Parental control apps are more important now than ever as families rely on iPhones to communicate with and keep tabs on their kids. The following is the list of the best parental control apps for iPhones:
Best Parental Control Software for iPhone
- Norton Family: Norton Family offers features to help parents protect their children from unsafe content, manage screen time, and keep an eye on their location. It offers web filtering, time supervision, and instant lock features, among others.
- Qustodio: This app provides a comprehensive approach to parental control. It allows for setting screen time limits, tracking location, blocking inappropriate content, and even monitoring social network activity.
- Net Nanny: This is one of the most comprehensive and reliable parental control apps. Net Nanny provides real-time content filtering, and can block inappropriate websites while still allowing safe search to work.
- OurPact: It’s a user-friendly app that offers a variety of features including the ability to block texting and internet access, manage screen time, and set automated schedules.
- Mobicip: This app lets parents block or allow app usage, control screen time, and set restrictions based on age, categories, and content ratings. It also features an internet filter to restrict inappropriate content.
- Bark: While this app is more focused on online safety and cyberbullying, it also offers features to control screen time and filter web content.
- Screen Time: This is actually a feature built into iOS by Apple. It allows parents to set limits on their kids’ device usage time, the apps they can use, and the content they can see.
Norton Family is a well-regarded parental control app that offers a variety of tools and features designed to keep kids safe online. Here’s why it’s considered a good choice for iPhone:
- Web Supervision: Norton Family allows parents to track the websites that their kids visit and block harmful or inappropriate sites. It uses a categorization system and allows parents to block specific categories of websites.
- Time Supervision: This feature helps parents manage the amount of time their children spend online. You can set specific hours of the day during which internet access is allowed and determine the total amount of time that can be spent online each day.
- Location Supervision: For parents who want to keep track of their children’s physical location, Norton Family offers location tracking features (Available only on certain devices, check for the latest updates).
- Search Supervision: This feature shows parents the words, terms, and phrases their kids are searching for, helping them stay informed about their interests and helping to protect them from inappropriate content.
- Mobile App Supervision: Parents can see which apps their children have downloaded on their iPhones and choose which ones they can use.
- Instant Lock: Parents can use the Instant Lock feature to immediately lock their child’s device, useful for ensuring they’re not distracted during homework time, dinner time, or bedtime.
- Email Alerts: Norton Family can send parents an email when their children attempt to visit a blocked site, surpass time limits, or if a child appears to be giving out sensitive personal information.
Qustodio is considered a comprehensive parental control app that offers a variety of powerful features to help parents manage their children’s device use. Here’s why it’s generally viewed as a good choice for the iPhone:
- Internet Filter: Qustodio includes a real-time internet filter that can block inappropriate content even in private browsing mode. Parents can also customize the list of blocked or allowed sites.
- Time Controls: You can set screen time limits for the entire device or for specific apps, helping to ensure that children aren’t spending too much time on their phones. There’s also a scheduling feature to restrict phone usage to certain times of day.
- Social Monitoring: This feature (availability varies based on operating system and device) enables parents to track social media activity on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, helping to ensure that kids are safe from cyberbullying and inappropriate content.
- Call and Text Monitoring: Parents can see who their kids are calling and texting, and who is contacting them. This feature may be limited on iPhone due to Apple’s privacy policies.
- Location Tracking: Qustodio includes a location tracking feature that lets parents see where their children are at any given time.
- Panic Button: Available on Android and GPS-enabled iOS devices, a child can send an SOS or panic alert to trusted contacts with their current location details.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Qustodio works on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Kindle, which is great if your child uses multiple devices.
- Detailed Reports: Parents get a 30-day reporting on how their kids use their devices, including time spent on specific apps, web browsing history, etc.
Net Nanny is a powerful parental control tool known for its effective internet filtering technology. Here’s why it’s a good choice for use with an iPhone:
- Dynamic Internet Filtering: Net Nanny’s real-time, dynamic content filter allows for more granular control than simply blocking entire websites. It can allow access to a site but block certain pages or types of content, making it more flexible than some other solutions.
- App Management: Parents can view what apps are installed on their child’s device and can block or allow access to them.
- Screen Time Management: Net Nanny allows parents to set specific hours during the day when device usage is allowed and to limit the total hours of use per day.
- Profanity Masking: Unique to Net Nanny is a feature that masks swear words on web pages, thus allowing your child to access more content while still avoiding inappropriate language.
- Alerts and Reporting: Parents can receive reports and real-time notifications about their child’s online activity. If a child tries to access a blocked site, for example, the parent will be notified.
- Family Feed: A feature that provides a quick overview and snapshot of a child’s activity, including recently visited websites, search terms, and recently used apps.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Like Qustodio, Net Nanny works on multiple platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Kindle, making it an ideal solution if your child uses multiple devices.
