The 3 Best Ways to Lock Apps and Limit Screen Time on iPad and iPhone in 2024

Lock Apps and Limit Screen time on iOS, iPad and iPhone

April 11, 2024

5 mins read time
The 3 Best Ways to Lock Apps and Limit Screen Time on iPad and iPhone in 2024

If you’re one of the two-plus billion parents on this earth you are probably interested in any new ways to help your child stay safe online.  However, in a technological landscape that shifts from day-to-day, moment-to-moment, it is nearly impossible to keep up with every safety and time-limit feature on our devices.  In this article we are going to outline three ways you can limit access to certain apps and set time limits inside your iPhone or iPad Settings App.

Setting strict time-limits inside your apps is an easy way to teach your children (and YOURSELF) good browsing habits and internet-use moderation.  Moderating the amount of time spent behind a screen is not only beneficial to our minds, but our happiness as well.  Mentally, children need time to daydream, practice creativity, and use their imaginations through physical play (may also be of benefit to adults!) so stepping away from the screen each day is crucial to their growth.

Use the steps below to set limits on your and your child’s iPhone and/or iPad.  Setting “Time Limits” is also a good idea on any apps you may consider sensitive when allowing others to use your phone.  Put these in place when having your phone repaired in a shop, or to add extra protection to apps containing confidential information (such as ecommerce sites and banking apps carrying payment information.)

If you have previously read our guide on how to block websites on iPhone and iPad, you will have already set-up a Screen Time passcode.  If not, you may be prompted to create one.  This passcode is different to your locked home screen so don’t forget your new code or you may be in for a bit of trouble!

Setting “Time Limits” inside your “Screen Time” feature

1. Open the “Settings” app and choose “Screen Time” to enter the controls menu.

2. Set a “Screen Time Passcode” if you have not already done so.

3. Select the “App Limits” option inside the “Screen Time” menu. 

4. Use “Add Limit” to select a category of app to restrict.

5. Once you have your selection click “Next” to enter time/day limits.

6. You may have the option to “Block at End of Limit.”  Select this option.

7. Click “Add” to add to your list of time limits.

Now that you have set your limits you can return to your home page.  Exceeding your time limit inside any given app will prompt your phone to present you with two options, “Ok,” which takes you out of the app, or “Ask For More Time.”  If you have enabled the “Screen Time Passcode” you will be allowed to “Ask For More Time” by entering the passcode.  

If you have opted not to use the passcode you can choose the option “Ignore Limit.”  Choosing “Ignore Limit” will give you three options, “One More Minute,” “15 More Minutes,” “Ignore Limit For Today.” 

This option of limiting apps DOES NOT however limit entering the apps.  The most restrictive setting inside “App Limits” is one minute so if you need to completely block an app from being opened follow the option below.

Locking apps inside “Screen Time” feature

Locking apps inside of “Content Restrictions” in your “Settings” app can also be a good option if you are looking to restrict access to certain apps. However this is also extremely limited as Apple has only included a small selection of their first-party apps such as “Mail,” “Safari,” and “Wallet.” Third-party app restrictions will need to be put in place inside each individual app (if the feature is available.) Ensure you have the “Screen Time Passcode” option enabled.

1. Enter the “Settings” app and choose the “Screen Time” option.

2. Inside “Screen Time” select (and toggle “on” if necessary) “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”

3. Choose “Allowed Apps” to enter the menu.

4. Toggle off any apps you are looking to restrict.

Locking apps using “Guided Access” for allowing single app navigation

The single most restrictive parental control available on iPad and iPhone for blocking apps is available by using the “Guided Access” option.  This option is a great choice for very small children that like to press the button or have little control or knowledge of how to use a device.  It keeps the open app from closing or switching to another application through any shortcuts that may have been enabled.  

To use “Guided Access” to lock an app follow the steps below.

1. Enter the “Settings” app and scroll down to tap on “Accessibility.”

2. Find the “Guided Access” option in the “General” menu and select.

3. Toggle the on button to enable “Guided Access.”

4. Once toggled, you can choose from passcode options as you fit.

To enter into the “Guided Access” function, triple-click on the “Home” button or side button on the iPhone once inside the app you wish to use.  To exit the “Guided Access” function, triple-click again.  If you have enabled the passcode, you will be prompted to enter it here (or use your face scan.)

Why blocking apps and content is not enough for protecting our children

While all the aforementioned options can provide some control and protection, content restrictions are not enough to keep unwanted information and images out of our child’s reach.  Parents are becoming more tech savvy and aware of the potential harms of the internet (or the people behind the screens!) and are demanding better for their young ones.  We are too!

Here at ASTROSAFE we believe the internet has the potential to become a source of endless knowledge and trigger the imagination, but how do we sort through all the dark matter?  Our Browser for Kids aims to remove all the loud, unwanted noise through family-friendly filters and curated content that kids are actually interested in (not just a pair of hands cooing at a colourful egg…)

We can assure that their time spent inside the ASTROSAFE universe is educational, engaging, and age-appropriate.  ASTROSAFE can help build the online skills needed for our youth to begin their relationship with web and connected technologies in a healthy, relevant manner.

Find out more about our vision for a safe browser and search engine for kids at ASTROSAFE.CO, and don’t forget to sign-up for our newsletter to receive more information and tips about keeping kids safe online.

Authors Bio

Article by

AstroSafe Content Team

The AstroSafe content team is committed to creating high-quality and child-friendly content that aims to help educators, parents, and guardians make it easier for students to learn important subjects for their development. Our team of writers have extensive experience at creating content for a multitude of subjects intended for children ages 12 and below.

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