Children love iPads and iPhones. They're a great way to keep them entertained during the summer holidays, with thousands of great apps for kids available for them to enjoy, including games, books and educational apps. However, it's important to use parental controls to prevent them accessing inappropriate content.
In this article, we walk you through the settings and precautions you should set up before handing over an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to a child. For similar advice related to your Mac, see How to set up parental controls on a Mac.
How to turn on restrictions
You should be aware that, when you enter your password, the default is that it will not need to be entered again for 15 minutes. Within that time, your children could accidentally download hundreds of pounds worth of in-app purchases. We have a guide that covers How to disable in-app purchases on an iPhone here.
For example, in 2013, five-year-old Danny Kitchen was playing Zombies vs Ninja when he asked his dad for the password to the family iTunes account so that he could download the free-to-play app. However, Danny then went on to download a £69.99 in-app purchase 19 times within the next ten minutes as the password did not need to be entered again.
To change this setting and prevent this from happening, go to Settings > General > Restrictions, and then change the 'Require Password' setting to 'Immediately'. Now, every time your child goes to buy something, whether it is an app or in-app purchase, they'll be asked to type in the password before they can progress further.
To stop your kids from having access to the Restrictions menu and changing the settings back (if your kids are a little older and more tech-savvy), you'll be asked to set up a PIN code.
How to restrict access to apps
You can ensure that your child doesn't download any apps at all by going to the Restrictions menu and changing the 'Installing Apps' slider to off (from green to white). Within this menu, you can also turn off Safari, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes, iBookstore, Deleting Apps, Siri and Explicit Language for further control over your child's access to your iPad or iPhone's features.
How to turn off in-app purchases
You can also turn in-app purchases off completely from this menu if you want to. You'll find the on/off slider towards the bottom of the restriction options.
Within the Restrictions menu, you can also prevent kids from downloading content from the iTunes Store that may be inappropriate, by tapping each different type of content (music, movies etc.) and choosing your preferred age rating.
How to turn on device passcodes
It's not just within apps or on the iTunes App Store that kids can end up spending their parents' money without realising. In July 2013, a 14-month-old girl accidentally purchased a car using the eBay app when she was playing with her dad's iPhone. In this case, to prevent a child from being able to access your iPhone or iPad at all, you'll want to set up a device passcode.
To set up a passcode, go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and tap 'Turn Passcode On.'
You can then choose your passcode. If you slide the 'Simple Passcode' slider to off, you'll be able to type a word rather than the default four-digit number to use as your passcode.
Create a new Apple ID
Having read all this advice, you might be thinking: "What about when I want to use my iPad?"
Apple recommends that, for children over 13, you should create an individual Apple ID for them to use. While this removes the nuisance of having to turn restrictions on and off every time you want to use it, you will need to switch from your Apple ID to your child's and vice versa. However, the benefit is that you can ensure that your child's Apple ID has no credit card on file, meaning there's no money for them to spend in the first place.
In order to switch between Apple IDs, you'll need to go to Settings > iTunes & App Stores and then tap on Apple ID to log out.