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How to Set Parental Controls for the iPhone App Store

Updated on August 27, 2012

© kevin languedoc (klanguedoc)

The AppStore is a great distribution system for mobile iOS apps and has inspire others to follow suit like Google, Amazon, RIM (BlackBerry) and Microsoft. The App Store is part of the iTunes platform and is available to all iOS devices as well for Windows and Mac computers. As more teens adopt the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, the need to set some controls over the type of content they download has become increasingly important, although Apple has stringent controls on the quality of the content available for download, teens nevertheless can will download hoards of games and other digital content without too much as to the cost of the apps, the consumed bandwidth (if connected through a home network) or clogging up the devices with apps that they soon lose interest in. Also while Apple has controls of the quality of the apps that are available, there is little control over the free content available in the bookstore, podcast or iTunes University. Especially the content in iTunes University and Podcast is free and open to anyone who wishes to upload sexual content, hate related content or other types of questionable content with little restrictions. This can also be said for music.

Luckily Apple has recognized this threat and has provided security settings on all iOS devices to allow parents and guardians to limit the type of content that can be downloaded from the App Store.

Settings App
Settings App | Source
General Section
General Section | Source
Set Passcode on Restrictions
Set Passcode on Restrictions | Source

App Store Parental Controls on iOS Devices

To set Parental Controls on an IPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad as the instructions are the same except on the iPad the layout of the screen is different to take advantage of the larger screen) follow these instructions:

1- Open the Settings app
2- Select the General section in Settings
3- Locate and select the Restrictions menu item
4- If this is the first time you are settings Restrictions, you will be prompted to enter a PIN code (you will need to re-enter to confirm)
5-At the top of the screen locate the Enable Restrictions link to enable

  • Restrictions are organized into groups:
  • Apple apps
  • Location and accounts
  • Allowed Content
  • Game Center

Enable Default Apps
Enable Default Apps | Source
Disabling the Location Services
Disabling the Location Services | Source

Setting Restrictions

Apple Apps

To disable access to certain Apple apps, slide the on/off switch to off on the right hand side. In this section you can disallow the removal or installation of apps downloaded from the App Store. You can also restrict access to FaceTime, or the Camera amongst others like using iTunes and YourTube where explicit material can be found.

1-You can select to Disallow Changes which prevent apps from using the Location Services
2-You can toggle the On/Off switch to Off for Location Services to prevent Location Services from HotSpots
3-You switch off the Location Services on the Camera, certain games and apps that are using the Location Services and Find My iPhone (or related devices).
4-You can also opt to switch off Compass Calibration, Diagnostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds, Setting Time Zone and also stopping the Location from appearing on the Status Bar Icon.

Disabling Accounts Modifications
Disabling Accounts Modifications | Source


  1. You can block anyone from making changes to the Accounts settings under Accounts.
  2. To disable the Accounts modifications select the "Don't Allow Changes". The settings automatically saved.

Setting Allowable Content
Setting Allowable Content | Source

Under Allowed Content
1- You can set ratings for your selected country
2- You can block any explicit content for Music & Podcasts
3- You can disallow movies or set the maximum rating that can be downloaded and viewed. The ratings are the standard ratings that you will find on movies (G, PG, 14A, 18A, R)
4- For TV Shows, you can select a rating of either: C, C8, G, PG, 14+ or 18+. You can also disallow all TV Shows
5-For apps, you set the maximum app rating to either: 4+, 9+, 12+, or 17+ or to disallow all app downloads and use
6-You can also turn off In-App Purchases
7- You can also set when the password is required to be re-entered

Restricting Game Center Access
Restricting Game Center Access | Source

Game Center
1-For Multiplayer Games, you can disallow any use of Multiplayer Games by toggling the On/Off switch
2-You can also prevent anyone from adding Friends to Multiplayer Games


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    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, much appreciate it

    • Mellonyy profile image

      Mellonyy 5 years ago

      I appreciate the information. Voting this Up!

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Kaili

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

      Up and useful Kevin. Every parent should read this. I have also pinned it.

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 5 years ago from Canada

      Exactly, it can add up quickly. I have two teens and they both love downloading music and apps. We have to have limits because they still understand the consequences.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Very useful information! I see kids going around on their cell phones all the time...if they download the wrong apps, they may be hitting their parents with $100+ in fees to the Iphone.

      Voted up and interesting!