Make your own iPad child-friendly with these 11 practical tips

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  January 2, 2021

A play theme in your mailbox every month?

Fun play tips, activity books and more, with the first email being our free mini-guide "educational toys"

We will only use your email address for this newsletter and respect you privacy

I enjoy writing these articles for my readers, you guys. I don't accept payment for writing reviews, my opinion on products is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something through one of the links I may be able to receive a commission on that. More information

Making your home kid-friendly can start with locking cabinets and drawers and putting covers over electrical outlets, but it doesn't stop there.

Childproofing is a continuous process that continues into the toddler years and into the pre-teens and tweens. An important aspect is to make sure that the family iPad has proper parental restrictions to both protect your child and keep your bank account safe.

Fortunately, Apple has made it relatively easy to make your iPad kid-friendly.

How can I make my own iPad child-friendly

In this post, I'll take you through all aspects of making your iPad child-friendly.

Read also: making your Android tablet child-friendly

Tip 1: Enable parental control restrictions on your iPad

The first step to a kid-friendly iPad is to enable restrictions, which allow you to limit which applications are accessible on the iPad.

You can enable parental controls on the iPad by:

  1. go to the settings of your iPad
  2. Choose general settings from the menu on the left and then scroll down until you see “Restrictions”
  3. In the Restrictions settings, tap Enable Restrictions at the top.
  4. now he asks for a four-digit access code. This passcode is used to change restrictions settings in the future, so make sure it's not something your child can guess easily. This passcode can also be different from the passcode used to unlock the device, so if you want to give your child access to iPad, you can choose a different passcode for the restrictions than those used for the passcode.

Tip 2: Turn off in-app purchases on the iPad

This is a step that some parents miss, and it can cost you dearly.

This is how you can disable in-app purchases on your iPad:

  1. Go to the settings of your iPad
  2. to general settings in the menu on the left
  3. then scroll down until you see “Restrictions”.
  4. The in-app purchases setting is at the bottom of the allowed content, just above the time interval for requiring a password.

When you turn off in-app purchases, the option to buy these extras in games and apps is disabled. This means no surprises when the iTunes bill arrives in your mailbox.

Why should I watch out for in-app purchases on my iPad?

Freemium games are games that are offered for free, but are supplemented with in-app purchases. These purchases, which are often in-game currency or food, can easily add up to quite a large amount.

How Popular Are Freemium Games? If you check a category in the app store and list the apps by highest grossing, you'll see “free” apps dominate the list, often to the point where “paid” apps are rare to see in these lists.

In-app purchases have essentially taken over the app store's economic model.

This makes it all the more important to disable in-app purchases.

Sometimes an in-app purchase is valid, such as an extension to a game with real content. Often times, in-app purchases are quick ways and extras that can be obtained simply by playing the game and achieving certain goals.

And all too often a game or app is designed to entice users into in-app purchases.

Tip 3: Turn off app downloads on the iPad completely

If the iPad is mainly used by children, especially toddlers, it may be a good idea to just turn off the App Store.

Ability to install apps on iPad completely block in iOS 11 or earlier

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap on Restrictions
  4. Launch the Settings app, tap General, then tap Restrictions
  5. Enter your access code
  6. Tap the Install apps switch
  7. When the switch is gray, it means it is not accessible

Ability to install apps on iPad completely block in iOS 12

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Enter a four-digit passcode and confirm if prompted
  5. Tap Screen Time, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, enter and confirm a 4-digit passcode
  6. Tap the switch next to Content and privacy. You only need to do this if the switch is gray
  7. Tap Purchases iTunes & App Store
  8. Tap Install apps
  9. Tap Do not allow

Why block installing apps altogether?

Not only does this give you the peace of mind that your child won't download apps on their own, but also won't have access to browse the App Store, meaning they won't beg you to buy a fun game they found while browsing .

If you decide to turn off the App Store, you can also turn off the ability to delete apps. This can be useful as deleting an app will also delete all saved data and settings, so you may want to prevent your child from doing this accidentally.

Tip 4: Block the ability to delete apps on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap on Restrictions
  4. Enter your access code
  5. Tap the Uninstall apps button. When the switch is gray, it means it is not accessible

Block the ability to delete apps on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Enter a four-digit passcode and confirm if prompted
  5. Tap Screen Time, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, enter and confirm a 4-digit passcode
  6. Tap the switch next to Content and privacy. You only need to do this if the switch is gray
  7. Tap Purchases iTunes & App Store
  8. Tap Uninstall apps
  9. Tap Do not allow

Remember, it then requires the intervention of a parent to download apps to the iPad, so if your child deletes a game because they are tired of it or just accidentally, you will need to re-enable the App Store, download the app or game and then have to restrict the App Store again.

Should you turn off iPad app downloads for your kids?

Not even a two-year-old is too young to learn how to use the iPad. This also means finding their way to the app store and buying apps.

By default, the App Store will ask for a password for even a free game or app, but if you've entered your password recently, there is a grace period during which apps can be downloaded without being verified.

It may therefore be wise to block this entirely.

Tip 5: Put age-based restrictions on the iPad

Apple has gone through major advances in age-related restrictions in recent years.

While it may be easier to simply turn off the App Store for a two-year-old toddler or a four-year-old, it may be easier to give your teen access to the features of the iPad.

This is where age-based restrictions come into play. Instead of simply disabling the App Store, you can restrict apps based on an age range.

The categories in the age-based restrictions are:

The 4+ category is basically the 'G' rated category with no violence (cartoon or otherwise), drinking, drug use, gambling, profanity, nudity, etc.

The Th 9+ category adds cartoon violence and includes apps like the LEGO series of movie-based games.

