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With Screen Time, Apple has introduced a robust set of parental control options in iOS 12, giving parents a way to monitor and limit the amount of time children are spending on their iOS devices, within specific apps, and more.

Screen Time works via Family Sharing, so as long as your children are part of your Family in the Family Sharing settings, you'll be able to view and control their Screen Time options.


Turning Screen Time On

You'll need to turn on and set up Screen Time on all devices owned and used by your children, which is done in the Screen Time section of the Settings app.

turnonscreentime-800x471.jpg

Here's how to do it:
  1. Open up the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the Screen Time section."
  3. Choose "Turn on Screen Time."
  4. When you see the introductory screen asking whether this is your iPhone or your child's iPhone, select "This is My Child's iPhone."
From here, you can choose to set Downtime, which is a set period of time in which your child will be allowed or disallowed from using the iPhone, or App Limits, which will restrict certain app categories. At setup, you can also choose Content and Privacy settings, which are further explained below.

If you want to change Downtime and App Limits selections for your child, you will be able to do so at any time by going to the Settings app and selecting Screen Time on the child's device.

A child's Screen Time settings are also accessible on the parent's device for making changes remotely, available by tapping on a child's name in the Screen Time section of the Settings app, listed under the parent's own Screen Time usage.

All of your App Limits, Downtime, and Content Restrictions are protected via a passcode that must be entered to grant more usage time to children when limits have been reached. This also prevents children from changing their own Screen Time settings.

screentimepasscode.jpg

Using Downtime

Downtime sets a schedule that allows you to choose when your child can and cannot use their iPhone or iPad. You can, for example, choose to restrict access to iOS devices from 10:00 p.m. at bedtime until 7:00 a.m. in the morning, or choose something that limits hours even further, such as during school.

ios12downtime-800x472.jpg

With Downtime, you can opt to block the device at Downtime, which prevents apps from being used entirely sans parental permission or choose for a less restrictive feature that allows children to turn off Downtime themselves or get 15 more minutes of usage before another reminder about Downtime restrictions.

applimitsblocking-800x240.jpg
Downtime and App Limits with blocking turned on at left and blocking turned off at right​

Most parents will likely want to turn on blocking for Downtime to prevent apps from being used entirely, but the non-blocking option is useful for more responsible children where all parents want to do is offer up a reminder that apps shouldn't be used at certain times.

During Downtime, all apps on the iPhone are grayed out with little hourglass locks on them, letting children know that time limits have been reached. The exception is certain apps that are always allowed in case of emergency, such as the phone.

Using App Limits

App Limits allow you to finely control how much time your kids spend using certain categories of apps.

With App Limits, you can set restrictions on All Apps & Categories, Social Networking, Games, Entertainment, Creativity, Productivity, Education, Reading & Reference, Health & Fitness, and Other.

applimits-800x707.jpg

So, for example, if you want to limit the amount of time a child is spending on Snapchat and mobile games, you can set an App Limit for those categories for an hour or two.

After the App Limit has been reached, children won't be able to further access those app categories without asking for express parental permission. Apps will be locked with an hourglass symbol and a passcode will be required to enable more time.

As with Downtime, you can set less restrictive rules that serve as more of a reminder by turning off blocking with App Limits.

Always Allowed Apps

With Downtime and App Limits, you can set certain apps to "Always Allowed" to let children access them at all times even when Downtime and App Limits are enabled.

By default, Apple marks Phone, Messages, FaceTime, and Maps as always available apps, but you can select any apps that you want through the Always Allowed app interface, accessible under "Always Allowed" in the Screen Time section of Settings on a child's device.

screentimealwaysallowed-800x707.jpg

You can also remove access to all apps, including Messages, with the exception of the phone, which remains available to children in case of emergency.

Always Allowed is ideal if you want your kids to be able to use certain educational or communication apps at anytime while leaving other apps inaccessible.

Selecting Content Restrictions

Apple has always offered Content Restrictions for parents to limit access to music, movies, TV shows, and apps that are inappropriate for younger children, but these parental controls now live under the Screen Time section of the Settings app alongside the other Screen Time options.

contentrestrictions1-800x470.jpg

In the Content & Privacy Restrictions section of Screen Time on a child's device, you can do things like limit App Store purchases, prevent kids from deleting apps, disallow access to certain apps, and set age restrictions on entertainment content.

You can also set privacy settings for everything from location to advertising preferences, so, for example, if you wanted to make sure you can always access your child's location, you can turn on Location Services and select Share My Location.

contentrestrictions2-800x471.jpg

There are even options that prevent children from changing the passcode on their device, restrict account changes, limit volume, and automatically turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Accessing Content & Privacy restrictions requires an adult to input a Content & Privacy passcode, which prevents children from changing these settings.

Article Link: How to Access and Set Up Parental Controls in iOS 12
 

Arctic Moose

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2017
1,108
1,315
Gothenburg, Sweden
But still no way for parents to set a maximum allowed system sound volume.

(Which happens to be the only parental control feature I need.)
 
