How to Limit Child Screen Time on iPad or iPhone


If left to their own regulation, most kids would spend all day on their iPhone or iPad. Thankfully, if you want to make sure your kids put their mobile devices down and get out and live in the real world, the screen time feature that’s part of your Apple Family settings makes it easy to do that. Screen time lets you set a downtime time frame, limit time spent on certain app categories, such as games, set content restrictions and daily screen time limits, and more. The only caveat is that using screen time does require child accounts to be set up for your kids. If you need help setting up child accounts, I’ll link to my video that will show you how to do that in the description and pinned comment. Examples of all instructions in the steps can be seen in the YouTube video below.

YouTube player

Steps to Limit Child Screen Time on iPad or iPhone

  1. Launch the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad, and then tap the section at the top of the menu featuring your profile picture and Apple ID name. The Apple ID screen is displayed.
  2. Tap “Family Sharing.” The Family screen is shown.
  3. Scroll down to the More to Share section, and then tap “Screen Time.” The Screen Time screen is displayed, letting you know that turning the screen time feature on will enable you to review your child’s screen time reports and set downtime limits for specific apps for your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Tap “Set Up Screen Time.” The Screen Time screen is shown, displaying a list of the child accounts associated with your Apple ID.
  5. Tap the name of the child account you want to set up screen time limits for, and then tap “Turn On Screen Time” on the next screen. The Screen Time screen is shown, giving you another overview of the screen time feature.
  6. Tap “Continue.” The Downtime screen is displayed, where you can choose to set a start time and an end time associated with when you want your child to be able to use their iPhone or iPad. Tap either “Set Downtime” to save those changes, or “Not Now” to not set a downtime at this time. The App Limits screen is shown.
  7. Tap to choose either specific app categories or all app categories that you want to set time limits for your child to spend time using, and then scroll down to the bottom of this screen to set the amount of time your child can spend over the course of a day using those types of apps. Tap “Set App Limit” when you’re done, or tap “Not Now” if you don’t want to set specific app limits at this time. You’ll land on the Content and Privacy screen, letting you know that you can use this feature to restrict app content and set privacy settings.
  8. Tap “Continue.” You’ll be prompted to set a screen time passcode that will be required to give a child more screen time on their iPhone or iPad, or to make changes to screen time settings.
  9. Enter a 4-digit screen time passcode on this screen, and then re-enter the 4-digit code on the next screen to confirm it. You’ll land on the Screen Time screen for this specific child, where you’ll see an overview of that child’s screen time settings. You can get to to this section at any time by navigating back to the Family screen, tapping “Screen Time,” and then tapping the name of the child you want to review the screen time settings for. On this screen you can see a summary of that child’s screen time and all of their activity, and review and make changes to all of their app limits and restrictions.

Additionally, you can navigate back to this screen to either change the screen time passcode, or turn screen time off entirely on your child’s Apple iPhone or iPad.

Reasons to Limit Child Screen Time on iPhone or iPad

1. Promoting Healthy Physical Development

Excessive screen time has been shown to have negative effects on children’s physical development. Sitting for long periods of time in front of screens can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Encouraging children to engage in physical activity can help prevent these issues and promote healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Limiting screen time is one way to encourage physical activity and help children develop a love for movement. Activities such as outdoor play, sports, or even simply taking a walk can have a positive impact on a child’s physical health. By limiting screen time, parents can help their children maintain a healthy weight, improve their sleep quality, and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

2. Encouraging Social and Emotional Development

Social and emotional development is critical for children to develop healthy relationships and self-awareness. Excessive screen time can interfere with the development of these skills by limiting opportunities for face-to-face communication, empathy, and self-regulation. Children who spend too much time in front of screens may struggle to communicate effectively with others and may have difficulty understanding and expressing their emotions. Parents can help their children develop these skills by limiting screen time and encouraging other activities, such as board games, outdoor play, and arts and crafts. These activities can help children build social skills and improve their emotional intelligence.

3. Fostering Cognitive Development

Screen time can limit a child’s opportunities to engage in creative play and imaginative exploration. Children who spend too much time in front of screens may struggle with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Encouraging children to engage in creative activities such as playing with blocks, drawing, or playing make-believe can help them develop these skills. By limiting screen time, parents can encourage their children to explore the world around them, use their imaginations, and engage in problem-solving activities. These activities can help children develop important cognitive skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

4. Reducing the Risk of Addiction

Technology addiction is a growing concern among parents and experts. Children who spend too much time in front of screens may become addicted to technology, which can interfere with their ability to function well in other areas of life. Limiting screen time is one way to help prevent technology addiction and encourage children to engage in other activities. Parents can encourage their children to read books, play with friends, or participate in extracurricular activities. These activities can help children develop a healthy balance of interests and hobbies that will keep them engaged and fulfilled.

5. Protecting Mental Health

Excessive screen time has been linked to increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, particularly in children who are more vulnerable to these conditions. Children who spend too much time in front of screens may experience negative effects on their mental health, including mood swings, sleep problems, and decreased self-esteem. Limiting screen time can help reduce the risk of these issues and encourage children to engage in other activities that promote mental health, such as exercise, social interaction, and creative play. Parents can help their children develop positive coping mechanisms and healthy habits that will support their mental health throughout their lives.

6. Ensuring a Balanced Lifestyle

Balanced living is essential for children to grow and thrive. Limiting screen time is one way parents can encourage their children to engage in a variety of activities that support their overall development. Children who spend too much time in front of screens may miss out on important opportunities to explore their interests, interact with others, and develop new skills. By limiting screen

Can I Set Time Limits on Specific Apps with Screen Time?

Yes, you can set time limits on specific apps with Screen Time. This feature allows you to monitor the amount of time you or your child spends on certain apps and restrict usage if needed. For instance, if you want your child to spend less time playing games, you can set a time limit on their gaming app. Once the time limit is reached, the app will be blocked, and your child won’t be able to access it anymore.

Can I Block Certain Apps or Content with Screen Time?

Yes, you can block certain apps or content with Screen Time. This is a handy feature that enables you to restrict access to inappropriate apps, websites, or content. For example, you can use Screen Time to block access to social media apps, explicit websites, or games with violent or explicit content.

Can I Use Screen Time to Control My Child’s Access to the Internet?

Yes, you can use Screen Time to control your child’s access to the internet. With Screen Time, you can set content and privacy restrictions, limit web access, and restrict access to specific websites or categories of sites. This feature helps parents ensure that their children are safe while browsing the internet.

Can I Set Different Screen Time Limits for Weekdays and Weekends?

Yes, you can set different Screen Time limits for weekdays and weekends. This feature allows you to set more relaxed limits on weekends and more strict limits on weekdays. For instance, you may want to set a longer limit for entertainment apps on weekends, while keeping a shorter limit for weekdays.

Does Screen Time Track Usage When Using a Cellular Network or Only When Connected to Wi-Fi?

Screen Time can track usage when using a cellular network or when connected to Wi-Fi. The feature doesn’t rely on the type of network used, but rather on the device’s internal clock. Screen Time tracks usage based on the device’s clock and can provide accurate usage data regardless of the network used. This allows you to have a comprehensive overview of your device usage, whether you’re on Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

All Tutorial Categories

About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click one of the product links I may receive a small commission. This helps support my content, and enables me to continue creating content like this. Thank you for the support!