At mac-fusion we believe all parents and guardians should be in charge of how children in their care interact with, and use technology. By putting restrictions in place, we can assure that children, of all ages, are not subjected to content that exceeds their understanding or appropriateness for their age. The restrictions also assist with preventing aspects such as In-App Purchasing, a popular, but often costly, feature of many games on the iOS platform.

Besides the obvious benefits for the younger demographic this guide and the associated settings can also be used by businesses when deploying iOS devices in the workplace, or by the adult end user that would like to restrict the way in which their device is connected to the outside world. Due to this diversity, this guide will reference all users that are not the administrator of the device as end users.

When you setup an iOS device for the first time, you will be prompted to select various parental restrictions. This guide assumes that you haven’t setup any restrictions during the initial setup phase and therefore we will detail all the options available within the Settings area.

To access the Restrictions area simply proceed to Settings > General > Restrictions. If you haven’t set up any restrictions before, then this area will be greyed out as shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: iOS Restrictions Are Currently Disabled.

Before you can make any adjustments to the Restrictions Settings, you will need to tap on Enable Restrictions as highlighted in Figure 1.

Upon tapping Enable Restrictions, you will be immediately asked to set a passcode as shown in Figure 2. It is important that this four-digit code be unique and memorable to yourself, as you will need to enter it each time you wish to access the Restrictions area in iOS 7. Please do not use 1234, 0000, or similar. If you make the number too easy, then the passcode can be easily broken and the restrictions you set can be circumvented.

It is important to note that there is currently no option to use Touch ID, or a more complex passcode for the Restrictions area of iOS.

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Figure 2: Setting A New Passcode For Restrictions.

When you have finished entering the selected passcode, you will then be asked to re-enter the code for confirmation. When you have successfully confirmed the passcode, the Restriction Settings will now be available.

Allow:

The first section you will come across is Allow. The options you have in this area is to either allow, or disallow access to a specific app, or function. When an app, or function is allowed it will be shown as green. This is also the default option when you first turn on Restrictions. Let’s take a look at the options and how they function.

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Safari:

As you may be aware, Safari is the default web browser for iOS. There are other third party browsers available for iOS 7 but the stability, speed, and functionality of Safari will likely result in most users being satisfied with the default app.

When you turn Safari off, the app will disappear from view on the iOS device home screen. Therefore, the end user will not be able to use the browser.

It is important to note that any third party browser will not be affected by turning Safari off via the Restrictions panel. That being said, if you don’t want to delete a third party web browser from the device, you can restrict website access from the Allowed Content area that we will discuss in Part 2 of this guide.

Our advice would be if you don’t wish for the end user to have access to the Internet at all, turn Safari off and delete any third party browser that is currently installed.

Camera:

Turning the camera functionality off, will remove the Camera app from the device’s home screen.

It is important to note when the Camera is turned off it will also deactivate FaceTime and the ability to capture photographs or video via any app, such as Camera+, that supports access to the Camera functionality. Also of note is that FaceTime voice only calls will also be restricted when this setting is turned off. This limitation needs to be taken into consideration, especially if you want the end user to be contactable via the FaceTime service.

FaceTime:

If you decide that you want to leave the camera functionality turned on, you can always select to simply deactivate FaceTime. Doing so will remove the FaceTime icon from the device, as well as the ability to make a FaceTime call from the Phone App on the iPhone. End users will also be unable to receive any incoming FaceTime video or audio calls.

iTunes Store:

When you turn this option off, you will remove the icon for the iTunes Store and subsequently the end user will be unable to access, browse, or purchase content on the iTunes Store. It should be noted that the iTunes Store in this instance does not include the App Store. Unlike iTunes for the Mac, or PC, the App Store is a separate app for iOS 7 and we will look at its options shortly.

iBookstore:

Turning this feature off prevents users from downloading and purchasing new iBooks.

When you turn off access to the iBooks Store, the books that are currently installed on the iOS device will remain. This action will simply deactivate the link to the iBooks Store, that is present within the iBooks App on iOS.

It is important to note that turning this functionality off also stops end users from purchasing iBooks based on samples that have been previously downloaded.

Installing Apps:

Upon turning this feature off, the App Store icon will be removed from the iOS device and end users will not be able to download or purchase any additional apps. End users will also be prevented from updating apps when this setting is turned off.

Although, it is important to note that turning off this function does not restrict end users from making In-App Purchases. This functionality can be deactivated, as you will see in the upcoming In-App Purchases option.

Deleting Apps:

When you deactivate this option, end users will not be able to delete any apps from the device.

In-App Purchases:

Deactivating In-App Purchases will prevent the end user from making additional purchases that are only provided from within apps. Deactivating this option will not prevent end users from installing, or purchasing, new apps unless you have turned off the Installing Apps functionality.

We strongly suggest you turn off In-App Purchasing when a device is going to be used by someone other than the iTunes account holder.  Should you choose to leave it on, please ensure you set Require Password to Immediately. This setting is found in the Allowed Content area of the Restriction Settings and will be discussed further in Part 2 of this guide.

Siri:

When you turn this functionality off, all of Siri’s functions will be disabled. End users will not be able to use Siri to query information, search for websites, or send messages for example.

AirDrop:

Turning off AirDrop will prevent end users from transferring content such as photos, videos, and contacts to other devices that have AirDrop enabled.

This has been Part 1 of our guide to Parental Restrictions In iOS 7. Make sure you follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be automatically notified when Part 2 is released along with other special deals and information pertaining to our group learning classes.

If you have any questions, please drop into our store and our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to help you.