Last edited:

m0sher

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2018
814
782
As a parent this is a great tool that should’ve been included with phones long time ago based on how volatile the net can be for children.

Unfortunately for me, it’s a little too late, my youngest is 18 years old. :)
 

now i see it

macrumors G3
Jan 2, 2002
9,716
19,506
I don't see this going down well. Once the kid sees a friend's iPhone/iPad that's unrestricted— there's going to be some splainin to do back home.
 
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keifer.street

macrumors regular
Jul 9, 2013
135
182
At present, you can completely bypass the screen time passcode to remove Content and Privacy Restrictions (e.g. to disable the blocking adult porn websites) by searching for ‘Restrictions’ in the Settings app as it takes you to a shortcut straight to the setting that allows you to disable it and doesn’t require a user to input the screen time passcode.

This is a major security backdoor which totally invalidates the feature in its entirety and the bug is present in the most recent Beta 6 (public beta 5) build.

I have submitted a bug report to Apple a few days ago, but it was not addressed in today’s new build yet.
 

fairuz

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2017
2,486
2,590
Silicon Valley
Most effective way is to not give your kid an iPhone. They don't need it.

Though the "no using the phone while driving" is a useful restriction for adults. I'd do it to myself just as a reminder if I had a bad habit of checking my phone while driving.
 

Arctic Moose

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2017
1,108
1,315
Gothenburg, Sweden
Limit volume is there.

It doesn’t work.

The setting allows you to restrict access to the Music app’s volume limit, but this limit does not apply to all other media apps, such as streaming tv services.

If you’ve found a way to restrict volume system-wide for all outputs (most importantly the internal speaker) please show me how!
 

GPDawes

Suspended
Oct 22, 2015
30
70
This is well overdue.
Some questions.
1) Can children request additional time that you then approve remotely. (MS do this with windows 10 its very cool, if I am at work I can still approve additional time from my office laptop/personal email)
2) Can I control phones and limits from my mac or PC , icloud.
3)Is it all done remotely? eg no need to touch or obtain phone from kid, aprt from my be enabling initially.
 

Master of Tragedy

macrumors newbie
Jul 17, 2018
19
4
Nice feature but my kids found a simple way to prevent this.
They edited their birthdate in their iCloud-Accounts. From 13 to 18 and from 14 to 18.
Now I can't do anything about that as only they can login and change it. Why is it even possible that minor family members can change their birth dates?
 
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Christoffee

Contributor
Jul 26, 2012
487
782
UK
It’s going to be a few years before my children get phones, but what Family Sharing controls are there? Can anything be controlled remotely?
 

scottct1

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2012
297
594
Connecticut USA
At present, you can completely bypass the screen time passcode to remove Content and Privacy Restrictions (e.g. to disable the blocking adult porn websites) by searching for ‘Restrictions’ in the Settings app as it takes you to a shortcut straight to the setting that allows you to disable it and doesn’t require a user to input the screen time passcode.

This is a major security backdoor which totally invalidates the feature in its entirety and the bug is present in the most recent Beta 6 (public beta 5) build.

I have submitted a bug report to Apple a few days ago, but it was not addressed in today’s new build yet.

Another Major Bug...
[doublepost=1533686615][/doublepost]
Nice feature but my kids found a simple way to prevent this.
They edited their birthdate in their iCloud-Accounts. From 13 to 18 and from 14 to 18.
Now I can't do anything about that as only they can login and change it. Why is it even possible that minor family members can change their birth dates?

Another Major Bug.
 

LaurenMacGal

macrumors newbie
Aug 7, 2018
1
0
Nice feature but my kids found a simple way to prevent this.
They edited their birthdate in their iCloud-Accounts. From 13 to 18 and from 14 to 18.
Now I can't do anything about that as only they can login and change it. Why is it even possible that minor family members can change their birth dates?

Yikes, that's pretty deceptive! I'd take their phones away for awhile. If they can change back the ages (call Apple?) then do so. If not, tough create NEW accounts with their actual birthdays. They are only 13 and 14 - WHO's IN CHARGE HERE! :) I know, it's tough being a parent, but they will still love you!
 

idealcheese

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2014
155
92
Of course the kid can easily turn it off by changing the time on their phone.

Yes its a bug I submitted to Apple.


This is nuts! If all it takes is changing the device time, or changing their age, for kids to defeat parental controls, then Apple has seriously underestimated how clever kids really are.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,850
4,413
PHX, AZ.
Nice feature but my kids found a simple way to prevent this.
They edited their birthdate in their iCloud-Accounts. From 13 to 18 and from 14 to 18.
Now I can't do anything about that as only they can login and change it. Why is it even possible that minor family members can change their birth dates?
My kids don't know the passwords to their iCloud accounts. ;) Just the PIN to unlock the device.
They can't change jack **** on their accounts.
 

idealcheese

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2014
155
92
Nice feature but my kids found a simple way to prevent this.
They edited their birthdate in their iCloud-Accounts. From 13 to 18 and from 14 to 18.
Now I can't do anything about that as only they can login and change it. Why is it even possible that minor family members can change their birth dates?

