How to Turn On Restrictions and Enable iPad Parental Controls

Decide which movies, websites, and apps your kids can use on your iPad

Kids using an iPad

Thijs Knaap / Flickr

The iPad contains customizable parental controls that disable features such as FaceTime, iMessage, and in-app purchases. It also regulates certain features such as limiting the websites a child can visit using the Safari browser or restricting downloads from the App Store to age-appropriate apps.

The iPad parental controls work by setting a four-digit passcode on the iPad. After you create a passcode, tailor the restrictions to your child's age and what areas of the iPad you want them to access. This includes selecting the type of movies (G, PG, or PG-13) and music available to the child, and limiting the device to certain websites.

The parental control passcode is separate from the code used to unlock the iPad.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 12 and later.

How to Turn On iPad Restrictions

The parental controls provide control over what is available on the iPad.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    How to delete movies from iPad
  2. Tap Screen Time.

    Screen Time setting on iPad
  3. To set a passcode, tap Use Screen Time Passcode and enter a four-digit code when prompted. The passcode is optional.

    To change or turn off parental controls, return to this screen, tap Change Screen Time Passcode, and follow the on-screen prompts.

    Parent control on iPad
  4. To set content limits, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

    Content and Privacy Restrictions on iPad
  5. Enter the passcode, then turn on the Content & Privacy Restrictions toggle switch.

    Parent control on iPad restrictions
  6. When the iPad parental controls are enabled, set different restrictions and control the default applications that came with the iPad.

iPad Parental Control Settings

The Content & Restrictions menu contains dozens of settings that control what can happen on your iPad.

Each of these settings sets whether or not access is locked behind the passcode. Turn a setting on for maximum security.

Parent controls on iPad

Here are some of the settings and what they do.

  • iTunes & App Store Purchases prevents people without the passcode from installing or deleting apps or making in-app purchases.
  • Allowed apps permits or blocks access to programs. Restricted apps don't appear on the Home screen.
  • Content Restrictions sets limits on the types of media others can play on the iPad. For example, block R-rated movies and TV shows with a TV-MA rating, podcasts with an Explicit rating, and web content. It's also possible to block books, music, and movies.

The items in the Privacy section modify how the iPad behaves and what features are allowed. For example, in the Photos section, restrict access to Photos or disable the ability to share photos on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

The items in the Allow Changes section set limits to sections of the iPad settings, for example, setting a passcode, the volume control, and changes to the Apple ID account linked to the device.

Other Screen Time Settings

The main Screen Time menu has a few more restriction options.

  • Downtime locks the device between specific hours of the day that you set.
  • App Limits sets timers on how long you and your family can use certain apps each day.
  • Always Allowed bypasses these two settings for certain programs you want to access during Downtime, for example, Messages.
Parent controls on iPad restrictions