How do I set up Screen Time on iOS 12?

Update: Apple released iOS 14 in September 2020 and many iOS devices upgraded to it. The steps are located at How do I set up Screen Time on iOS 14?

Update: Apple introduced iOS 13 in September 2019 and many iPhones® and iPads® automatically upgraded to it. The process for setting up Screen Time remained nearly the same, but a new article was created at How do I set up Screen Time on iOS 13?. It includes screenshots and additional resources.

With Apple’s most recent operating system, iOS 12, Restrictions were reworked and placed in the new Screen Time category. Screen Time allows a parent to set time limits on a child’s device. Screen Time also provides restrictions, like disabling a person’s ability to install or delete apps.

Apple has provided many new features within Screen Time. This article will highlight the Screen Time features that work well with the Covenant Eyes app.

Enabling Screen Time and creating a Passcode

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone® or iPad®.
  2. Once there, 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 iPhone.” (If you select “This is My Child’s 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. Please note: This is an Apple operating system passcode. In iOS 12, once the passcode is set, there is no way to reset or retrieve it if forgotten.

Disabling Installing/Deleting Apps and Safari

In order for Covenant Eyes to provide the best protection, you’ll be walked through disabling both installing and deleting apps, as well as Safari.

  1. Within Screen Time, select “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
  2. At the top of next screen, tap on the switch to enable the “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
  3. Now tap on “iTunes & App Store Purchases.”
  4. Select “Installing Apps” and then select “Don’t Allow” to disable that permission.
  5. Repeat the same steps for “Deleting Apps.”
  6. Back in Content & Privacy Restrictions, select “Allowed Apps.”
  7. In the Allowed Apps screen, tap on the switch to the right of Safari. This will disable Safari for this device. You will instead use the Covenant Eyes app to do all of your online browsing.

If you would like to enable other content restrictions and features available in Screen Time, feel free to do so. One of our partners, Protect Young Eyes, has very detailed instructions about setting up the other features in Screen Time.

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