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You can’t go far without seeing a young child holding an iPhone or iPad. But while the device’s endless games and videos are a great way to keep kids entertained, you need to do a bit of prep work before giving your child free rein.
You should protect your iPhone or iPad both physically and by controlling the software, as well as setting it up in an optimal way for youngsters.
1. Heavy-Duty Case
Children aren’t renowned for taking good care of belongings. Hand over your $800+ device, and you’re likely to see it go crashing into a wall, taking a fall, or being sat on.
Similarly, Apple hasn’t built its name on a reputation for strong products. We all remember “bendgate,” right? Put these two together, and you’ll be lucky if you get away with no more than a smashed screen after your child has his way.
The solution is a heavy-duty case. When we looked at the best iPhone cases, we found two products excellent for rugged use—the Griffin Survivor Extreme and the OtterBox Defender. You could also take a more kid-friendly approach: Amazon sells iPhone cases featuring everything from Pikachu to Mario.
2. Screen Protector
For some people, it’s not practical to put their iPhone in a case. For example, if your kid plays with your work-supplied device, you can’t realistically strut into your next meeting with a dinosaur-themed design on it.
However, at the very least, you should use a screen protector. In fact, kids or no kids, it’s a must-have iPhone accessory.
These only take a moment to set up. Just apply the thin protective layer to your phone’s screen. The sheet will prevent the screen from cracking during most regular wear and tear. A good choice is the Maxboost Screen Protector on Amazon.
3. Electrical Safety
Depending on how old your child is, charging your device could have a few risks.
Young children should never be around a live current. Their propensity to put objects in their mouths, fiddle around, and generally explore their immediate environment places them in jeopardy of getting an electric shock.
So don’t ever let toddlers play without close supervision on a device that’s charging. And remember, you should always put plug protectors in all your exposed electrical sockets as a safety standard.
Amazon sells Jool Baby plug protectors for a very reasonable price.
4. Family Sharing
The Family Sharing feature lets you share your iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases with up to five other users. It also enables you to create shared calendars, photo albums, and iCloud storage.
One person in the Family Sharing account is the Family Organizer; all purchases use that person’s credit card. Each user will still have their own Apple ID.
For managing children’s habits, Family Sharing is excellent. You can ensure you receive an Ask to Buy alert every time your child tries to download something. You can then approve or reject the download (and purchase) as you wish. If you create an Apple ID for someone under 13, these alerts are enabled by default.
Family Sharing is also is also useful for times when you’re away. For example, you could temporarily allow a grandparent or babysitter to approve purchases.
5. Disable App Downloads and In-App Purchases
We’d advise using Family Sharing, but understand it might not be right for everyone.
As an alternative, you should at least disable in-app purchases. It will prevent a shock at the end of the month when the bill arrives and you discover that your little darling has spent $200 on microtransactions in her favorite game.
To disable in-app purchases, you need to use the iOS Restrictions menu. Head to Settings > General > Restrictions to get started. Flick the toggle next to In-App Purchases into the Off position to make the change.
If your kids are really young, you might even want to disable the ability to download apps entirely. Again, just tap the relevant toggle.
6. Guided Access
If you want to keep your children using the current app and prevent them from switching to another, you should use Guided Access. This feature will disable volume controls, motion controls, touch controls, and keyboards.
To turn on Guided Access, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. And to enable Guided Access during regular use, triple-press the Home button.
7. Use Third-Party Apps
Remarkably, iPhones still don’t support multiple users. The lack of this support makes it a challenge to keep your important documents, emails, and photos away from your kid’s fingers. After all, your child might have their own accounts that they want to add.
Instead of piling all your mail accounts into Apple’s native email app, why not download different third-party apps and add your email accounts separately?
You can do the same with third-party apps for the various social networks, as well as calendars, browsers, and other productivity tools. Doing so will keep your messages, agendas, web history, and everything else entirely separate.
8. Use Folders
iOS has supported home screen folders that organize your apps for a long time. So instead of leaving all your apps jumbled up with your kid’s apps, why not put your apps into two separate folders? Each folder can act as a portal into that user’s iPhone world.
Using separate folders also enhances the benefits of using multiple third-party apps as we just mentioned.
If you don’t want to keep flicking through lots of apps in one folder to find what you’re looking for, get in the habit of using Spotlight.
9. Use iTunes Gift Cards
As your child grows older, you might want to start teaching them about the value of money. A good approach is to use iTunes gift cards to add a small amount of money to your kid’s iTunes balance each month.
You will still have to approve the purchases, but it will take some of the heat off your credit card while simultaneously giving children control over their spending.
10. Gift Apps
Lastly, did you know it’s possible to gift apps from one Apple ID to another?
Therefore, our final suggestion is to make an Apple ID specifically for the device your kid uses, then buy the apps using your own Apple ID and gift them across as needed.
More iPhone Tips for Kids
If you pay attention to the 10 points we’ve discussed, you’ll be well on the way to providing a safe and enjoyable iPhone or iPad user experience for your children. Remember, constant supervision is always the key.