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How To Put Parental Controls On Your Child's iPad (2024)

Apple’s built-in parental controls for iPads can control the content your children can access — but falls short when protecting them from online threats.

Illustration of an iPad with sliders signifying different features of a parental control app

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      Can You Put Parental Restrictions on an iPad?

      For many children, iPads are among the first pieces of technology that they encounter and can quickly become major parts of their daily lives — used for everything from social media and games to schoolwork and keeping in touch with friends. 

      Unfortunately, like all technology, without the right precautions in place, iPads can put your family at risk by exposing kids to adult content, scams, and even online predators. The scary truth is that [*]:

      One in five American moms say they’ve never spoken to their children about how to stay safe online or when using an iPad. 

      iPad parental controls can help keep your children safe by limiting what content they can view, apps they can download, and websites they can visit. 

      In this guide, we’ll teach you how to put parental controls on iPads — using both Apple’s built-in Screen Time tools and Aura’s award-winning family safety app. By the end, you'll know how to keep your kids safe whenever they go online. 


      What Are iPad Parental Controls? How Do They Work?

      iPad parental controls allow you to monitor how your children use their devices and lets you place restrictions on when, how, and with whom they interact online. 

      Some parental controls apps can even track your child’s location and warn you if they’re being cyberbullied (or when they’re playing online games) — while the best apps combine parental controls with digital security tools to keep your children safe from online scammers, hackers, and predators. 

      While Apple offers some parental controls features through its built-in Screen Time settings, there are third-party apps and tools that provide stronger protection and additional features to keep your entire family safe online. 

      Here’s how parental controls on iPads (and other devices) work:

      • Content monitoring, filtering, and restrictions. Parental controls limit the websites, apps, and content with which your child can engage. You may even be able to change content restriction settings based on what’s appropriate for your child’s age. 
      • Limit and control screen time. Set limits and determine how long your children can be online, as well as get insights into the times of day they’re most active.
      • Scheduling (and turning off) online time. Aura lets you Pause the Internet® during designated periods such as dinner, homework, or bedtime. This control safeguards against excessive use and ensures that your child's internet use doesn't interfere with schoolwork or sleep.
      • Online protection against viruses, hackers, and scams. Nearly one million children had their identities stolen last year, resulting in more than $688 million in losses [*]. If your child clicks on a bogus link, it could download a virus or cause your child or even your entire family to become victims of identity theft. Reliable parental controls protect your children from fake ads and phishing emails. 
      • Defenses against common evasion techniques. Kids are curious about what’s on the internet — especially teens. With the best parental controls, you can combat any attempts your children make to circumvent the restrictions (such as deleting apps or changing parental control settings), ensuring that they don't sneak onto forbidden sites or use the internet when they’re supposed to be sleeping.
      • Multi-functionality. The average household in the United States has 21 internet-connected devices [*]. Look for a comprehensive service that protects all of your iOS, Windows, and Android devices.

      The bottom line: While a parental controls app is essential in today’s world, it’s no substitute for open and honest conversations with your children about the risks of online content and threats. When you have The Digital Talk with your children, you can prepare them to use the internet safely and handle any risks they might encounter.

      🥇 Don’t settle for second-best family safety. Aura’s all-in-one family safety app has received accolades and been rated #1 by Mom’s Choice Awards, Forbes,, and more. Try Aura free for 14 days and protect your family from online threats.

      How To Use Apple Screen Time for iPad Parental Controls

      Apple's Screen Time feature is a powerful tool that gives you insights into how your family’s devices are used (such as your child’s or your iPhone, iPad, or Apple computer). 

      You can see how much time you and your kids spend on specific apps, websites, and games — and get the feedback you need to set appropriate restrictions. 

      Here are some of the main pros and cons of using Apple’s Screen Time for parental controls:

      Screen Time pros
      Screen Time cons
      Included with all current Apple devices running iOS 12 or later.
      Easier for children to bypass than other parental control apps.
      Allows you to control content, in-app purchases, and with whom your child can message.
      Messaging protection only covers iMessage (you need a separate parental controls app to block messages in other apps like WhatsApp).
      Relatively easy to set up on a new device.
      No protection against online threats — such as hacking, viruses, identity theft, and internet scams.
      Provides insights into device and app usage, allowing you to set daily screen time limits and manage access to specific apps and features.
      Limited cross-platform support, primarily designed for Apple devices running iOS 12 or later.
      Offers Family Sharing, allowing you to view Screen Time reports and adjust settings for individual family members.
      Some features may require additional setup or configuration to be fully effective.

      How to set up Screen Time on your child’s iPad

      Before you can set up restrictions on your child's iPad, you need to enable Screen Time. This process differs slightly depending on whether it’s a shared iPad or one solely used by your child. 

