Best Practices for Setting up a Safe iPhone

Written by on May 5, 2021

PURPOSE: The intent of these guidelines steps is to serve as “guidelines” and best practices for setting up an iPhone for safe use. As better ideas become discovered, and as the iOS software updates, changes will likely need to be made to these steps. These steps may act like bumper rails in bowling for someone who is honestly just trying to get their ball down the lane, but they won’t stop you from throwing your ball into the gutter on the next lane over. It will be a great start but may not be an all encompassing solution. You still may need some boundaries in regard to spending time alone with your phone.

Step 1: Get Covenant Eyes (CE) and set it up in accordance with their instructions.
Step 1a: find someone who is easily accessible to be the owner of your password who will be available most of the time if you need them. They will keep a CE password and your Screentime passcode. If you know either of those passcodes, this won’t help you.

Step 1b: Develop a list of websites that you should have blocked. Block them on CE and save the list for a later step in these guidelines. Step 1c: review your apps with an accountability partner and ensure that all apps on you phone are a wise decision for you, and that you don’t have any unnecessary or unwise apps before going to the next step.

Step 2: Set up Screentime. In your iPhone, go to Settings/Screentime and click “Use Screen Time Passcode.” Have your password keeper put in a Screen Time Passcode that you do not know. They will be prompted to set up a passcode recovery. If asked, click “This is my Child’s Phone.”

Step 3: Back on the Content & Privacy Restrictions page, set Content & Privacy Restrictions: Switch Content & Privacy Restrictions to: ON (green).

Step 4: On the Content & Privacy Restrictions page, tap “iTunes & App Store Purchases” and have your password keeper input the password (inputting the password will be done frequently in this process). Turn off “installing Apps” and leave “deleting apps” and “in-app purchases” on l, unless those are an issue for you. From here on out, you will need to turn on “installing apps” any time you need to download apps (password required) and turn it back off when you’re done. (This turns the App Store on and off)

Step 5: Back on the Content & Privacy Restrictions page, Tap on “Allowed Apps.” You should already have Safari turned off (Covenant Eyes Instructions). Turn off “Book Store” and “Siri Dictation.”

Step 6: Back on the Content & Privacy Restrictions page, tap “Content Restrictions.” Turn off “Movies,” “TV Shows,” make books “clean” and “Siri Web search Content.” Step 6a: Tap to open “Web Content.” Tap to check “Limit Adult Websites.” Next, add all of the Websites that you have blocked on Covenant Eyes, and any other websites that you need blocked. If ever something is being blocked that you don’t want to be blocked, you can force it to be allowed by adding it to the “Always Allow” list.

***I have all social media websites and all web browsers blocked. And I recommend it. You be surprised how often you’ll know the URL for everywhere you need to go online. Step 7: Go back to the Settings/Screen Time main page and tap “App Limits.” Add time limits for any websites or apps that you must have access to, but might give you trouble. Only enough time to do what you need to do, but make it so you have no time to waste. Things that play audio, such as audible or podcasts, I have a 2-5 minute daily limit because the timer is only running while the screen is displayed, not while it’s playing.

Note: Screentime will show what apps you used and got how long, even if you delete them. This could possibly be used as a trust building tool if offered to show ones spouse regularly.

Note: If you attempt to screenshot anything, I’m pretty sure it logs the screen shot in your images for your Covenant Eyes guardian.

Note: IF you are gonna “Test Something Out” to see if it works or not, it is ADVISED to be on the phone with an Accountability Brother while you do it… Just to be on the safe side!!

Special Thanks to Brother Matt S. for these suggestions!!


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  1. Matt   On   June 18, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Spotify “Stations” app is a music player, that I’ve found that doesn’t have big pictures of album covers that it shows. I haven’t had a music app for a long time because of all the album covers.
    Spotify stations has been a good one.
    There are also some apps out there that are only for Christian music that might be good.

    In any case, I like to block any websites that are automatically pulled up by apps. For instance, since the Spotify Stations app settings has links that opens website within the app, rather than differing the website to covenant eyes, I blocked Now the website can’t do ANYTHING except play music with tiny album covers.

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