Because of the current situation, I have been at home for a while now. As a guardian of a 10-year-old kid, who is online on her iPhone all day, it started bothering me. We all know how unsafe the Internet is for a child. But taking her phone away was not an option as it is used for several beneficial purposes too.
So I started to think of ideas as to how I can keep her safe and get rid of my worries. And the best one I came up with was tracking her cell phone with a monitoring app. After going through numerous iOS parental control apps, I have narrowed it down to just 7 apps which according to me are the best parental control apps for iPhone. All the apps come with a free trial period except some which are entirely free to use.
Before starting with the apps, I would like to mention that we have used an iPhone as the kid’s device for the explanation of this article, and all the iOS parental control apps mentioned below work without jailbreaking. That being said, let’s begin with the apps, shall we!
Best Free Parental Control Apps For iPhone Without Jailbreak
1. Family Link
Family Link is a parental control monitoring app from Google and it’s completely free to use. It helps you to track children’s app activities. The supervisor parent can disable apps and features which are irrelevant to the children! In my case, we didn’t want her to access the camera while using Facebook so we gave command from the supervisor phone which reflected instantly on her iPhone.
The supervisor can also set restrictions on downloading new apps from the App Store.
Family Link will provide suggestions of the apps that are approved by the teachers which will be useful in building up the foundation of the child. As the app’s recommendations are from teachers, installing them will only benefit the kid.
Do you want to restrict kids’ iPhones usage during family time or dinner time? If that’s the case then you’ll be pleased to know that you can do it! With the help of Lock feature, you can enable or disable access to the iDevice. While testing it, the lock and unlock was very quick. Moreover, if the child is doing something they will be notified beforehand so that they can complete the work accordingly.
Most likely parents tend to choose that parental control app that provides kids’ live location. Being a free software, offering live location makes Google Family Link a perfect choice for parents. So now you don’t need to worry when they are out as you know their live location.
Family Link from Google has the potential of being the choice of most of the parents however it has its share of limitations. Comparing it with other subscription-based applications, the supervisor parent can set a virtual fence (geofence). If the kid goes out of it, the parent will get a notification of the same which however is not the case with Family Link.
Do you want to monitor kids’ websites and YouTube searches? Then you’ll have to try other parental control apps because it’s not possible on Family Link.
If the features are satisfactory for you then you should give it a shot. Otherwise, if features like geofencing, app/website usage & monitoring are some of your requirements then keep on reading we have other amazing choices for you!
Subscription Cost: Free
Upon checking several parents reviews, Kidslox was the most recommended one. Kidslox comes with quite exciting and advanced controls like not only can it control the smartphone but also it can take care of the kid’s computer.
Parents get Touch ID/ Face ID app locking mechanism that prevents kids’ from accessing Kidslox app on their parents’ phones unless they also have a registered Touch ID or Face ID on parents iDevice. Just like Family Link, Kidslox is also cross-platform that means if you have an Android and the child has an iPhone (like in our case) you can control it too! The installation of the app on the kid’s phone is very simple. You just have to scan a barcode and follow the on-screen commands.
The free 3-days trial plan lets you check out all the premium features but you can only control one device on which you can completely lock/unlock the child’s phone five times a day. The rest of the features come with a premium subscription.
Premium users can lock and unlock a child’s phone unlimited times a day on up to 10 devices.
App blocking feature is also available where parents can disable certain apps completely. As children continue using the phone, Kidslox will make a few recommendations if any other app has to be added to the blocking list. I didn’t want my niece to have access to Netflix, so we disabled it.
Kidslox gives notification as “Network error” instead of “Blocked by Kidslox”, which makes her think that it’s a network issue!
Setting daily limits, as per your choice is not a problem either. Once the allocated time is elapsed the phone enters into Lockdown mode which can only be changed via the supervisor or parent.
According to children’s routine parents can set up daily schedules for allowing access to required apps. As far as inappropriate content goes, parents can modify website filtering by enabling safe search. Kidslox’s mechanism also recommends sites that seem fishy. The supervisor parent can make a list of unsafe websites which can be restricted, anytime.
The location tracking feature adds more security while you are away. Kidslox will keep you posted with their recent whereabouts, arrival notifications, battery percentage, and much more.
Just keep in mind, that it supports up to 10 devices. Furthermore, it requires the iPhone or iPad to be running on iOS 12 or above which can be an issue for most of the parents whose children have iPhones running on an older iOS version.