      To set parental controls on an iPad:

      • On your iPad home screen, go to Settings > tap Screen Time > Turn on Screen Time.
      • Select This is My iPad or This is my child’s iPad.
      • If you're using a shared iPad: Tap on Use Screen Time passcode and create a passcode. You’ll then be asked to enter your Apple ID and password as verification. Once verified, you can turn Screen Time on and off when your child is using your device. 
      • If you're setting up your child's own iPad: Follow the prompts until you’re asked to set up a Screen Time passcode. Again, you’ll be asked to verify your identity by using your Apple ID. If you’re using iOS 16 or later, you’ll now be able to set age-related restrictions for content in apps, books, TV shows, and movies. 

      Now that you have Screen Time enabled, you can use it to limit or monitor how your children use their iPads in a number of ways. 

      How to restrict content, websites, and apps with Screen Time

      With Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time, you can block sites or limit access to specific allowed apps and websites on your child's device. 

      an iPhone settings screen showing screen time limiting access to adult web sites
      Apple’s Screen Time can limit access to adult websites on your child’s iPad. Source: Apple.

      You can add websites to the restricted list on your iPad, such as anything with adult content, gambling, explicit language, or violence. 

      How to set Content & Privacy Restrictions:

      • Go to Settings > Screen Time.
      • Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your Screen Time passcode. 
      • Tap on Content Restrictions, and then Web Content.
      • Choose between Unrestricted Access, Limit Adult Websites, or Allowed Websites

      How to set device or app time limits with Screen Time

      One of the best features of parental controls on iPads is the ability to control the amount of time children spend on specific apps or devices.

      To set app or device limits:

      If you're not using Family Sharing to manage a child’s account, first make sure you’re on the device that the child uses. Then, follow these steps:

      • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Turn On Screen Time.
      • Select This is My Child's [device].
      • Configure Downtime, App Limits, and Content & Privacy with the limitations you want for your child. You can set the desired start times, end times, and downtimes on specific apps or the iPad. Alternatively, tap on Not Now to block access now.
      • Tap on Use Screen Time Passcode, and then enter your passcode. 
      • Re-enter the passcode to confirm, and then enter your Apple ID and password.

      💡 Related: How To Block Apps on iPhones

      How to use Screen Time to control which people your child can message 

      Without close monitoring, young children may end up in conversation with nefarious individuals online — including online predators or scammers. Screen Time lets you block incoming and outgoing communication on any device at all times or during set periods.

      How to control communications on iPads:

      You can only manage your family members’ communications if they’re using Contacts in iCloud. If you haven’t already turned on Contacts in iCloud on your family member’s device, go to Settings > [child’s name] > iCloud, and then turn on Contacts.

      Next, on your child’s device, go to Settings > Screen Time > Communication Limits. You can then choose from these options:

      • Limit communication at any time. Navigate through During Screen Time > Contacts Only > Contacts & Groups with at Least One Contact, or Everyone.
      • Limit communication during downtime: Tap on During Downtime. The option you selected for During Screen Time is already set here. You can change this setting to Specific Contacts and then choose from your child’s contacts or add new approved people.

      Manage a child’s contacts: On Family Sharing, you can view, edit, add, or delete your child’s contacts. When you manage your children’s contacts, a new row under their names shows the number of contacts they have. Tap on the row to view and edit the contacts.

      Allow contact editing: Tap on Allow Contact Editing to turn off this option and prevent your children from editing their contacts. 

      How to set up purchase restrictions with Screen Time

      Apple’s parental controls let you prevent your child from installing apps or from making in-app purchases that could rack up hefty credit card bills. Even if your kids ask to buy apps or games, restrictions are wise. 

      an iPhone settings screen showing screen time blocking in-app purchases without a password
      Apple’s Screen Time can prevent your children from making in-app purchases without your password. Source: Apple.

      How to prevent iTunes & App Store purchases:

      • Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode.
      • Tap on iTunes & App Store Purchases.
      • You can open the settings app for installing, deleting, or making in-app purchases and switch to Don't Allow.

      You can also change your password settings for any activities related to your iPad apps by selecting Always Require a password.


      How To Use Aura for iPad Parental Controls

      Aura offers many of the same parental control features as Apple’s Screen Time. But unlike stand-alone parental controls software, Aura is an all-in-one identity theft protection solution that includes digital safety and fraud protection features to keep your entire family safe.

      Aura has won awards and been rated #1 by Mom’s Choice Awards,, TechRadar, and more.

