How do I set up Screen Time on iOS 13?

Apple provides free parental controls, called Screen Time, for iPhone® and iPad®. Screen Time has many features: app time limits, adjustable content settings for each age, device passcode restrictions, and much more. This article highlights the Screen Time features on iOS 13 that work well with the Covenant Eyes app.

Screen Time varies slightly, per operating system! If you’re not sure which Apple operating system (iOS) version is on your device, check out How do I find my device’s operating system?


If your device is on iOS 13:


Enable Screen Time and Create a Passcode

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone® or iPad®.
  2. Select “Screen Time” and then tap “Turn On Screen Time.”
  3. A brief description of what Screen Time does will appear. Tap “Continue.”
  4. You will be asked whether you are setting the device up for yourself or your child. For the sake of focusing on the content restrictions best paired with Covenant Eyes, select “This is My iPad®/iPhone®. (If you select This is My Child’s iPad/iPhone, you’ll first be directed through setting up Downtime and App Limit restrictions.)
  5. You’ll be directed to the Screen Time settings. On this screen, select “Use Screen Time Passcode.”
  6. Then enter in a 4-digit passcode (the Covenant Eyes member should not know this code). You will be asked to re-enter the code for verification.
  7. In March 2020, Apple released a new feature for iOS 13 and above called Screen Time Passcode Recovery. This feature allows you to reset the Screen Time Passcode via an Apple ID.
    SUGGESTION 1: The ally can enter in his/her own Apple ID. The passcode can then be reset using the ally’s Apple ID. Allies can create a free Apple ID on Apple’s website, even if they don’t have an Apple device.
    SUGGESTION 2: The ally can change the member’s Apple ID password before setting up the Screen Time Passcode. This way the struggling member will be less able to “recover the passcode” and access the Screen Time settings.

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Disable Safari

For the best accountability experience, use Screen Time to disable Safari and make Covenant Eyes your only browser.

  1. Within Screen Time, tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
  2. Now tap “Allowed Apps.”
  3. In the Allowed Apps menu, tap the switch to the right of Safari. This will disable Safari for this device.

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Disable Installing and/or Deleting Apps

To prevent the member from installing inappropriate apps via the App Store, we recommend disabling the option to install apps.

  1. Within Screen Time, select “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
  2. Now tap “iTunes & App Store Purchases.”
  3. Select “Installing Apps” and then select “Don’t Allow” to disable the ability to install apps.
    Note: If you want to safeguard the Covenant Eyes app from being uninstalled, you can disable the ability to delete apps by selecting “Deleting Apps” and then “Don’t Allow.”

Limit Adult Content

For even more controls like Web Content restrictions, a Never Allow List, and additional resources for parents, we have a complete article dedicated to limiting adult content in addition to the options outlined above.

If after completing these steps you are still looking for some tighter restrictions for your family, you may be interested in exploring Apple’s Family Sharing feature!

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