While commonly referred to as Parental Restrictions, the Restrictions Tab under Settings gives you some extra control over your iPad. For example, I’ve disabled In-App purchases to avoid accidental purchases. The Restrictions Tab is under the General setting tab. It is passcode protected. The passcode for Restrictions is different than the general passcode. I found this out the first time I went to check out the options for restrictions. The default Restriction Passcode is 1234. If you wish to change the passcode, you must counterintuitively first “Disable Restrictions”, which is the first option within the Restrictions section. Any restrictions you have already set will then need to be reset. Let’s take a look at some of the restrictions you can set.
You can enable or disable a list of Apps that includes Safari, Camera, FaceTime, Siri, and CarPlay as well as the iTunes and iBooks stores. In addition, you can disable Installing Apps, Deleting Apps, and In-App Purchases. If you are setting up the iPad for a child, or for an older adult, you may want to change these settings. For example, if you are setting up an iPad for an elderly parent, you might want to disable the ability to delete apps so that they don’t accidently remove an app.
The Allowed Content section gives you the opportunity to allow or deny access to Music, Movies, TV shoes, Books, Apps, and Websites. First selecting your country. This then sets the options you can set for a particular media type. For example, using the United States as the country gives you the options for restricting by G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 ratings. Using the United Kingdom as the country, your choices are U, PG, 12, 15, or 18. Similar options exist for the other categories. The “Websites” option allows you to limit adult content or allow “Specific Websites Only”. The latter choice includes kid-friendly options like Disney and PBS Kids. You can also add other sites to the list individually. You can also filter Siri to restrict Explicit Language and restrict web searches. When you speak to Siri, she will include a text version of what you have said, along with her response. If you curse at Siri with Explicit Language restricted, portions of the dirty words will be starred out. You can also use the “Require Password” option to allow a 15 minute window after you enter your password, or set it to “Immediately”. If you allow your children to use your iPad, you will want to set this to “Immediately”. Many parents have had unexpected charges when their children have used the 15 minute window to purchase multiple apps.
The Privacy Section allows you to give apps access to Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Photos. You can also limit how apps can access your Bluetooth connections and your Microphone. Two apps, Twitter and Facebook, get special treatment. As other apps request access to these two apps, they will be added to the list. If you decide later to change the access, you can change it here.
Here you can limit whether new Accounts can be added. You can also limit changes to the Background App Refresh and to the Volume Limit. The Volume Limit can be set under the Music tab back under Settings. If you have a teenager or younger child, you probably should set the maximum allowed volume at about 3/4 of the possible maximum. Unless you disable Allow Changes under Restrictions, your child can change the option back.
Here you can control whether or not Multiplayer Games and Adding Friends are allowed. With younger children, you might want to limit these options.
The Restrictions tab gives you lots of options to help limit the impact of other people on your iPad. Don’t forget your passcode, though. If you lose it, you will generally have to restore your iPad to factory settings, and will lose any data that is not backed up to iCloud. Have you had any bad experiences with an unrestricted iPad? If so, share them below.