Native iPad Restriction Options in iOS 7

Due to the recent iOS 7 update, now would be a good time to take another look at the native restriction settings available on every iPad. These restrictions can be used in conjunction with Meraki, but Meraki's settings take precedence. At our school, we try to inform parents about the options they have in restricting their children's iPads. We encourage them to utilize these native settings to increase the control over the iPads beyond the school's default settings.

First, go into the Settings menu and scroll through the General settings until you get to the entry marked Restrictions.

When you turn them on, you'll need to come up with a 4 digit password. This password should be kept secret from your children and should not be the same as their app store password, email password, or lock screen password.

At the top of the list are the main restriction features that parents might want to use. You can turn off installing apps (if the school hasn't already), Facetime, in-app purchases, and so on. We would suggest leaving the camera and Safari on as these might be utilized by the school.

If you scroll down, you can edit the movie, music, app, and website ratings. Remember that the Meraki settings take precedence. If Meraki has it set that students can only access apps rated 12+ (as our school does), parents will not be able to make their child's iPad less strict, only more strict. Most important in this list might be the option labeled Websites.

The option to restrict websites is particularly useful and might be a new feature in iOS 7 (that or I wasnt paying attention before). We plan to enable this feature by default for all students next year. You should check Limit Adult Content. This will block a lot of websites automatically, but then you can add even more websites to the bottom. Schools would be wise to add the most popular social media sites to the block list even if these sites are already being blocked by your internet filtering system.

If students go to a blocked site, they see this:

Teachers can then click “Allow” and type in the restriction passcode to give temporary access to a site if needed. This is useful if students are doing research and the filter blocks a site that isn't actually inappropriate and which would be useful for research.

Finally, if you go to the bottom of the restrictions page, you see a few options that might be useful. At the very bottom you can turn off multiplayer gaming or adding friends to Game Center, both of which are wise to block on a school iPad (you can turn Game Center off completely using Meraki on a supervised iPad).

If you go to the Accounts setting, you can turn off changes to the account:

This keeps kids from unlinking their iCloud or, more importantly, making changes to iMessage or Facetime. In the photo above, if I were to turn off account changes, the circled “Messages” setting would fade out and be inaccessible. That means that if you turned off Messages or Facetime, the student would not be able to turn them back on. This is a great thing for parents to have control over if the school doesn't block it for them.

I hope this has helped you understand the sort of advance control that is available on every iPad. Training parents to utilize these advanced features will ensure that each family monitors and controls their students' iPads to their satisfaction.

Let us know if we missed any other useful restriction options.

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6 thoughts on “Native iPad Restriction Options in iOS 7

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