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and iMessage conversations
  • Know in real-time where your children are
  • Browse recent internet history
  • See who is getting called and who is calling your child

Spy on iPhone with mSpy App

This is a very simple program to install, and it requires very little computer knowledge. All you need are iCloud login credentials.

I would like to share a quick trick with you. Install mSpy before you give your child the iPhone and create their iCloud account. That way you have uninterrupted access to the phone and an iCloud ID and password.

If you do have issues, you can always reach mSpy for assistance for free. They have technical support available 24/7, 365. You can also consult my step-by-step guide to install the program properly. It is the most complete guide available on the internet because the developers of this program helped me to write it.

But even better?

It is a program that leaves no trail or breadcrumbs that it exists. The software connects to the iCloud account and captures information from there.

Your child is not going to notice anything amiss, but you have to do well to figure out how you know when he is not doing what he should be or is not where he said he would be.

Now, I believe you are ready to officially begin monitoring your child’s iPhone.

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Frankie’s Take:

As I have said before, mSpy is the most comprehensive and suitable solution to monitoring the behavior and device actions of your child. It will be an invisible app, so they will not need to know or ever find out. They might feel like they have freedom with a phone, but you are doing your part to keep them safe and protected by monitoring them remotely.


Now that we have reached the end, I believe you have all of the information that you need to instill some degree of parental control.

Before fully departing, I would like to take a moment and recap what we have learned by reading through the guide, just to make sure that you did not miss something important.

I showed you first how to set up iOS parental controls through the iPhone itself. Some of the main restrictions that you can implement are:

  • Visualization of certain sites (violence, porn, dating)
  • Access to certain applications (Those you believe are unsuitable or inappropriate for your growing child)
  • In-App Purchases on iTunes (so they don’t ‘accidentally’ spend all your money)
  • Sharing information on a mobile phone to certain apps or sites.

After that, I labeled some of the limitations to choosing iOS Parental Control, such as:

  • You cannot access conversations
  • You might make your child stand out from their friends who are not monitored

Finally, I brought mSpy to your attention. This is one of the most widely used parental control apps on the planet. It is:

I hope that the information that I have included in this guide can help you to get the kind of control and peace of mind with your child’s iPhone that you desire.

If you happen to have any doubts – or just want my advice – leave a post below and I can be sure to get back with you.

Come back and visit me often. I have much more informative pieces to come in the fields of privacy and online security.

A hug from me to you,

Frankie Caruso

P.S. – I recommend you take a look at an article I wrote about the 3 most effective ways to spy on iPhone.

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About Frankie Caruso

I'm Frankie Caruso. I'm a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media, instant messaging apps and computer security. I help all those frustrated people who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world.

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