Subscription Cost: Premium lifetime ($99.99), Premium annually ($59.99), Premium monthly ($5.99)
Link: Kidslox On App Store
3. Safe Kids
Safe Kids is an app from Kaspersky which is a renowned antivirus company. It is a cross-platform application that comes with a 7-day free trial. To keep your kids safe, it provides tons of features. To start with, Safe Kids can block content irrelevant to kids on the browser (Kaspersky’s browser only). As per your kid’s age, Safe Kids will automatically hide the apps which are inappropriate by the age group.
Safe Kids periodically sends parents their children’s social media activities including newly added friends and posts. It also provides real-time locations of your children which can be useful in case something goes wrong or the device gets missing. However, the trial version will not enable you to access your kid’s location.
Not just that, you can set up a boundary which if crossed will notify you on your phone.
If children try to install a new application on their iPhone, the supervisor will get a notification for the approval. There are various settings and features that parents can enable, but our favorite feature is the website categories. In website categories, you can enable or disable a few searches which you might not want your kids to do.
Safe Kids is an economical option for iPhone users. Because of that, it misses out on important features like phone locking and selecting specific apps as per parent’s choice. However, it has location and geofences settings (safe area) which will provide alerts as the kids leave or enter that boundary.
Also, it supports iOS 10 or above which will be a pleasant surprise for parents whose children have older iPhones.
Subscription Cost: Yearly Premium ($14.99)
Link: Safe Kids On App Store
Just like Google’s Family Link, OurPact is also free to use. It has all the basic parental controls along with tons of advancements that will grow on you with time. OurPact works on iDevices running iOS 10 or above.
Pressing the Block button(highlighted below) will hide all the applications that are installed using Apple’s App Store.
OurPact has given parents the privilege to block or allow access to their kid’s iPhone at any time. Free subscription users can manage 1 device and can only block/unblock apps 5 times a day.
The feature available across the subscriptions is the scheduling. In scheduling, parents can set up a time bracket in which access to certain apps will be blocked. This will come in handy when parents want kids to study peacefully without any disturbance! However, In the free plan, only 1 schedule is allowed.
After the free subscription, the next best subscription is ‘Plus’ in which parents get all the free features along with support to 10 iPhones, set an unlimited number of schedules, countless blocks, and unblocks for apps.
The best of all the subscriptions of OurPact is the ‘Premium’ that has all the features in the ‘Plus’ plan and can manage up to 20 devices. On top of it, parents get access to all the features which are not available in other plans like Family Locator, Places, blocking iMessage, etc. These features can do so much for you. Let us explain!
Family Locator enables the supervisor to know the current whereabouts of their family members. This helps in playing a vital role in the security of your loved ones. To enhance it even further, parents can set up a perimeter and whenever kids go outside or enter that area you’ll be notified.
Does your kid use iMessage or FaceTime a lot? If that’s the case, then the block texting feature will come real handy for you! As the name applies it can block or set limits for access to iMessage, text messages, and FaceTime. This comes in handy when your kid is doing homework and you don’t want them to be distracted by messages and calls!
If I compare OurPact with Google’s Family Link (considering both have a free user subscription), then technically Google Family Link has more features. So, if you are looking for a completely free app to use then we would suggest you Google Family Link or ZenScreen (coming up next in our list). Otherwise, considering all the premium features and a subscription of just $6.99, we would personally go with OurPact.
Parents should keep in mind that OurPact supports up to 20 devices.
Subscription Cost: Free supports 1 device, Plus supports 10 devices ($1.99 per month), Premium supports 20 devices ($6.99 per month)
Link: OurPact On App Store
When we heard about ZenScreen we thought it would be like any other app. However, ZenScreen is different. ZenScreen is all about screen time and the long-term health of your child.
The best part about ZenScreen is that it shares the same features between the free and paid subscriptions. The only difference lies in the number of devices you want to manage.
Managing unlimited devices is not a problem but for the free subscription, the user can only manage 5 devices.
Like every parental control app for iPhone, ZenScreen also has a screen time feature.
As soon as the kid’s phone crosses the allocated screen time the iPhone will get into lockdown mode in which all the 3rd party apps from App Store will be hidden until the parent changes the settings.
Using ZenScreen is very easy and it comes with quite different features!
The Smart Morning feature lets your children use social media apps for 10 minutes and after that, it blocks all the apps in the Entertainment category for e.g. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc for 20 minutes. While all the entertainment apps are blocked, access to apps in other categories is allowed for instance apps from schools and universities fall under the productivity category so they are allowed.
If your child is constantly using social media apps and is quite addicted to them, then Zen Breaks can come in handy. ZenScreen has an inbuilt AI (automatic intelligence) that tracks the pattern of social media consumption and accordingly sets the phone into break mode where access to all the social media applications are blocked for an hour.