I just installed iOS 12 on mine and my kids' iPhones. There is a setting under Content & Privacy Restrictions to block any changes to passwords and accounts. When enabled, iCloud access is completely grayed out, so they wouldn't be able to change their ages. However I don't know about the time change bug. Until Apple fixes that, I hope my kids' won't think of it.

P.S. Screen Time is awesome. While I really fault Apple for taking so long to implement this, they have done a great job. The customization options are great. Only drawback right now is that you can't control which apps are in which categories, nor can you even see which category an app is under. Some of my daughter's apps that I consider social media don't seem to be classified as such.
 

Pepperly

macrumors newbie
Aug 27, 2018
1
0
Does anyone know if parents can set up different schedules and allow the timed usage in particular schedules with the new iOS 12? Let me explain: My son has to have an iPad for school. Obviously while there, I cannot limit what he uses. However, when he gets home, I'd like to be able to give him the control to be able to use his (say) one hour, within certain times (i.e. after school and before bed time, but he can pause it when he chooses and have 30 mins now, 20 minutes later, etc). Third party apps I've looked at seem to allow me to create schedules and set time limits, but the time limit overrides the schedule...which means that if I set it at an hour, and he's using it in class, it will go off at school. I can't apply the time limit to a separate schedule, which is really frustrating (this is on Kidslox). I have also tried OurPact (the free version) and have had some success with that, but they want me to pay $12 per month to upgrade to something where I have the ability to give my child some control - the free version I just fiddle with manually - and $12 is a lot for one device for one child (my daughter is older and more responsible with her use). I think I could probably just change the settings manually on Kidslox, but it kind of defeats the purpose...I was hoping I wouldn't need to remember each day.

Comments on third party apps and whether the iOS 12 will help (when we eventually get it)...though I'm sceptical, as I've never managed to get the parental stuff working properly on family sharing - he has to ask to install games, etc, but I can't see his device listed in my settings... Gave up after hours on the phone with Apple support a while ago and put it into the 'too hard' basket.
 

idealcheese

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2014
155
92
Does anyone know if parents can set up different schedules and allow the timed usage in particular schedules with the new iOS 12? Let me explain: My son has to have an iPad for school. Obviously while there, I cannot limit what he uses. However, when he gets home, I'd like to be able to give him the control to be able to use his (say) one hour, within certain times (i.e. after school and before bed time, but he can pause it when he chooses and have 30 mins now, 20 minutes later, etc). Third party apps I've looked at seem to allow me to create schedules and set time limits, but the time limit overrides the schedule...which means that if I set it at an hour, and he's using it in class, it will go off at school. I can't apply the time limit to a separate schedule, which is really frustrating (this is on Kidslox). I have also tried OurPact (the free version) and have had some success with that, but they want me to pay $12 per month to upgrade to something where I have the ability to give my child some control - the free version I just fiddle with manually - and $12 is a lot for one device for one child (my daughter is older and more responsible with her use). I think I could probably just change the settings manually on Kidslox, but it kind of defeats the purpose...I was hoping I wouldn't need to remember each day.

Comments on third party apps and whether the iOS 12 will help (when we eventually get it)...though I'm sceptical, as I've never managed to get the parental stuff working properly on family sharing - he has to ask to install games, etc, but I can't see his device listed in my settings... Gave up after hours on the phone with Apple support a while ago and put it into the 'too hard' basket.

Unfortunately, the current beta version of Screen Time doesn’s allow that kind of schedule. It lets you choose time limits for apps by category (such as Entertainment, Games, Social), set specific apps to be always available, set daily downtimes, and impose content restrictions. What’s wonderful is that tracking happens automatically, which means your son won’t have to remember to pause tracking in between sessions. However you can’t set a schedule for Screen Time to be *inactive*, and there also isn’t a “pause” option to temporarily turn off all limits. (This last one is a real shortcoming that I hope Apple will address.)

A thought: if all of the apps you son uses at school fall within certain categories, e.g. Creativity or Education, you could simply not include these categories when setting limits. But this would also mean he’d have to be trusted not to play games during school time. Another option would be to use the daily downtimes to block his device during the school day. You can choose to have downtime either block the entire device, or to only allow specifc apps. Currently, though, downtime schedules can’t be set for specific days, so the schedule would be in effect on the weekends too.
 

prosit69

macrumors newbie
Aug 29, 2018
1
0
Fernandina Beach, FL
I wish they would give more monitoring control over apps that are notoriously difficult to monitor like SnapChat and the likes... That more than anything scares me.
 

idealcheese

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2014
155
92
I wish it would allow control over which apps go in which categories. Tik Tok (formerly Musical.ly) is considered "creative" which is absurd. It's 100% social media.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,850
4,413
PHX, AZ.
I wish they would give more monitoring control over apps that are notoriously difficult to monitor like SnapChat and the likes... That more than anything scares me.
I solved that problem by simply not allowing my kid to install it, or any other social media app in the first place.
All App Store downloads have to be approved by myself or my wife. ;)
 
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