      Below, you can weigh the pros and cons of Aura:

      Aura pros
      Aura cons
      Award-winning parental controls and identity theft protection for your entire family — all in one easy-to-use app.
      Aura’s app is included as part of a paid monthly subscription.
      Gives you control over the apps, websites, and other content on your child’s iPad.
      No message restrictions in iMessage.
      Harder for your kids to bypass and evade than Screen Time (and other parental control options).
      No location service tracking features or links to the “find my device” app.
      Protects kids, teens, and families from online threats — including identity theft, fraud, scams, adult content, and internet predators.
      Only works on devices running iOS 13 or later.
      Includes up to $5 million in insurance coverage for eligible losses due to identity theft and fraud.

      Let's take a closer look at how to use Aura on iPads, with some specific use cases for parents in the digital age.

      How to set up Aura on your child’s iPad

      You manage Aura's parental controls features through the Aura app itself (rather than directly on an iPhone or iPad). Protections include web filtering, app management, and screen time limits.

      Here’s how to set up Aura’s parental controls on your child’s iPad:

      First, add your child to your Aura account. After downloading the Aura App and logging in with your account credentials, go to Family Icons > Add Family Member > Add Child. You can create your kids’ profiles by entering their names and birthdates.

      Then, link your child’s device:

      • Tap the child’s icon at the top of the screen and visit their profile. 
      • Go to Parental Controls, which opens the screen that shows a QR Code.
      • Scan the code with your child’s device or send a text link to their messages. 
      • Download the Aura App on your child’s device. 
      • Opt-in to push notifications and the Virtual Private Network (VPN). You must allow the VPN on your child's device to activate the Parental Controls.

      How to restrict content, websites, and apps with Aura

      Content filters help you manage and monitor your children's online activities, reducing their chances of accessing adult content or apps. 

      Aura provides three ways to block inappropriate content:

      Once you set up Parental Controls, Aura automatically provides default, age-appropriate content filters for your child, notifying you if they try to access blocked content.

      You can adjust these default Content Filter Settings in the Aura app by going to your child’s profile page and then Parental Controls > Content filtering.

      How to Pause the Internet® on your child’s iPad with Aura

      As part of Aura's sophisticated range of features, you can pause the internet at any time on any device. This feature is helpful when you want kids to focus on homework or show up for family meals. 

      Here’s how to activate this feature:

      • Open the Aura app on your device. 
      • Tap on your Child’s Profile, and then Pause Internet.
      • You can unpause the internet whenever you want — for example, after your kids have completed chores or shown you their completed homework. 

      How Aura protects your family from online threats

      Aura's Dynamic Dashboard, Preview Mode, and expanded Content Blocking and Filtering are now included in all Aura Family Plans.

      Here are five ways to protect your data from hackers and scammers by using Aura:

      • Password manager. Children rarely understand the importance of using strong and unique passwords. With Aura’s secure password manager, you can make it easier for them to create and store unique, complex login credentials for all online accounts. 
      • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). You can make your accounts more secure by adding a second verification step to the login process, such as a biometric scan or authenticator app.
      • Use a VPN when on public Wi-Fi. Hackers exploit unsecured public wi-fi networks to intercept financial details when people use banking or shopping sites. With a VPN, you encrypt your internet traffic and hide your browsing activity from prying eyes.
      • Install antivirus software. Hackers use trojans, keyloggers, and spyware to corrupt devices and steal sensitive data. With Aura’s reliable antivirus software, you can detect and eliminate threats before it's too late. 
      • Use email aliases when signing up for new accounts. Aura lets you create unique email aliases for new online account registrations, so you don’t have to share your main account details.

      How to set up child identity theft protection with Aura

      Child identity theft happens when someone fraudulently uses the identity of a minor for financial or personal gain. There are over one million cases of child identity theft every year [*]. 

      Here are three ways to protect your children’s identity with Aura:

      • Monitor your child’s Social Security number (SSN). Aura tracks the SSNs of you and your family members online and alerts you if they’ve been leaked. Aura can also help you quickly freeze your child’s credit files with all three bureaus — Experian, Equifax, TransUnion — to prevent scammers from using your child’s identity to take out loans or open accounts. 
      • Limit what accounts and services are in your child’s name. Always be vigilant when disclosing your child's personal information via online accounts, apps, and services. If possible, register accounts in your name and share as few details about your child as possible. 
      • Secure your child’s mobile devices. Your child's smartphone, tablet, or laptop can open the floodgates for all types of identity theft. Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to protect your child’s online accounts and app profiles.

      💡 Related: Child Identity Theft: The Parental Guide to Protecting Your Kids

      Aura vs. Apple Screen Time: Which Is Right for You?

      Aura and Apple's Screen Time both provide quality parental controls to protect you and your children. However, it's essential to understand the differences between these two options in order to choose the right one for your specific situation.