Calm Night is an interesting feature in which accessing social media apps are completely blocked for a particular time duration. Usually setting it up a few hours before sleeping will be appropriate as this will make sure kids are not using any social media apps before going to bed!
While ZenScreen has a lot of features but it has its fair share of limitations. Like it has no feature of tracking the whereabouts of your children. So, if you want to know their location then it’s not an app for you. Along with that, blocking native applications like FaceTime and iMessage is not available either. Therefore, if these two are your requirements then we suggest you go with either Kidslox or keep on reading for the best one!
Subscription Cost: Free plan (5 devices), Pro Annual ($3.99 per month), Pro Monthly ($4.99)
Link: ZenScreen On App Store
Just like Kidslox, Qustodio is also a feature-rich parental control application that is available on iPhones running iOS 11 or higher. It comes with a 3-days free trial in which all the features including the premium ones like Screen Time and App blocker are available. Qustodio is one of our favorite parental control apps for the iPhone. Here’s why!
Blocking of applications on your kid’s iPhone is possible using Qustodio as per parent’s preference. As you can see our screenshots below, here YouTube is a highly used application that consumes most of the total screen time. As soon as I click on YouTube and press the Block button, access to YouTube will be revoked on my niece’s iPhone.
Qustodio even lets you keep a track of what kind of content is being accessed by your kid. Depending upon the data, you can enable or disable access to apps and games. You can simply block the applications/games for a specific duration of time.
If you want to protect your kids from learning things that are not suitable for their age group, then you should enable this important feature. Qustodio automatically monitors the search parameter which parents can also enhance according to their desire.
Blocking/unblocking or even set an alert for some websites is also possible with Qustodio. In my case, I didn’t want my niece to access search engines, for that, I simply pressed the Block button and the result is this.
Qustodio is a very good application for parental control and monitoring. However, it lacks detailed location features and app blocking features. The kid’s location is provided frequently and that’s about it.
There is no such feature where we can set up boundaries or geofences. On top of it, the last compatible iOS version is 11 which leaves multiple kids’ iPhones unsupported.
If app/games blocking, monitoring screen time, and website filtering are the features you are looking for then Qustodio can be the best choice for you.
You can learn more about Qustodio via our review.
Subscription Cost: Small Pack $54.95 (Support for 5 devices), Medium Pack $96.95 (Support for 10 devices), Large Plan $137.95 (Support for 15 devices)
Link: Qustodio Official Site
After testing most of the apps we can say that FamiSafe is our recommendation and the best iPhone parental control application that allows you to track your kid’s iPhone remotely.
This is by far the only application to monitor your kid’s iPhone device running iOS 9 or above. Just like Qustodio, FamiSafe comes with a 3-days free trial which is more than sufficient to make your choice. After setting up your device and your kid’s iPhone, this is the first screen where you’ll see the kid’s live location and battery percentage on the iPhone.
FamiSafe also comes with a great list of features such as Screen Time, Website Filtering, etc. However, some of our favorite ones are explained below.
Just like any other blocking app, FamiSafe allows the supervisor to restrict or allow apps. Unlike any other parental monitoring apps, FamiSafe not just blocks the app but also hides them from the kid’s iPhone.
For instance, here I blocked access to 12+ age group apps which resulted in this.
To provide more safety to your loved ones setting up safe locations or geofencing is available. On FamiSafe you can set multiple geofencing areas. As soon as your child goes out or comes inside the parameter, the supervisor will get a notification of the same at that point in time.
All the parental control apps have a notification panel, but FamiSafe does it better. On FamiSafe, parents will get all the important notifications involving your kid’s tampering with the GPS locations, going out or coming in the geofenced parameter area, searches made on the search engines, and even on YouTube!
Unlike any other app, with FamiSafe kids can also request for your live locations so that they also feel secure if you are around.
You can learn more about FamiSafe via our review.
Subscription Cost: Monthly $9.99 (Support for 5 devices), Quarterly $6.66 (Support for 10 devices), Yearly $4.99 (Support for 30 devices)
Link: FamiSafe Official Site
Final Verdict – Which Is The Best Parental Control App For iPhone?
After trying most of the popular and recommended parental control apps for the iPhone, we can recommend FamiSafe as your go-to application. For us choosing between OurPact and FamiSafe was a tough decision.
But keeping factors like 30 device support, compatible with iOS 9 & later, Geofencing, App blocking, Screen limit, etc. it was FamiSafe that provides the best features for your dollars.