Restrict iPhone usage with iPhone Parental Control Restrictions

iPhone Restrictions allows you to customize how the iPhone can be used.

If you live in a household with more than you and you’ve got an iPhone then it’s obvious that you’ll be spending less time with the phone but everyone else would be spending more time with it. If you have kids in your household you’d obviously be interested to restrict what the kids can do with the iPhone.

Or, if you have bought iPhone to your kids and not sure what they’ll be doing with their iPhone or don’t wanted to get a huge bill from the iTunes AppStore for all your kids’ app-shopping-spree then, of course, you’d want to restrict them from buying apps from AppStore.

iPhone OS 3.0 have you covered. iPhone Restrictions mimics more of a parental control to your iPhone device. It’s a bit involved compared to other customizations but it’s not rocket science. Just follow the steps below and you would be on your way to parental controlling your iPhone and restricting who can use what.

iPhone General Settings page

Start by tapping into the “Settings” icon and then to the “General” option.

iPhone Restrictions option

Locate “Restrictions” at the bottom of the screen and tap into it. By default it would be turned off.

Enable iPhone Restrictions button

Tap on the “Enable Restrictions” button.

4 digit restrictions passcode

If it’s the first time you are setting the restrictions then iPhone will prompt you to enter a 4-digit Restrictions Passcode. Think of a number that you can remember better and type it in.

re-enter the 4 digit restrictions passcode

Once the 4th digit it typed-in iPhone will ask you to enter the same Restrictions Passcode one more time to make sure.

Disable Restrictions button

Once you type-in the same passcode you’ll taken back to the same page where you enabled restrictions. This time, of course, it would read “Disable Restrictions”.

Apple has pre-selected a list of standard applications that would be candidates for restrictions and that includes, Safari, YouTube, iTunes, AppStore, Camera and Location. And all those applications would be turned ON to indicate that they are all allowed to launch these apps.

Control which applications can be used on iPhone

Slide the control to turn OFF the applications that you don’t want your kids or others to be using. Exercise caution, as turning all these to OFF will turn off some of the users of the phone ;)

Set restrictions based on the content

If you scroll down you should be able to set restrictions based on the content than type.

Even if you’ve restricted others from launching into AppStore and going on a shopping-spree, the intended user can still stack up your iTunes bill by doing in-app purchases. You can turn that capability off on this page if you want to play it safe.

Restrict playing music on iPhone

You can restrict playing back music, music videos and podcasts that contain explicit content.

Restrict playing back movies on iPhone

You can restrict playing back movies completely or by the rating.

Restrict watching TV shows on iPhone

You can restrict watching TV Shows completely or based on the rating.

Restrict launching iPhone Apps

You can also restrict launching iPhone Apps that are rated 4+, 9+, 12+ or 17+. Or you can completely restrict the user from launching third party Apps.

Set the Content Ratings Type on iPhone

As you must have sensed by now, these ratings are based on United States. If you live in a different country then you can change the ratings to be based on that country by using “Ratings For” option.

Restrictions on iPhone is a fantastic feature that might make you feel comfortable handing over your iPhone to someone else and leave it with them for an extended time. Of course, the restrictions can be improved a lot by going in the User Profiles direction and allowing restrictions on custom third-party applications, but I’m sure we’ll see those on the future iterations of iPhone OS.

If you use it with diligence and keep the passcode safe then I’m sure you’ll find iPhone Restrictions a helpful feature.

Let us know in comments if you find other ways of restricting the usage of iPhone by others.

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27 comments so far

  1. isaiah

    i restricted my settings icon too now i can turn disable the restrication help pleae !!!

  2. TheGeek

    isaiah – if you can be a bit more elaborative on the issue that would help us understand the problem.

  3. Scott

    Do these controls work for the iTouch as well? I just bought a refurbed iTouch 8GB for my son and I want to know if these will work for his iTouch.

  4. mobicip


    Thanks for a well-written article.

    As an additional point, parents who disable Safari using Restrictions can then enable one of the alternate kid-safe browsers available for the iPhone or iPod Touch. offers one such alternate browser with built-in filtering and remote web-based parental control features. Check it out at

  5. Ethan

    Hi – Is there a manual way to give a movie a rating as I have converted videos on my iphone that I don't want my kids to see. Thanks

  6. Ris

    Hi, I changed the restrictions on my iphone so my teenage boy wouldn't look at things he shouldn't look at… worked for a bit, but eventually he guessed the password, anyway I can revise it….unlike lots of other people I can find on the internet, I DO still know the old password, I just want to change it.

  7. Jorge

    i restricted my settings icon too now i can t disable the restrications help pleae !!!

  8. cindy

  9. demogeek

    Thank you Cindy for the link. As it's mentioned in there it is clear that these parental controls are something that's not fool-proof. It is there to serve something rather than nothing and of course a teen/kid who can figure things out can easily break the parental control capabilities of iPhone. I wish these capabilities expand in the future to become some sort of fool-proof.