      The main difference between Apple Screen Time and Aura parental controls is that Apple specifically protects kids on Apple devices. In contrast, Aura is an all-in-one solution that goes beyond basic features to protect your entire family on all devices and browsers. 

      You can use Aura to enable restrictions on more devices than just iPads. So, Aura keeps everyone in your family safe — whether they’re using Android phones or playing multiplayer games on their PCs.

      Here’s how Aura and Apple’s Screen Time stack up:

      Screen Time
      Restrict content, apps, and websites
      Screen Time on iOS devices lets you restrict access to certain content, apps, and websites.
      Aura works across multiple devices, allowing you to restrict access to specific content, apps, and websites.
      Set time limits on apps
      Screen Time allows you to set time limits for specific apps.
      You can set usage limits for specific apps and websites.
      Schedule Internet usage
      You can schedule certain windows during which your child can access the internet.
      You have full control to schedule when your child can use the internet (as well as other apps and games).
      Digital security and online safety
      None. Screen Time focuses on parental controls, offering no other digital security features.
      Aura provides 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution support, giving you and your family greater protection against identity theft, financial fraud, and much more.
      Apple support only.
      Aura’s dedicated team of U.S.-based support specialists are available 24/7.
      Apple Screen Time offers no insurance policy.
      Up to $5 million for families.
      Cost and availability
      Free. Screen Time comes with all modern iPads and iPhones.
      $20/month using this special discount code (includes 14-day free trial and 60-day money-back guarantee).

      The bottom line: Apple Screen Time offers a free and easy way to restrict how your children use their own (or shared) iPads — but it’s limited in its ability to protect them (and you) from online threats. 

      For a monthly fee that covers up to five adults and an unlimited number of children, Aura combines parental controls, award-winning identity theft and fraud protection, digital security tools, 24/7 support, and up to $5 million in insurance coverage. Try Aura for yourself today.

      How To Keep Your Children Safe Online

      No service completely protects your kids from inappropriate content or online threats, such as hacking or phishing attacks. However, with a proactive approach — and the help of a comprehensive digital security platform like Aura — you can dramatically reduce the risks.

      Here are nine steps to keep your kids safe online:

      • Set clear boundaries around online usage. Before giving your kids an iPad (or any internet-enabled device), set clear ground rules about internet access. Together, you can agree on rules about what sites and apps are permitted. 
      • Restrict iPad usage during certain times of the day. Setting time limits for app and internet usage helps balance their online activities with other responsibilities — and promotes a healthy digital lifestyle for your children.
      • Keep iPads and other devices in shared spaces. Encourage your children to use their devices in common areas so you can monitor their online activities and keep them accountable to the house rules.
      • Explain the importance of online privacy. By getting your children to read news articles about identity theft, you can help them understand why they need to keep personal information secret — such as their home address, phone number, and SSN. 
      • Discuss sharing photos. Educate your children about the risks associated with sharing photos and videos online. As they understand potential consequences — and issues with cyberbullying or sextortion scams — they can act with caution when sharing images.
      • Use Safe Browsing tools to protect your family from fake websites. There’s always a risk your child will visit a phishing website hosting viruses or scammers waiting to pounce. Ad and website blockers shield your children from malicious content, preventing scammers from taking advantage. 
      • Talk about the importance of strong passwords. Children often use weaker passwords, which leaves their online accounts vulnerable. Teach your kids to create strong, unique passwords for each account by using passphrases or complex combinations of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
      • Monitor your child’s SSN and account passwords for leaks. Aura includes monitoring tools and fraud alerts to warn you about data leaks or unauthorized access to your child’s accounts or SSN.
      • Have open conversations with your children. It’s never too early to talk about online safety with your children. Keep the conversation going after they start using devices in their daily lives, encourage questions, and let them know they always have a safe space to talk to you about any issues they encounter when using the internet.

      💡 Related: Canopy or Bark? Which One Is Right For Your Family?

      The Internet Can Be Scary for Kids and Parents — Aura Makes It Safer

      According to the latest U.S. Census data, 80% of households with children have at least one tablet [*]. But while kids love the freedom of being online and the entertainment it provides, the internet can be a worrying place for parents.

      Aura’s all-in-one solution is the best way to keep your whole family safe online. Aura combines powerful parental controls with robust digital security and award-winning identity theft and fraud protection. And if the worst should happen, Aura has your back with 24/7 White Glove Fraud Resolution support and up to $5 million in identity theft insurance.   

      Keep your entire family safe from online threats. Try Aura free for 14 days.
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      Award-winning identity theft protection with AI-powered digital security tools, 24/7 White Glove support, and more. Try Aura for free.

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