Kids are fascinated with mobile devices — in fact, it's not uncommon for a child to be better at navigating touchscreen menus than their parents. If you're thinking about giving your kid his or her first mobile device, this guide will walk you through:
- How to set up an iPhone for a child.
- What steps you need to take before you do.
- How to make sure your child is safe when using their iPhone.
1. Backup your iPhone
The last thing you want to do is hand your child an iPhone with all your old data on it. Avoid having your kid prank call your boss or running up your credit card bill from micro-transactions in all those phone games— just reset your phone. First, you'll want to back it up. Follow these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Tap your Apple ID page, then iCloud.
- Scroll down the list of apps that use iCloud until you reach iCloud Backup.
- Make sure the slider is set to "On."
You can also create a backup of your device on your computer or an external drive so you can restore the data later.
2. Wipe your data from your iPhone
Once you've backed up your child's device, you're ready to reset it. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Doing this will restore your phone to its factory defaults and purge all your data from its memory banks.
3. Set Up the iPhone for Your Child
Now that the phone has been wiped and your data is safe, you can set up the device for your kid. If you haven’t already, enable Family Sharing. This gives you the ability to:
- Control any purchases made on the App Store by child accounts.
- Share iTunes and App Store purchases between all family accounts.
- Share your location.
- Monitor the amount of time each device uses via Screen Time.
- Create an iCloud account for your child, even if they aren't 13 years old.
Creating an iCloud account will give you full access to iCloud's parental controls and allow you to keep a close eye on what your child is doing on the Internet. When your child is old enough, you can migrate their iCloud account off of the family plan to give them a bit more independence without losing any of their purchased apps or data. Note, the cost of maintaining an iCloud account is $0.99 per month for 50GB of storage.
Adding someone to your Family Sharing plan is easy. On your own phone, go to Settings > tap your profile > Family Sharing > Add Family Member > Create Child Account/Add Child.
Once you enter the requested information (your child's birthday, desired username and password, and payment method), your child's account will be ready to go.
4. Set up content restrictions on the iPhone
You want to be sure your child can only access appropriate content when using their phone. Apple and iPhone parental controls make it easy to change what a child can and can't do on an iPhone. You must enable restrictions first. To do this, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions and turn the slider to "On."
Xfinity xFi also makes it easy to manage any device on your home WiFi network. Features like "Pause" and "Parental Controls" let you see who is online, so you can manage your child's usage and activity.
From here, you can require an App Store password to make iTunes & App Store purchases on your child's device, control what specific apps can be used, and set up content restrictions.
The content restrictions options provide specific levels of control. You can:
- Set which country's ratings you want to use.
- Block explicit podcasts, music, and news.
- Set how much access your child has to web content.
- Set time limits for apps.
- Schedule times when your child cannot use the phone for anything but predefined tasks.
Set a passcode on Screen Time by tapping "Use Screen Time Passcode." You can also set up Screen Time for all your family's devices to keep an eye on when and how long each one is used.
5. Reactivate the iPhone with your carrier
Once you've set the phone up for your child, you'll need to reactivate it with your carrier before it can be used. If your old phone was through a different provider, make sure it's compatible with your current network before adding the Apple device to your plan.
As you set up an iPhone for your child, take the necessary steps to make sure your little one is safe while browsing the web. He or she will probably love having their own phone, and you can rest easy knowing you have control over what they can do on it.