How to use parental controls and preserve privacy on the iPad

Parental Controls and Privacy

You can enable and adjust Restrictions, or Parental Controls, on your iPad to prevent access to specific features or content on the device. By enabling Restrictions, you can shut down access to apps, turn off in - app purchases, select the ratings for access to music, TV, Movies and books, control access to your private information and more. Why would you bother?

Whenever those pesky grandchildren want to borrow your iPad, enable the restrictions and control what they can do, see and change on your iPad. If you have young children, you can ensure they have access only to appropriate apps and services. If you can't trust yourself, you can disable in app purchases. If you are concerned about your privacy, here's a way to control it.

Enable Restrictions

To enable Restrictions, go to Settings, General, Restriction. Tap: Enable Restrictions  and input a 4 digit number as your Passcode.

Once you have the iPad's parental controls enabled, you will be able to set different restrictions and even restrict some of the default applications that came with the iPad. This includes the Safari browser and iTunes, so you can restrict your child's ability to view websites, watch videos and purchase music from their iPad. You can also turn off the ability to install apps. You can still get apps on the iPad by installing them to iTunes and syncing them to the iPad, which will allow you to have complete control over which apps are on the iPad.

If you don't need that much control, you can set a ratings restriction for what type of apps can be installed on the iPad. (Find out more about the different iPad app ratings.) Another good thing to turn off is in-app purchases. Many free apps allow in-app purchases, which is how they make their money. This type of monetization can be seen in apps like Pocket Legends, which is a great iPad app, but parents must be aware that it allows for the purchase of in-game money.

Settings, General, Restrictions

Settings, General, Restrictions


Anything that is turned OFF in the Allow section will be disabled on your iPad. So if you want to browse the internet and Safari is missing, ensure that Restrictions are not enabled and Safari is turned OFF.

Remember the Restrictions when troubleshooting problems on your iPad. Symptoms can include:

  • App missing from the Home screen (Safari, Camera, or YouTube for example)
  • Feature or service unavailable (Siri, Location Services, and so on)
  • Setting missing or grayed out (such as Mail, Contacts, and Calendar; iCloud; Twitter; FaceTime)

One thing to be careful about:  If you forget the passcode, the only solution is to perform a  factory restore.