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FAQs: iPhone Accountability and Filtering with Covenant Eyes

Last Updated: August 14, 2023

Our ability to connect our accountability and filtering services into deeper parts of the iPhone, including apps, and force Google safe searches no matter where Google is accessed has been very helpful to our members. Now, with our latest update for iOS 15.1 and higher, Covenant Eyes has brought Screen Accountability to the Safari browser!  

Our members have asked a lot of great questions about the updated Covenant Eyes sensor app. I thought that I’d address a few of the more common questions that have come through both our blog and our world-class Member Care team.

Question: Am I required to use the built-in Covenant Eyes browser instead of Safari®? 

Answer: No! If you are using iOS 15.1 or higher, then Covenant Eyes provides all the features of Screen Accountability in the Safari browser. It’s important to make sure the Safari extension is installed and locked, though.  

Question: Can you see my texts? 

Answer: No, we cannot see your texts. iMessage activity is not available to us. 

Question: Is every app monitored? 

Answer: Covenant Eyes takes screenshots within the Safari browser (only on iOS 15.1 and higher—screenshots are not taken in Safari with older versions of iOS) and the Covenant Eyes browser app. 

Covenant Eyes cannot take screenshots in other apps, but it does report explicit web domains. A domain name means things like “Instagram.com” or “Facebook.com,” but not the specific addresses (instagram.com/user-profile-john-doe or facebook.com/my-group-name/). Covenant Eyes reports these domains but cannot distinguish between actual websites that are clicked on and background data that is accessed by an app.

Question: Does Covenant Eyes block porn in every app? 

Answer: Covenant Eyes cannot filter the content that might be shared within an app. We can’t block nasty language on Snapchat or stop inappropriate direct messaging and pictures on Instagram. And we can’t monitor content in apps that isn’t domain based.  
 
The best way to prevent access to inappropriate content in apps is to remove them from the device and then use Screen Time to prevent apps from being installed. Using the website version instead (e.g. facebook.com, instagram.com, youtube.com) in Safari or the Covenant Eyes browser helps to ensure that explicit websites are blocked and explicit content is reported. 

However, Covenant Eyes does block and report explicit web domains. We also have a wonderful handle on Google, no matter where Google is accessed on the device. If a person finds a hidden Google search in an app (and they’re everywhere) and thinks they can get away with an unfiltered search, Covenant Eyes forces a Google safe search every single time. 

For more details on Covenant Eyes filtering, see here

Question: What is a VPN? Did Covenant Eyes invent this? 

Answer: A traditional virtual private network (VPN) is typically used by employees to securely access corporate files from remote locations (i.e., home or hotel). Now, the term VPN is more often used to describe commercial VPNs that are used by everyday people to connect to the internet more securely, thereby hiding their internet activity from their internet service provider or protecting their activity when connected to public hotspots. 

Covenant Eyes utilizes the VPN feature on the iPhone to dig deeper into activity on the device. We didn’t invent it. We just found a neat way to use it. 

Question: Can I turn off the “forced” YouTube restricted mode? It’s too restrictive. 

Answer: Yes, if you use our “Standard Blocking” then YouTube restricted mode is not enforced. If you use “Strong Blocking” then it is enforced.   

For help changing the filter settings for Covenant Eyes, check out this support article.  

We’re pleased with our new iPhone coverage and constantly working on ways to make it even better.  

We value your feedback and will continue to listen to our valuable members as we work together to create solutions that enable all of us to live porn-free. For more information about how Covenant Eyes works on the iPhone, check out this support article. 

  1. Mariah Mast

    So my boyfriend has this on his computer and his phone. His phone will show maybe 2 screenshots and his YouTube on his pc will take up everything else. How do I getbit so its more Mobile oriented?

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Mariah!

      Great question. Although I don’t have a simple and easy answer for you (yet), one potential idea is to create two separate user names (one per device), if that is an option for your account. If you are not sure how to do this, please reach out to our amazing Member Care Team!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  2. Josh

    I would like a phone with ZERO browser on it. I totally trust the covenant eyes app. It’s great. I just want to move towards a tech minimalism lifestyle.

    My question: will the VPN and the screen accountability still work if I deleted the browser app?

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Josh,

      Thank you for the feedback.

      If you are referring to the Covenant Eyes browser app, then no, Screen Accountability will not work. If you have further questions about this, please reach out to our amazing Member Care Team:
      Toll-free in the US: 877.479.1119
      Outside the U.S.: 989.720.8000

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  3. Jacob Harper

    When I am tempted, I keep turning off the VPN and therefore am not held accountable for what I look at. Is there any way to prevent my ability to turn off the VPN? Or maybe an update to covenant eyes that informs my accountability partner(s) when I do? This would be a huge blessing for me. Thanks in advance!

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Jacob!

      Great question. I would recommend calling our amazing Customer Service team:

      Toll-free in the US: 877.479.1119
      Outside the U.S.: 989.720.8000

      They should be able to answer your question!
      Moriah

  4. Ethan

    Is there going be an update where you guys can block apps (that we allow)? For Apple devices.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi Ethan!

      No updates for you, at this point in time. But, when we do have an update, we will be letting everyone know!

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  5. Username

    Is there a way to turn off data access through CE? I can limit WiFi access with my home router but my son still has data access. I’d like to be able to turn off data and then control WiFi access through the router. Thanks.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi friend,

      Unfortunately, there is no way to do this through CE. I would suggest using the phone’s parental controls to limit data access. If this doesn’t work, I would recommend that you do not allow your son to have a phone that can connect to the Internet.

      Blessings!
      Moriah

  6. William Edwards

    Hello, I just installed CE. The VPN is blocking the cable app on my iPad and iPhone we use for tv. I tried to turn it off to no avail. Any suggestions.

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi William!

      I am sorry that you are experiencing this issue! Because many cable apps are location-based, it is common for VPNs to block these apps. If you would still like to use your cable apps, I would recommend you call our Customer Service team and share your question with them!

      877.479.1119 within US
      989.720.8000 outside US

      Blessings!
      Moriah

  7. Brian Milner

    Hi,

    When the vpn is enabled, does it operate like a normal vpn and hide the url from the ISP or the network owner. Like if you were using a public WiFi would your traffic such as logging into your bank be hidden or can they still see the url you visited

    • Moriah Dufrin

      Hi Brian!

      No, the VPN doesn’t not force you to go through our servers to get online and our service does not add a layer of encryption to your internet activity (i.e. hide the URL, etc). If you have further questions about how the VPN works, I would encourage you to read our support article that covers this topic.

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  8. Diana Knapp

    My daughter is getting on Facebook and other sites through the gmail app. Even through Safari is block, it still lets her access Safari and Facebook, ect. All it shows is the she is spending a lot of time on gmail. Is there a way to fix this?

    • Amanda Powell

      Hi Diana,

      We encourage you to call in to our Customer Service team. They can walk you through the app settings to insure you have her phone set up the way you would like it to be. Our Customer Service Team is available Monday through Friday from 8 am EST to 11:45 EST and on Saturdays from 10 am to 5:45 pm EST. They can be reached at 877.479-1119.

  9. Heather

    If Covenant eyes is installed on an iPhone and someone connects to the hotspot on that iPhone, does Covenant eyes monitor the activity of the individual that is connect through the hotspot?

    • Amanda Powell

      Hi Heather,

      Covenant Eyes can only monitor the devices that the software has been installed on. If the device that is connecting to the hotspot does not have CE installed, then we will not monitor it.

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