screen timeWith the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, Apple added new Screen Time options to let parents control who their children are able to contact on Mac.

If you're not familiar with Apple's Screen Time functions, they enable users to keep track of their usage and place self-imposed limits on the time they spend using their Mac. 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 calls, Messages, and iCloud Contacts.

The new options allow either just contacts or everyone to be contacted during a child's allotted Screen Time, and there are controls for allowing or preventing 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 on Mac.

How to Set Communication Limits During Allowed Screen Time in macOS

  1. Launch System Preferences from your Mac's Dock, from the Applications folder, or from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).

  2. Select Screen Time in the preference panel.
    sys prefs

  3. If Screen Time isn't enabled, click Turn On....
  4. Select Communication in the sidebar.

  5. Under During screen time, allow communication with: click the button next to Contacts Only, Contacts & Groups with at Least One Contact, or Everyone.
    screen time

How to Set Communication Limits During Downtime in macOS

  1. Launch System Preferences from your Mac's Dock, from the Applications folder, or from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).

  2. Select Screen Time in the preference panel.
    sys prefs

  3. If Screen Time isn't enabled, click Turn On....
  4. Select Communication in the sidebar.

  5. Under During Downtime, allow communication with: click the button next to Specific Contacts, then in the window that appears, use the +/- buttons to add or remove allowed contacts. Alternatively, click Everyone.
    screen time

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.

Popular Stories

anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...