- What is Screen Time?
- Who Do the Following Instructions Apply To?
- How To tell What Version Of iOS You Have
- Initializing Screen Time
- Setting Up Screen Time
- Summary & Additional Documentation
What is Screen Time?
Screen Time allows you to manage/control what you, your spouse, and your son/daughter are able to view, do, and access on your iPhone or iPad devices.
Who Do the Following Instructions Apply To?
- those with an iPhone or iPad, and the iOS version is 12 or newer.
Note: If your iOS version is 11 or older, than you will need to use the instructions in the iOS 8-11 Parental Controls Overview website instead.
How To tell What Version Of iOS You Have
The version of your iOS is found in the Settings:
Settings > General > About > iOS Version
Initializing Screen Time
Find Screen Time in Your Settings
Screen Time is also found in the Settings:
Settings > Screen Time
Turn On Screen Time
Select ‘Turn On Screen Time’ on both of the next two screens.
Note: If you have already enabled Screen Time previously, jump to step Setting Up Screen Time.
Setting Up for An Adult or A Son/Daughter?
If this iPhone/iPad is for you or your spouse, select the ‘This is My iPhone’ option and then jump to step Setting Up Screen Time.
If it is for your son/daughter, select the ‘This is My Child’s iPhone’ option and continue below.
Setting Up for A Son/Daughter
The first 3 screens will prompt you to set settings up now or later.
Since we will go through these screens in detail below, for each screen select ‘Set Up Later’.
Select ‘Set Up Later’ for all 3 screens:
Set Screen Time Password
Now you will need to enter a 4-digit password, so that Screen Time can only be accessed by entering in this password.
Save this password in a safe spot!
Without this password you will not be able to access Screen Time.
Do not share this password with your son/daughter. If you do share it with them, they will be able to change the Screen Time settings on their own!
Do Not Save Password to the Apple ID
Do not save the Screen Time password to the Apple ID, otherwise your son/daughter will be able to reset the Screen Time password using their Apple ID.
However, again, it is critical that you save the password in a safe spot, where you/your spouse know where it is.
Note: Once you lock the screen, going forward the only way to access Screen Time settings is by entering in the screentime password that you entered above.
Setting Up Screen Time
The Screen Time main page is pictured on the right.
If this iPhone or iPad is for you or your spouse, and this is the first time setting up Screen Time:
- You will want to set a password by selecting ‘Use Screen Time Passcode’ at the bottom of the screen.
- The first 2 digits of the password should be created by yourself, and the second 2 digits of the password should be created by your spouse.
- This ensures that we will be honest with one another and will not change the Screen Time settings on our device without each other knowing.
- It is critical that each of you save your 2 digits of the password in a safe spot.
When you schedule downtime in Settings, you can set a period during which only phone calls and apps that you choose to allow are available.
If you click ‘Customize Days’, you can set down times for each day of the week, including for the full day on Sunday.
If you set a Screen Time password (which we did above), Downtime includes an additional setting called ‘Block at Downtime’. If this is enabled and the Downtime has arrived, the phone user will be able to request 1 additional minute of access.
However, if this is not enabled, they will be able to select ‘Ignore Limit’ and the apps can still be accessed.
The phone user will also get a reminder five minutes before Downtime starts.
Note: Apps defined in Always Allowed (as discussed below) are not affected by the Downtime limit.
Setting App Limits
App Limits let you set daily time limits for specific categories (such as social, games, travel, and others) or on specific apps.
This can be adjusted to what you feel is right for the phone user. Specific categories, and/or specific apps, and/or the time limit per day.
Note: Downtime (which was covered above) overrides all settings in App Limits. In other words, once Downtime has been reached, the phone user will not be able to access any of the apps.
Setting Communication Limits
This allows you to control who the phone user can communicate with throughout the day, and whether they can communicate with anyone else during downtime.
Communication Limits: During Screen Time
It is recommended to select the ‘Contacts Only’ option.
Descriptions of each option:
- Contacts Only
- Allow one-on-one and group conversations only with people in their contacts.
- Contacts & Groups with at Least One Contact
- Allow one-on-one conversations only with people in their contacts and group conversations including at least one person in their contacts.
- Allow one-on-one and group conversations with anyone, including unknown numbers.
Communication Limits: During Downtime
It is recommended to select the ‘Specific Contacts’ option and add you and your spouse as the contacts.
Descriptions of each option:
- Specific Contacts
- During downtime, allow one-on-one and group conversations only with specific people in their contacts.
- During downtime, allow one-on-one and group conversations with anyone, including unknown numbers.
Note: They will still be able to call the 911 emergency number regardless of which option is selected.
Setting Always Allowed
Irrespective of Downtime and App Limits settings, you may choose which apps are always able to be used on the device regardless.
For example, you may want to be able to place phone calls or use Google Maps at any time.
Setting Content & Privacy Restrictions
This is where you control the type of content that appears on the device, and where inappropriate content, purchases, and downloads can be blocked.
There are five main sections:
- iTunes & App Store Purchases
- Allowed Apps
- Content Restrictions
- Allow Changes
iTunes & App Store Purchases
On this page you can prevent the phone user from being able to install/delete apps and make in-app purchases.
This lets you allow or deny access to certain apps.
We recommend that you block iTunes Store, Book Store, and Podcasts, as seen in the screen to the right.
Under Content Restrictions, you can limit content such as movies, TV shows, or apps by age rating, and you can block explicit music and podcasts.
You can block adult websites in the Web Content section or add a list of websites you want the phone user to use in the Allowed Websites Only list.
Depending on the age of the phone user, you need to either select ‘Limit Adult Websites’ or ‘Allowed Websites’.
Do not set Unrestricted.
The ‘Limit Adult Websites’ option blocks access to known adult websites, and all other websites will still be allowed.
Note: If this option is selected, not all inappropriate material will be blocked, and it is very important to install a website filtering tool like Qustodio or Covenant Eyes.
Or, if you have a list of specific websites that you want the phone user to access, you can enter the list into the ‘Only Allow These Websites’ list.
In the Privacy section, we recommend you set Don’t Allow for Apple Advertising and Media & Apple Music.
In this section, we recommend you set Don’t Allow for TV Provider.
For Passcode Changes, there are two ways that this can be handled.
- Set to Don’t Allow so that only you can change their phone password. However, if your son/daughter wants to change the password for whatever reason (e.g., a sibling found out what the password is), then you will have to set a new password for them.
- Set to Allow, and later when you access the phone and the password has changed, just request your son/daughter provide you with the new password.
Summary & Additional Documentation
If Screen Time is setup as above, this will really provide you the restrictions and controls required to block inappropriate content, as well as the phone usage.
Note: As is mentioned above in the Web Content section, if the ‘Limit Adult Websites’ option is selected instead of ‘Allowed Websites’ option, not all inappropriate material will be blocked, and it is very important to install a website filtering tool like Qustodio or Covenant Eyes.
On the Apple site it has some additional information that describes some of the options.