Why are we doing this?

In this article, we'll be walking you through setting up an Apple device for monitoring, which due to Apple's stringent security measures, requires us to generate regular backups as blueprints of the device for the analysis of texts, saved photo/video, and web browsing.

To read more about why we need to perform backups to a computer to analyze your child's texts (including most deleted ones!), camera roll, and web browsing on the Apple device, check out this article.

What about my child's email and social media?

Backups do not analyze email and social media. Email and social media are monitored at the account-level.

To set up your child's email and social media for monitoring, check out this article.

Once connected via the Bark parent dashboard, email and social media accounts are scanned constantly regardless of the device the accounts were accessed on (phone, tablet, or computer). 

What do I need to get started?

You will need the following:

  1. Your child's Apple device(s), like an iPhone, iPad, or iPod
  2. A Mac or Windows computer (preferably your home computer)
    We'll be outlining the steps for a
    Mac computer in this article. Click here to see the steps for Windows.
  3. A USB cable (also known as your charge cable) to plug your child's Apple device into the computer (only for the first time -- we'll be performing backups over WiFi afterwards, but more on this later)
  4. Internet

I'm ready. Let's do this!

Step 1: Download iMazing and the Bark Desktop program

  • iMazing is the program we'll be using to decrypt the Apple device(s) in order to monitor the device activity detailed earlier in this article. Rest assured, you do not have to adjust or turn off your iCloud backups to use iMazing. Bark cannot analyze backups generated through iCloud, so we utilize iMazing.
    Though we do not recommend using iTunes, if you'd prefer to use iTunes backups for Bark's monitoring,
    click here.
  • The Bark Desktop program will be uploading the information from the iMazing backups to our servers for analysis. 

Step 2: Open iMazing.

You will recognize it on your desktop or program list by the following logo:

  • Click "Later" on the first pop-up screen.
    You will never need the full license of iMazing to use Bark!

Step 3: Plug the Apple device into the computer with your charging cord.

Step 4:  You will need to pair it to your computer by clicking "Trust" on the Apple device itself.

  • Unlock the Apple device by inputting any PIN/Passcode you may have set for its lock screen. If you don't have a lock screen set, slide to unlock. 
  • Then select "Trust this computer" on the Apple device.

Step 5: Click "Backup Now" to perform the first-time backup. 

Step 6: Set Backup Options. 

Note the how to set iMazing Options for the device in the image below. Kindly make sure NOT to enable encryption (indicated by the red dot). Bark can't monitor your child's Apple device if the backup is encrypted. If you've done so, check out this article for how to disable it.

Step 7: Schedule Automatic Backups within Options.

We recommend scheduling backups to "Daily" in order to increase the chances of catching deleted texts. See below.

7A. You may also set a timeframe, like a 4 hour span around dinner-time, when the devices have been used and are at home connected to the same WiFi network as the computer.

7B. Then, set your computer to wake around that timeframe by selecting "Open Energy Preferences"

7C. Click "Schedule..." on the bottom right of the window.
7D. Check next to "Start up or wake" and select "Every Day" at the time of your choice for your computer to wake up from sleep or shut down. We recommend about 15 minutes before the time you scheduled the iMazing backups. See below.
NOTE: For iMazing and the Bark Desktop program to launch automatically, if your Mac is waking up from a Shut Down (ie. not from Sleep), you will first have to log in to your Mac if you have a password.

Step 8: After setting Energy Saver, you are ready to click "Back Up" on iMazing.

Step 9: Wait for Backup to complete.

This one may take the longest out of all the backups you perform.
Subsequent backups are automatically archived and compressed when they are 1 month or older, saving you storage space.

Step 10: Once complete, open the Bark Desktop program.

(Not opening? Click here for additional steps)

You will recognize it on your Applications list in Finder by the following logo:

If the Bark desktop app is already open, you'll see the Bark dog icon near the time/date on your computer screen. Click it, then "Launch Bark..."

Step 11: Add your child's device.

The Bark Desktop program should automatically detect the new backup file. If your child's device doesn't appear in the list, please click "+ Add Device"

Step 12: Associate each Apple device to the appropriate child

The backup will begin uploading to Bark after selecting your child's name on the drop-down menu. The upload progress is indicated by a cloud icon appearing next to the child's name. After some time, you'll see a percentage indicator in small text below.

Please make sure your computer stays ON and connected to the internet until you see the cloud turn into a green checkmark next to your child's device, as seen below.

Step 13: All done! 

When you see the green check mark, your child's device is now connected to Bark and being monitored. You will begin receiving notifications about potential issues from the Apple device's texts (including most deleted ones!), saved photo/video, and web browsing. 

How do I keep Apple device monitoring up-to-date?

  • Make sure both iMazing and the Bark Desktop program remain open during the scheduled backup times set so that backups and uploads can occur automatically. 
  • NOTE: For iMazing and the Bark Desktop program to launch automatically, if your Mac is waking up from a Shut Down (ie. not from Sleep), you will first have to log in to your Mac if you have a password.
  • If your Mac is a laptop, make sure the lid is open during the scheduled backup times
  • Ensure your child is connected to the same WiFi network as the computer whenever they are home
  • We recommend performing backups daily, but understand life gets in the way sometimes, so if you miss a day or a few due to a vacation or another busy time, rest assured we'll catch that old activity in the analysis (up to weeks back!)
  • Click "Update" whenever prompted by iMazing and the Bark Desktop program that a new update is available. Restart your computer to properly apply the update. See here for more information.

Not tech-savvy or run into a weird error and need help?

No worries! Bark Support is committed to helping every step of the way. 

Please email help@bark.us or schedule a call with us at calendly.com/bark-us/barksupport !


Note If you see an error message "[file name] is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the trash" - please follow the instructions in this article to resolve. This is most likely a security settings issue, and not indicative of file corruption.

Note If you downloaded the Bark Desktop program, but it will not open, follow the steps in this article.

Note If you are having trouble with iMazing not opening or acting erratically, follow the steps in this article.

Note If you are having trouble with iMazing not recognizing the devices over WiFi, try the troubleshooting options in this article.

Note If you enabled encryption on your backups, or are receiving an error that you did, disable encryption here.

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