OurPact is a comprehensive parental control app that helps parents manage their children’s screen time, app usage, and more. Here’s why it’s considered a good choice for the iPhone:
- App Blocking & Granting: One of the key features of OurPact is its ability to block and grant access to apps. Parents can block access to certain apps, or all apps, with a single touch. This is particularly helpful for limiting access to distracting apps during homework time or bedtime.
- Screen Time Management: OurPact allows parents to set schedules for when children can use their devices, as well as to set a maximum amount of screen time per day.
- Family Locator: OurPact includes a Family Locator feature that allows parents to track their child’s location in real time. You can also set up geofences to get alerts when a child enters or leaves a certain area.
- Text Blocking: OurPact allows parents to block texting during certain times, which can be useful for preventing distractions during school or homework time.
- Web Filtering: This feature helps to protect kids from harmful online content.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: OurPact works across various platforms, including iOS and Android, which makes it useful if your child uses multiple devices.
- Easy-to-use Interface: Users often praise OurPact for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easier for parents to navigate and set controls.
Mobicip is a flexible and versatile parental control app that offers a variety of features to help parents manage their child’s device use. Here’s why it can be a good choice for the iPhone:
- Internet Filter: Mobicip offers a dynamic internet filter that screens over a billion websites to categorize and block inappropriate content. Parents can also block or allow individual websites.
- App Monitoring and Control: With Mobicip, parents can monitor and control the apps installed on their child’s device. They can set age restrictions and block or allow specific apps.
- Time Limits: Mobicip allows parents to set daily screen time limits and schedules, which can be useful for encouraging healthy device habits.
- Location Tracking: Parents can use Mobicip to keep track of their child’s location, which can add an extra layer of safety.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Mobicip works on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Chromebook, which makes it a good solution if your child uses multiple devices.
- Reports: Parents can receive reports on their child’s online activity, giving insights into how much time they’re spending on their device, what apps they’re using, and what websites they’re visiting.
- Multiple Profiles: Mobicip allows you to set up multiple profiles with different settings for each child, which can be useful in families with kids of different ages.
Bark is a parental control app with a distinct focus on helping parents monitor their children’s online activity for potential safety issues. Here’s why it’s considered a good choice for iPhones:
- AI-Based Monitoring: Bark’s AI technology monitors texts, emails, and over 30 social media platforms for potential safety concerns, so parents can be alerted to issues like cyberbullying, adult content, depression, threats of violence, or suicidal ideation.
- Comprehensive Alerts: When Bark’s algorithms detect potential issues, it sends parents an alert explaining what was detected and providing suggestions on how to handle the situation.
- Screen Time Management: Bark allows parents to set time limits and schedules for device usage to promote healthier digital habits.
- App Blocking: Parents can block access to specific apps or categories of apps, helping to prevent access to inappropriate or distracting content.
- Web Filtering: Bark includes a web filter that blocks inappropriate websites based on categories that parents can customize.
- Check-Ins: The Check-Ins feature lets parents know their child’s location at specific times throughout the day.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Bark works across a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, and Amazon devices, making it a versatile choice for families with multiple devices.
Bark’s focus on proactive monitoring and providing parents with actionable insights sets it apart from some other parental control apps. It can be a particularly good choice for parents of older children who are more active on social media or text messaging.
Apple’s Screen Time feature, built into iOS, offers a variety of useful controls for parents to help manage their children’s device usage. Here are a few key reasons why it can be considered a good parental control app:
- Ease of Access: Screen Time is built into all iOS devices, meaning you don’t need to install or purchase an additional app to use it.
- App Limits: Parents can set daily limits for individual apps or categories of apps (like social networking or games). Once the allotted time for the day is used up, the app is blocked.
- Downtime: Parents can set a specific schedule for when the child’s device can be used, such as only allowing access during certain hours of the day.
- Content & Privacy Restrictions: You can block or limit specific apps and features, prevent certain types of purchases, or restrict explicit and mature content.
- Activity Reports: Screen Time gives parents a detailed report of how their child’s device is being used, including which apps and websites they visit.
- Communication Limits: For iOS 13.3 and later, parents can control who their kids can communicate with (via Phone, FaceTime, Messages, and iCloud contacts).
- Family Sharing: If you’re using Family Sharing, you can view and manage your child’s activity and Screen Time settings directly from your own device.
One potential downside is that Screen Time doesn’t offer web filtering options as robust as some dedicated parental control apps, so depending on your needs, you might need to pair Screen Time with another app or service for complete peace of mind. But for many parents, especially those with younger children, Screen Time provides a comprehensive set of tools for managing device use.