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
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

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
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

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
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
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
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
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.

Top Rated Comments

rjohnstone Avatar
33 months ago
Loaded iOS 12 beta on my daughter's iPod to try this out .
She hates me now. My job is done. :p
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keifer.street Avatar
33 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
m0sher Avatar
33 months ago
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. :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Master of Tragedy Avatar
33 months ago
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?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theotherphil Avatar
33 months ago
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.)
Limit volume is there.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
33 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

whatsapp privacy banner

WhatsApp Reveals What Happens to Users Who Don't Agree to Upcoming Privacy Policy Changes

Sunday February 21, 2021 1:11 am PST by
WhatsApp has revealed how it will gradually limit the features available to accounts held by users who do not accept the platform's impending privacy policy changes, due to come into effect on May 15. WhatsApp's new banner explaining the privacy policy changes According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will "slowly ask" users who have not yet...
new airpods leaked image 52audios

Alleged Leaked Image Claims to Show Third-Generation AirPods and Case

Sunday February 21, 2021 2:49 am PST by
A new image claims to offer our first real world look at Apple's next-generation AirPods. The image, shared by 52audio, showcases both AirPods and the charging case for what the site claims to be the third iteration of the wireless earbuds. 52audio has in the past shared images claiming to showcase different parts of the third-generation AirPods. Most notably, the site in November shared...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
mac security privacy

Apple Takes Step to Prevent Further Spread of 'Silver Sparrow' Malware on Macs

Monday February 22, 2021 6:13 am PST by
Over the weekend, we reported on the second known piece of malware compiled to run natively on M1 Macs. Given the name "Silver Sparrow," the malicious package is said to leverage the macOS Installer JavaScript API to execute suspicious commands. After observing the malware for over a week, however, security firm Red Canary did not observe any final payload, so the exact threat to users remains a...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
pink squares macos

Apple Investigating Issue With 'Pink Squares' Appearing on Displays Connected to M1 Mac Mini

Sunday February 21, 2021 11:08 am PST by
In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple informed service providers that it is aware of and investigating an issue that may result in "pink squares or pixels" appearing on displays connected to an M1 Mac mini. Image via Twitter user @FatihVidyograf This issue has been reported by users across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, and Reddit since the M1 Mac mini...
Top Stories 47 Feature

Top Stories: More iOS 14.5 Beta Changes, iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Watch Charging Issue Fixed

Saturday February 20, 2021 6:00 am PST by
Apple is continuing to tweak things during the iOS 14.5 beta testing period, and it looks like there will be some nice changes coming in the update when it's released to the public in a month or so. This week also saw the release of a watchOS bug fix update for Series 5 and Series SE owners, addressing a serious issue where their watches may not charge after entering Power Reserve mode,...
google chrome macos big sur

Chrome Used 10X More RAM Than Safari on macOS Big Sur in Recent Test [Updated]

Saturday February 20, 2021 12:52 pm PST by
Under normal and lightweight web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10x more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted by Flotato creator Morten Just (via iMore). In a blog post, Just outlines that he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS. The first test was conducted on a virtual machine, and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
maxresdefault

Revisiting Apple's MagSafe Leather Wallet After 3 Months of Usage

Saturday February 20, 2021 8:04 am PST by
Back in November when Apple's MagSafe-compatible Leather Wallet first launched, MacRumors videographer Dan took a look at the accessory and ended up disliking it because of the weak magnetic connection. Dan kept using the Leather Wallet despite its flaws, and after three months with the accessory, his opinion has changed and he wanted to share some new thoughts on it. Subscribe to the ...