How to block websites and searches on your iPhone or your child's

  • You can block websites on an iPhone in a few different ways to make sure your child can only access appropriate content while browsing the web.
  • You can configure your iPhone to block all adult sites, to filter for language, to restrict search terms, or you can limit it to a list of pre-approved websites.
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My son is five and a half, and he already has an iPad and a laptop. For the record, the latter was a hand-me-down, and my wife and I didn’t allow one bit of screen time until he was almost two, and we limited it sharply until he was well past three. But now we encourage periodic use of technology, because this is 2019 and technological prowess is a requisite for everyday life.

Fortunately we’re technologically savvy enough to have curated his various devices such that we know he is always safe when using anything that can access the web, a place no kid belongs with unfettered access.

If you want to set up your own iPhone so that it’s safe in the hands of a child or if it’s time for your son or daughter to get their own first iPhone, you too should restrict access to any sites (and searches) that you’d rather not end up in front of young eyes.

How to block websites on an iPhone

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down to Screen Time and tap the tab.

Screen timeSteven John/Business InsiderTap the ‘Screen Time’ tab.

3. Tap the tab with the white circle and line inset into a red square reading “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”

Steven John/Business InsiderTap the ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ tab.

4. If not already switched, tap the circle at the top right beside the words “Content & Privacy Restrictions” to switch it to the right (a green background will appear around the switch).

Steven John/Business InsiderSwitch on the button pictured.

5. Tap “Content Restrictions.”

Content restrictionsSteven John/Business InsiderTap ‘Content Restrictions.’

6. Under the “WEB CONTENT” header, tap “Web Content.”

Steven John/Business InsiderTap the ‘Web Content’ tab.

Now you have to choose how you want to limit web access. You can select “Limit Adult Websites,” and the phone will block sites known to be adult in nature (X-rated, e.g.), and you can choose to add in sites that will still be allowed regardless of their nature.

Under the “Limit Adult Websites” setting, you can also add sites that will always be blocked, even if they aren’t recognised as adult.

Steven John/Business InsiderAfter you select ‘Limit Adult Websites,’ you can add websites you’d like to always or never allow.

And if you want to take it a step farther, use the “Allowed Websites Only” setting and create a customised list of the only sites that will be allowed.

Steven John/Business InsiderWith ‘Allowed Websites Only,’ curate a list of the only sites you’ll allow access to.

How to block searches and explicit language on an iPhone

If you want to limit the iPhone’s search setting, go back from the “Content Restrictions” page pictured in the steps above and, just below, choose the filters you want for search under the “SIRI” header. You can restrict all search, or just restrict searches with “Explicit Language.”

FileSteven John/Business InsiderChange your search and language preferences under the ‘SIRI’ header.

Finally, go back to the first page of Screen Time pages and make sure to tap “Use a Screen Time Passcode,” or any semi-savvy person who gets the phone in hand will just undo any of the settings he or she doesn’t like.

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