How to Enable iTunes Parental Restrictions on a PC, Mac, or iPhone

Whether your kids use iTunes on a Mac, Windows computer, or on their iPhone or iPad, you probably don’t want them accessing inappropriate adult content. This can be accomplished using parental restrictions.

How to Enable Parental Restrictions on iTunes for Windows and macOS

To set up parental restrictions on iTunes on the desktop, head to iTunes’ preferences—you can do this by going to Edit > Preferences on Windows, or iTunes > Preferences on a Mac.

Then, click on the Restrictions tab in the preferences.

To change the restrictions, you will need to click the lock icon in the bottom left corner.

On Windows, make sure your child is using his or her own user account and that they do not have administrator privileges. This is important because no password is needed if you or anyone else is using iTunes with an account that has administrator rights. Plus, you will want to set up your child’s iTunes separately from yours.

On a Mac, you need to enter your system password to proceed regardless of the account but again, you should make your child uses their own account so you can apply restrictions to their iTunes player separately from yours.

Let’s step through each Restrictions section individually and familiarize you with them.

  • Disable: iTunes is awash with content—Podcasts, Internet Radio, Apple Music, etc.—so you can disable each media type you do not want your children to access. That said, you can still allow access to iTunes U (educational content) even when the iTunes Store is disabled.
  • Ratings for: This option lets you choose the ratings system for the country in which you reside. This then will apply to movies and TV shows, provided the country actually uses a ratings system or one different from the United States’ system. Apps do not appear to be affected by this.
  • Restrict: This lets you restrict movies, TV shows, apps, music, and books to a particular rating or disallow content with explicit content. Alternatively, you can simply disallow all content in any category.

Once you are happy with your changes, click “OK” to save them and exit out of the preferences.

How to Enable Parental Restrictions in the iTunes Store on iOS

While the desktop version of iTunes tries to be everything for everyone, stuff is more spread out on iOS. Podcasts get their own app, as does Music, while TV shows and movies are now handled through the TV app.

That said, you can still restrict access to all this content in one location: the Restrictions settings.

To access the Restrictions settings on your iPhone or iPad, open the General settings and then tap “Restrictions”. From there, tap “Enable Restrictions”.

Then set up a 4-digit access code to turn on the Restrictions. Make sure it’s something your kids can’t easily guess!

You can completely cut off access to the iTunes Store, Apple Music Connect (a service that allows fans to connect with favorite artists and vice versa), and Podcasts.

You can also disable installing, deleting, and making in-app purchases.

Scrolling down, you’ll find the Allowed Content section, which will be of great interest to many parents. In all, there are seven categories by which you can restrict access to content.

“Ratings For” is intended to let parents choose the ratings system for the country they live in.

The “Music, Podcasts & News” section simply allows you to filter out explicit content.

Under the “Movies” restrictions, you can choose the highest ratings system you will allow, allow all movies, or not allow movies at all. The options you have may vary depending on which country’s rating system you are using.

The “TV Shows” section is similar: choose the highest rating you want to allow according to the region in which you live, or you can allow or disallow all TV shows. Some countries may not have a ratings system at all, so you will only be able to allow or disallow TV shows.

Finally, the “Apps” section lets you restrict access to the highest age rating you want to allow, or you can simply allow or disallow all apps.

Using the “Siri” restrictions will let you allow or disallow explicit language and searching for web content.

“Websites” will let you filter websites by adult content, to specific (kid-friendly) websites only, or not at all.

When you’re done setting up Restrictions on your child’s iOS device, exit out of the settings and they’ll be saved.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.