Apple has a built-in parental control package for iOS devices that are on software version 12 or above. 

To check to see if your device has, or can be updated to iOS 12 or 13, on your child's device go to: Settings > General > Software Update

Overview of Setup:

  1. Getting started with Apple Family Sharing.
  2. Setting up Screen Time content and privacy controls.
  3. Taking advantage of the new controls suite.

STEP 1: Set up your children in Family Sharing

In order to utilize Apple's iOS 12 update to parental controls, you'll need to have a child set up in Family Sharing. 

If your child is already set up in Family Sharing, you can skip this step.

NOTE: If you need to change / update your child's birthday, you can find instructions on that here:

Creating your Family Sharing Account:

You are able to add more than one parent, and each would serve as the privilege holder and have control of these settings from their respective devices -- as long as the parent Apple IDs are linked.

Start by accessing Settings on the primary parent device that is an iPhone or iPad.
If you do not have a parent device that is an iPhone or iPad, you can skip enabling Family Sharing entirely.

From here, you'll want to tap Set up Family Sharing.

You're able to add up to 6 children with Family Sharing.

There will be two options that appear: Add Child and Create a Child Account:

NOTE: Parents won't be able to add a child that is 18 years or older.

Once the child is added, you'll move to the next step, which will guide you into Setting up Screen Time

STEP 2: Setting up Screen Time Content & Privacy Controls

When you progress to Screen Time you'll be able to see many controls that allow you to manage your child's device.

You'll want to focus on the two middle items here: 

Downtime & App Limits and Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Start by selecting Downtime & App Limits.


This feature allows a parent to decide how long a child can use a phone as determined by the set timeframe by the parent.

App Limits

This feature allows a parent to set up time limits on application usage that will make the apps inaccessible outside of the timeframe the parent sets. The child can request permission for more time.

Important note: A parent will only be able to restrict apps based on categories (not specific applications) that are designated by Apple.

The available categories include: 

  • All apps & categories
  • Social Networking
  • Games
  • Entertainment
  • Creativity
  • Productivity
  • Education
  • Reading & Reference
  • Health & Fitness
  • Productivity
  • Health & Fitness
  • Other

A parent is also able to restrict groups of categories (i.e. Social Networking & Games at the same time) or every app on the device.

A parent will be able to set custom time limits once a child starts using apps. The parent will be able to see the apps populate here once the child begins to use the apps:

Here is a sample of what that field will look like once apps fill in. 

The parent will click the hourglass on the right hand side to customize time limits.

Next, you can set Content & Privacy.

Content & Privacy

This feature will allow parents to both restrict the child from viewing mature or explicit content within native Apple apps such as iTunes, the App Store, Websites, and Music.
The parent will also be able to set permissions to restrict the child from changing privacy settings on the iOS device.

After selecting Continue, the parent will be required to set a passcode to disable Screen Time -- this is for the parents' use only!

NOTE: If you have already set a passcode, you'll see an option to change or remove it at the bottom of the main Screen Time page (Settings > Screen Time)

Exploring the Content & Privacy Restrictions Page

You will find the following options:

A. Restricting what can be purchased from iTunes and the App Store
B. Restricting which Apple Apps (e.g. Mail, Safari, Facetime, Camera) can be used.
C. Content Restrictions for the entire device (e.g. Web Content, Books, Music, Apps, TV Shows, Game Center).

A)  iTunes & App Store Purchases:

A parent can restrict the ability of the child to install, delete or make in-app purchases here, or require a password to perform installs / deletes / purchases:

B) Allowed Apps:

Restrict which Apple Apps (e.g. Mail, Safari, Facetime, Camera) can be used by the child.

C)  Content Restrictions

This will give the parent the ability to make changes on the content that can be accessed on the device. 

Generally speaking, this feature will make sure your child won't be able to access explicit content such as movies / TV shows over a certain rating (e.g. PG, PG-13, R, etc.), explicit Music, books, or age-appropriate apps by grouping (e.g. 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+), explicit web content via Safari, Chrome, and other web browsers, or explicit language.

A parent can also restrict Siri and select Game Center features here:

Need additional assistance?

The Bark support team is always available to help you navigate through these iOS 12 features or any technical issue you may run into while keeping your kids safe online with Bark.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

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