Share a family iPad with Location, accounts, Content, etc

You can have an iPad that’s both entirely accessible to adults as well as locked down to protect your children from unsavory content. The means for doing this is the iPad’s Restrictions feature. With restrictions enabled, you have the opportunity to selectively disable some of the apps pre-loaded with the iPad (though, regrettably, you can’t disable third-party apps) as well as prevent your spawn from viewing or listening to inappropriate content.

Location and accounts

Careful parents don’t want an iPad broadcasting their kid’s location. Although you can adjust the iPad’s location settings in the Location Services area of the Settings screen, Restrictions provides a way as well. Tap Location and you can individually configure the location settings for all the apps on your iPad. For example, you might turn off location for the Camera app and social networking apps for Facebook and Twitter. Or you can turn off location altogether with the Location Services slider. You can then lock down your current settings and prevent new apps from using location services by enabling the Don’t Allow Changes option. If you have Find My Friends¡ªApple’s new app that lets iOS users track each other’s locations¡ªinstalled onto your iPad, it’s especially important to enable Don’t Allow Changes. This way, your child cannot make any changes to who can and cannot track the location of your family’s iPad.

Controlling content

It’s within the Allowed Content area that you can filter the content your kid can access. The first setting absolutely worth disabling is In-App Purchases, if you don’t want a child equipped with an iTunes account to rack up a huge bill purchasing game upgrades.

Within the Music & Podcasts, Movies, TV Shows, and Apps entries you can disallow content based on specific ratings. For example, when you tap Music & Podcasts you can prevent the playback of any tracks, podcasts, or videos that bear the Explicit tag. Within Movies, you can let you child view G and PG movies, but not those rated PG-13 and above. Likewise, TV Shows purchased from the iTunes Store have a rating. Disallow any that are too mature for your child.

Note, however, that these ratings are embedded only in content you get from the iTunes Store. If you’ve obtained movies and TV shows from another source, they won’t be rated and so these settings do no good. In that case the solution is to be careful about what you load on to the iPad. This isn’t a concern for apps, which are also rated, as the vast majority of people get their apps from Apple’s App Store.

Finishing up

Anything you’ve missed? You might check your iPad‘s Notification settings. Depending on who you follow on Twitter, a notification might pop-up in front of your 9-year-old that contains inappropriate language. You should also inspect the contents of your iBooks library for books you don’t want your young one to see.

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