  10. Paul Hood

    The only foolproof way is to just not give children these devices. Impossible I know. My wife and I are struggling right now about buying one for my 12 year old son. He’s generally a good kid and follows the rules. But you know what? I follow the rules at work but sometimes I still end up with some sort of porn on my computer from a typo or whatever. Anyone ever tried going to Or if you are like me you have a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store around so your wife wants to buy you a great golf club and goes to….Nope, not gonna find a golf club there! Our plan is to just simply ask our son to follow the rules and if he runs across any porn by mistake simply close the browser and start over. Any problems with this and he will lose the ipod FOREVER and he knows that. We are a christian family and I don’t want my child exposed to this, but at the same time, I know he’s going to see it and hear about it in school and talking to him about it is probably the best way to get through to him. If you teach your kids right and wrong they are still going to do the wrong things sometimes but that’s how we learn. You can’t shelter your child from everything at all times, you just have to give them the information and hope they make the better decisions in life. Good luck!!!

  11. KEW

    I selected the restrictions on my 11 yr old's iPod Touch. It will not let him download content above my selections, but he can still see them and read the graphic details about the app. Is there a way to block apps from being displayed if they are over the selected restriction?

  12. kid mom

    I second that question. I am really having problems with these aps still showing up in the ap store and some of the bad ones are rated 4+. What can we do about that?

  13. demogeek

    KEW, Kid Mom – that should be something we can only expect in a future update of iPhone OS. Either Apple should restrict these restricted apps from showing up at all or rate them higher.

  14. Lori

    My 14 year old Christian Son was a genneraly good kid too. Very respectful and thoughtful he has an itouch. and cell with Text. My regrets. Do Not give anyone under the age of 16-17 that clearly does not show maturity a texting device, whether it be cell phone text, or itouch which can text too. My son was receiving SexTing from girls, naked photos from girls. ONce you take the inhibitions away, everything is easier. A child/teenager my not feel comfortable "saying" something from their mouth to someones ears. But Texting it… no problem. Let them have a cell, with limited numbers to access. Remember the days of phones with cords attached to the wall and pay phones.
    Now kids can't even hold a conversation these days, they are all thumbs. Video games, Texting, emailing, MySpace… not necessary. Save yourself what I am going thru now. I feel like I have LOST my sweet boy, he HATES me now for restricting his use, and for limiting and even just asking.

    Don't do it

  15. mike

    is there a way to turn off the sms capabilities on the phone?

  16. MiKe Jackson

    Is there a way to find out the restriction code that some body set for the iphone because my brother restricted my iphone and i don't know the pass code it always ask me to try again in an hour. help!

  17. D7oom

    I Lost my passcode and I have only one last chance to insert it .. what will happen if I’d inserted it wrong the next time?

    pls help!

  18. DrJim

    Thanks for the article. In case people are not aware, our family uses this web parental control service for our ipods and ipads –

  19. Natalie

    This is great information. I've also found lots of great parent-appropriate iPhone advice at

  20. Jenny

    Doesn't work with Verizon IPhone. They removed this feature.

  21. parental control app

    Well, I think it will be very costly if your kids have iPhone and they can shop to iPhone app store freely. I think parental control app is very important and necessary to install to their iPhone to control their shopping and reduce your bills.

  22. Brandon

    This is what I did for myself to keep me from looking at stuff I shouldnt and I doubt much else would really work: I downloaded X3 Watch app for a few dollars, which replaces Safari as the web browser. It will email any suspicious sites visited to your email account, which will hopefully ward off any internet sneakyness. Then, you have to go to settings and disable the ability to download apps, because other internet browser apps can be installed to avoid using the X3 Watch altogether. Then I'd say change the passcode every other week so its hard to check 9999 combos every 14 days. This is an important issue and you may seem like a pain in the @#$ to him for doing it, but its worth it in my opinion.

  23. Brandon

    Just realized this post is so old! Sorry

  24. Becky

    Is there not any way to make time restrictions on the iPhone like you do on your computer? My iMac will allow certain users to shut off after a certain time at night. I have a teenage girl who was staying on the internet on Skype and Facebook all night until we made the computer shut off automatically. Eventually she turned to her iPhone and is still staying up all night. Is there no way to set the applications on the phone to stop working after a certain time each night?

  25. AppCertain

    I'm interested in helping parents solve the problem of protecting kids from the app store. I believe I can create an app which would prevent access to any app with a web browser, or other defined behavior (like camera use, location tracking, etc.). If you would be interested in this, please take a moment to sign up at and share this link with other concerned parents.

    Thank you!

  26. David

    Is there a way to restrict who my kids can and can not text? I.e we only want them texting family members

  27. Tay Love

    Pictures and text messages would be helpful to have a restriction on because I know most people don’t want others going through them…some things in those two can be very private…

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