As summer arrives, kids across the land are spending time with the family iPad. In today's Macworld Video, Scholle Sawyer McFarland shares some tips for making the iPad safer and more kid-friendly.
Perhaps your family shares an iPad or iPod touch, or perhaps your kids have gotten lucky and scored their own. Either way, before you hand over an iOS device to a kid, it's a good idea to do a little parental preparation.
Pick your restrictions
iOS devices offer basic parental controls. Tap Settings, tap General, and then tap Restrictions. When you tap Enable Restrictions, you'll be prompted to enter a 4-digit code—this code will now be required to change the settings.
Most of your options are pretty black and white: Disable Safari, or leave it available. Nothing fancy like the ability to create whitelists of sites your kid is allowed to visit.
So what settings should you change? And what else can you do to make your iPad truly kid friendly? The answer depends on on one basic question: What are you worried about?
Disappearing (and appearing) apps
If you're worried that your kids (especially your young kids) will mess up the iPad, then disable their ability to Install and Delete Apps. The App Store will actually disappear. Also, scroll down to Accounts and select Don't Allow Changes to prevent your child from changing settings for Mail, Twitter, iCloud and more. This means, your child won't be able to add an email account, for example.
In-app purchase mayhem
Are "freemium" games popular with your kids? These apps let you pay to unlock bonus levels or immediately access game features. In general, you have to enter an Apple account password to buy anything.
The trick is, by default there's a 15-minute period following the initial download of any app or in-app purchase when you don't need a password to buy more. If you'd rather not accidentally rack up $50 in Pet Shop paws, change the Require Password setting to immediately. This ensures that app purchases require a password every time. Or, just disable the In-App Purchases options altogether.
If you're worried about your kid's access to the outside world, you can disable FaceTime or the Camera (which also disables FaceTime).
Scroll down to Privacy options, too. Here you can disable Location Services—so no one can track your iPad, and by association, your kid. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use Find My iPad if you do this. Unless your family includes a trained blood hound, you will likely need this service. Instead, consider turning off Location Services with individual apps and then clicking on Don't Allow Changes to prevent new apps from using Location Services.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.