Configuring the kid-friendly iPad

We’ve covered configuring an old iPad for a child in print and podcast form. To make sure we’ve touched every base, we round out our look at the kid-safe iPad with this week’s Macworld Video.

Download Macworld Video #182

• Format: MPEG-4/H.264

• Resolution: 480 x 272 (iPhone & iPod compatible)

• Size: 5.6 MB

• Length: 4 minutes, 27 seconds

Show Notes

Want to know more about setting up an iPad for a child in your life? Read my Configuring an Old iPad for a Child and Embracing the Educational iOS Device. If even that’s not enough, tune into The Pass-Along iPad podcast.

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Show transcript (approximate)

Now that Apple has produced its third-iteration of the iPad, older iPads are being passed along to kids. When they’re given to younger children it’s important that their parents understand how to configure these devices so that kids view content appropriate for their age. In the next couple of minutes I’ll show you how to do just that.

Start by configuring your old iPad as a new one. You do this by plugging in the iPad to your Mac, selecting it in iTunes, and then clicking the Restore button. When the restore is complete, choose to set the iPad up as a new device rather than restoring it from a backup. This ensures the iPad is configured as it came out of the box.

Now fire up the iPad, tap Settings on the Home screen, and then tap Restrictions. In Restrictions tap the Enable Restrictions button and enter and confirm a four-digit passcode. When you do this you then have the option to broadly choose what your child can and can’t do with their iPad.

In the top portion of the window you see options for switching off those apps that communicate with the outside world—Safari, YouTube, and FaceTime, for example. Regrettably there’s no fine-tuning these apps—they’re either completely on or completely off so you don’t have the option to filter the content you see or the other people you interact with.

A little farther down are options for installing and deleting apps. For a younger child you want to disable both as you’ll be the one populating the iPad with apps. If you allow an older child to install apps via their iTunes account, you’ll want to switch these on.

Take a close look at the Location entry as it’s not a good idea to let young children broadcast where they live. You can disable location completely by switching off Location Services or you can configure individual apps to allow or deny location. A good rule of thumb is to turn this option off for any app that will tell the world where the iPad is (other than Find My iPad) but leave it on for apps that can tell you what’s around you—Yelp or Maps, for example. Using the Account entry you can choose whether the user can add or modify any accounts settings. If you don’t want your kid to use email on the iPad, select Don’t Allow Changes.

Finally, scroll down to Allowed Content. This is where you allow or deny music, video, and apps based on their rating. Tap each entry and you’ll find that you can limit each category by rating—so, for example, limit movies to PG and TV shows to TV-G.

If you’ve created an Apple ID for your child you may want to switch off the ability to make In-App Purchases. A lot of games for kids regrettably include tempting options for making purchases, which can ring up quite a bill.

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