The Apple iPad is a great device for children to use. Touch controls are intuitive and the large screen makes it ideal for entertainment and educational use. However, there are lots of features that many parents may prefer not to allow a younger child, in particular, to access. The internet and email are likely to be no-go areas and in-app purchases can lead to hefty bills.
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to adjust your iPad settings so that it can be safely used – with or without your assistance – by younger family members, something you might need more over the holiday period.
Here we look at how to make your Apple device child friendly. We’ve used an iPad, but unless specified all steps apply to the iPhone.
Check out the video above to find out more.
Step 1: Set a password
PIN-protecting your iPhone or iPad takes a matter of seconds and instantly prevents unauthorised access – a sensible precaution on security grounds too. Tap the Settings - Passcode - Turn Passcode On. Enter a four-digit PIN.
Now tap Require Passcode. Here you can determine how soon after the device is locked a password is needed. The shorter the time the more secure the iPad will be, so Immediately is the safest choice.
Step 2: Get Smart
If you've got an Apple Smart Cover your iPad can be set to automatically unlock when you flip it back. (This option doesn’t apply to the iPhone.)
Switch this off by going to Settings – General Lock/Unlock and your iPad will prompt you for a passcode next time your flip back the cover. It overrides the auto-lock but only works if you have Apple’s own Smart Cover and have set a PIN code
Step 3: Restrictions
The most useful childproof controls are found under Settings - Restrictions. Here you can disable features you don’t want your child to use.
You need to create a PIN code, then you can choose which features to disable. Options include: Safari, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes, Installing Apps, Deleting Apps and Siri.
With young children we recommend disabling In-App Purchases. These micro-payments are used to unlock new levels and items in supposedly free games, but can be incredibly expensive if your child accidentally downloads them. The Simpsons: Tapped Out is a free game, but in-app purchases start at 69p rising to £69.99.
Once disabled, all the features will temporarily removed from the homescreen. Return to the menu and tap Disable Restrictions to return the iPad to its normal state.
Step 4: Restrict app purchases
Remaining within the Restrictions menu the Allowed Content - Require Password option lets you determine whether a password is needed for app purchases. By default it is set to 15 minutes. This means once your password has been entered, consecutive users can download anything within a 15-minute window. Swap it to Immediately and a password prompt appears every time any user tries to buy an app.
Step 5: Age appropriate
Remaining within the Restrictions menu, if you are happy for your child to download content from the iTunes store the Allowed Content menu also lets you set age-appropriate settings for Music, Podcasts & iTunes U, Movies, TV Shows, Books and Apps. Within Movies and Apps you can specify the film or app rating. Music and Books gives you the option to turn explicit content off.
Step 6: Choosing apps
Games such as Angry Birds and Temple Run are certainly appealing for young children, but if you are looking for something with a little more educational value you’ll find dozens of kids in the Education section of the App Store.
Step 7: App lock down
Some of Apple’s accessibility settings help make the iPad more user friendly, rather than simply restricting feature access. Tap General - Accessibility - Guided Access. This locks the device to a single app, so very young users or those with poor motor skills can use it. Once Guided Access is enabled triple-click the Home button within the app you want to use. Circle areas of the screen you want to disable – such as access to a menu.
Step 8: Swap users
Rather than switching restrictions on and off depending who is using the iPhone or iPad, you may prefer to set up separate user account. Apple recommends doing this for teenage users and providing them with iTunes vouchers to buy or download music, books, TV shows and games.
Tap Settings - iTunes & App Stores click your Apple ID – Sign Out. Enter an email address for your child and create a new Apple ID, then apply the age-appropriate settings, protected by a PIN.
Step 9: Case mate
It’s all very well making your iPad child-friendly inside, but it’s an expensive piece of equipment, so get a protective case to prevent the outside from getting damaged. The Apple Store sells a range of cases that either clip on to the back of your iPhone or iPad or, folio-style, encase it with a flip-back screen cover. A transparent adhesive screen protector is bundled with many cases too.
Step 10: Ear protection
Children have sensitive ears, so you might also want to consider setting volume restrictions and providing them with volume-limiting headphones.
Available in bright colours, the Griffin Kazoo (£11-15 from Amazon) is smaller than standard headphones, include soft ear pads and stickers for decorating the headband. JVC, Maxell and Kidz Hear sell similar products.