How to Set Communication Limits on Your Child's Allowed Screen Time and Downtime on iPhone and iPad

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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In iOS 13.3, Apple added new Communication Limits to its Screen Time options, which let parents control who their children are able to contact.

If you're not familiar with Apple's Screen Time functions, they enable users to keep track of their device usage and place self-imposed limits on the time they spend using their iPhone or iPad. Screen Time also serves as a parental control system for parents.

The latest feature addition, Communication Limits, lets parents manage who their children are able to contact through FaceTime, Phone, Messages, and iCloud Contacts.

The new options allow contacts only or everyone to be contacted during a child's allotted Screen Time, and there's a toggle that either allows or prevents people from being added to a group chat when a contact or family member is in the group.

There's also a separate setting for communication limits during downtime, which can be set to allow everyone or just specific contacts. Follow the steps below to set your preferences for your child's Screen Time and Downtime.

How to Set Communication Limits During Allowed Screen Time in iOS

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Communication Limits.

    Tap During Allowed Screen Time.
  4. Under Allowed Communication, select Everyone or Contacts Only.
  5. To allow people to be added to group conversations when an iCloud contact or a family member is in the same group, tap the toggle next to Allow Introductions in Groups so that it's in the green ON position.
How to Set Communication Limits During Downtime in iOS

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Communication Limits.

    Tap During Downtime.
  4. Tap Specific Contacts.
    Tap Choose From My Contacts and select the people that can be contacted during downtime, then tap Done. If the person you want to allow to be contacted isn't in your contacts, tap Add New Contact and enter their details in a new contact card, then tap Done.
Note that calls to emergency numbers are always allowed and when placed, will turn off communication limits for 24 hours to make sure children are safe and not prevented from communicating with people in the event of an emergency.

Article Link: How to Set Communication Limits on Your Child's Allowed Screen Time and Downtime on iPhone and iPad
 

Pulsedub

macrumors newbie
Sep 14, 2018
1
1
That’s all well and good. BUT if the kids can still change the time or date on their devices at will, it renders a big part of Screentime IE downtime useless.
 
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pubb

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2007
78
28
Setting the people your kid is allowed to receive calls from seems dangerous: if I don't have my phone, my phone dies, and I need to contact them from another number, I'm SOL.
 
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cdavis11

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2009
289
63
This works pretty well, i've got it set up on my 2 kids devices. One went great, the other didn't want to activate remote contact management no matter what I did...ended up having to log the child out of iCloud on their device, then back in...then request remote contact management again, approved and then it finally took.

I'd just like to see 2 things from screen time to get it closer to perfect - LONGER parental lock codes and a single button "kill switch" that would put a device into downtime with one touch.
 
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oberman

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2014
18
0
Remote management of contacts is not working for me. I change things from the parent side but nothing happens on the child device.
 

Mitochris

macrumors member
Feb 9, 2011
82
99
For us the screen time setting is extremely buggy, working only Sporadic. My biggest issue though is that one cannot limit time on safari. It helps me nothing if I can limit all apps and communication, but they can watch YouTube on safari all day. I know I can remove safari completely, that that’s not a solution really either.
 

bdhokie

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2010
51
114
USA
Just doesn't work for me, at all. Tried once after upgrading to 13.3 and first it asked my daughter to allow me to manage her contacts! Then once "she" allowed me access (I had her phone of course) it simply crashed every time I'd try to enter the Communications options. Tried again now and it simply doesn't work. Tapping the communication limit controls does nothing. I can't change it from "Everyone" in either the Downtime or Allowed time settings.

I have not yet tried logging out of iCloud on our devices, but I guess that's next. If that does not work, I'll give up entirely on Screen time and look at paying extra for 3rd party solutions.
 

cdavis11

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2009
289
63
Another gripe - this is an all or nothing thing in this respect...when you lock it down, you lock down both phone and messages/texting contacts. You can't just turn texting off after a certain time.