From the age of 12, the app can feature realistic violence, as you might find in a Call of Duty style game, but only rarely, so you'll still need to be with the 17+ to actually play a Call of Duty type game. to download.

In addition to implementing age-based restrictions for apps, you can do the same for movies, TV shows, books, and even websites.

Each of these categories has its own guidelines for restrictions. For example, movies meet standard G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 ratings, while TV shows are broken down into TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, etc.

Tip 6: This is how you limit the Safari web browser on the iPad

Apps that provide unlimited access to the internet are rated 17+, so you don't have to worry about your teen or pre-teen downloading an app and browsing the web.

But what about the Safari browser?

Apple has added a setting that gives you complete control over what your child can view on the web. You can find this setting in the “Allowed Content” section under “Websites. By default, the iPad allows all websites to be displayed.

You can set the iPad to 'Restrict Adult Content', which is a relaxed setting that automatically filters most adult websites.

Why only most?

New adult themed websites are always popping up so it's impossible for any web browser to deny all adult sites all the time and still not restrict the rest of the internet, but Safari does a very good job of restricting sites and creating new ones sites for adults are quickly being limited.

With this setting you can also block specific websites or allow specific websites. This gives you a lot of control over which websites your child can and cannot visit.

The most restrictive setting is “Specific websites only”.

This setting comes with a small list of websites that are pre-determined to be allowed, such as Disney, Discovery Kids, PBS Kids, and so on.

You can also add websites to the list, which is useful for allowing an educational website or a site with fun activities that may not be on the original list.

Tip 7: Turn off the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and social media like Facebook

The iPad comes with a number of standard apps such as FaceTime, the iTunes Store, etc. In addition to the limited access to the App Store, you can disable many of these apps, which means that the app icon will simply disappear from the iPad.

Restrict access to iTunes Store on iPhone and iPad iOS 11 or earlier

  1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap on Restrictions
  4. Enter your access code
  5. Tap the iTunes Store switch. When the switch is gray, it means it is not accessible

Restrict access to the iTunes Store on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Enter a four-digit passcode and confirm if prompted
  5. Tap Screen Time, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, enter and confirm a 4-digit passcode
  6. Tap the switch next to Content and privacy. You only need to do this if the switch is gray
  7. Tap Allowed apps
  8. Tap the iTunes Store switch

Restrict access to the iBooks Store on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11 or earlier

  1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap on Restrictions
  4. Enter your access code
  5. Tap the iBooks Store switch. When the switch is gray, it means it is not accessible

Restrict access to the iBooks Store on iPhone and iPad in iOS 12

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Enter a four-digit passcode and confirm if prompted
  5. Tap Screen Time, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions, enter and confirm a 4-digit passcode
  6. Tap the switch next to Content and privacy. You only need to do this if the switch is gray
  7. Tap Allowed apps
  8. Tap the iTunes Store switch

FaceTime allows video conferencing, which can be great if your child's grandparents have an iOS device such as an iPhone or an iPad.

But if you don't feel comfortable with the idea of ​​a video conferencing app on your iPad that your kids can access, you can turn it off too.

You can always enable it for the specific times when your child can have a video call with an aunt, uncle, nephew or grandparent.

Disabling the iTunes Store is also a personal decision. Like the App Store, iTunes will ask for a password before each download and you can choose age restrictions to ensure that only eligible content can be downloaded.

However, like FaceTime, this can be turned on if needed and then turned off again when the content is downloaded.

You can also turn off Siri and access to the camera, which can be good for toddlers who get fascinated with taking pictures.

Towards the bottom of the Restrictions, the setting is an “Allow Changes” section. If you don't allow changes to Accounts, your ability to add or change email accounts will be limited.

Tip 8: Should I turn off the iPad WiFi for my child?

There is no restriction on Internet access, but it is easy to disable Wi-Fi access from the main settings page.

If you have a secure Wi-Fi network, you can ask the iPad to forget your Wi-Fi password by opening the Wi-Fi networks and touching the blue button that points to the right.

This will take you to a screen with information about your WiFi connection, where you can choose “Forget this network”.

However, it is not completely necessary to disable internet access on the iPad. If you've disabled apps like Safari and YouTube and disabled the ability to download new apps, you've limited your child's ability to access much of the Internet.

In fact, the only way the child can access the internet is through apps that you have allowed, such as games downloaded from the app store or (if you haven't turned it off) the FaceTime app.

Tip 9: Download apps to a child-resistant iPad

Now that your iPad is kid-friendly, you may want to make it fun by downloading some suitable apps or games. But how do you do this without the app store?

There are two ways to download apps to the iPad once it has the applicable restrictions.

Tip 10: Limit iPad purchases by setting an app credit

A great way to make sure your child doesn't get a big bill from iTunes is to set up the iPad with their own iTunes account and remove the credit card from it.

You then have the option to give apps to the iPad to check what is installed, or simply set a credit that allows your child to download up to the limit you have set in advance.

In this way they also learn to deal with virtual money.

Tip 11: Set the iPad for “single app mode”

iOS 6 introduced a new feature called Guided Access that allows the iPad to be locked in a “single app mode”. It only remains open on an app selected by you so that your child cannot do other things.

Problem is, like most other things in iOS, this is buried deep in the Settings app.

You can find Guided Access in Settings> General> Accessibility> Guided Access. You can set a password here that you will need to get out of this mode.

To enable Guided Access afterwards, fire up the app you want to lock in single app mode and tap the home button three times. This allows you to lock the iPad user for this one app.

To exit Guided Access again, press the start button three times and enter the PIN you previously set.

Read also: your iPad on the plane, but what else for toys?

[Wl_faceted_search]

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.