How do you lock down iOS? (Share Strategies)

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  • Updated 5 months ago
With parental controls and Covenant Eyes what method/combination do you all use? What works best for your family? 
Here is what we are doing right now and why.
  1. Set up the Covenant Eyes browser. 
  2. Enable Parental Controls. 
  3. Set the "DownTime" for all day. Literally, the only up time is between 4:00am and 4:01am. 
  4. Enable all the apps we want them to have access to through "Always Allow". 
  5. Disable Safari and News. Uninstall any app that have a browser and social media apps. Force the family to use Instagram and Facebook through the CE browser app. (I know it's a greatly diminished experience.)
This does allow a few things. 
  1. The kids can update their own apps. 
  2. Any newly installed apps are instantly blocked by DownTime. 
  3. This is WAY better than all of my kids constantly asking me to update apps on their phones and iPads. When I just blocked the app store. I was getting emails from their teachers at school. 
This is WAY more complicated than my Android phone where I just install CE and move on with life. iOS is such a pain. 
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Mike

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Posted 6 months ago

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Chance

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I do something similar with our iPad. My kids aren't old enough to do Facebook and Instagram or anything like that yet, or even have a phone, although one is getting close. I do use CleanBrowsing on the router and I also have Disney Circle, mostly for limiting time, but it does have some parental stuff as well. 

Does Android have good parental control options? One thing about Apple is that, although its ecosystem makes it harder for CE, it does have good options for prevention before the fact, if that makes sense.
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Mike

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Good question. For us (two high school boys and two middle school girls) iOS worked great because of the integrated parental controls until the schools they attend started requiring apps on their iPads. Android has less integrated options but the coverage is far superior with the new screen monitoring. I should note, you can download apps to do about anything you want on Android. Covenant Eyes can do more with Android and so can all the other parental control apps.
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Hackintosher

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In addition to what you have said, in ScreenTime settings, make sure you have under "Content & Privacy Restrictions" > "iTunes & App Store Purchases" > "Deleting Apps" > Set to "Don't Allow" because if someone uninstalls the CE browser the VPN will also be uninstalled.

Almost every internet account you sign up for (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, iTunes, Apple, Xbox, etc) has options once you log in, to "Download Your Data" You can find search history, download history, DM's/chats, saved/tag photos, apps/videos/emails that have been trashed, etc. This would be an extra layer of verifying that your kids are using the internet wisely. I set the Google & Youtube Search/Watch History to "On."

We use 1Password (there is also DashLane which is good too) to share our family passwords in managed Vaults to have unlimited access to kids/spouse accounts. It's been the one of the best subscriptions I've ever paid for, plus it's much more secure!

Another thing I have not confirmed yet, but a CE Rep told me that email accounts through the "Mail" app on IOS doesn't have a "Built in Browser",  (unlike Gmail or others), so you should be able to set up accounts that way & still use them with ease.

We also use Disney Circle with our router and have profiles for each group of devices, with blocking and tracking of the the history of DNS.
(Edited)
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Chance

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Yeah. Mail doesn’t have a built in browser and it’ll open CE if Safari is disabled. The same goes for the Spark email app, which is pretty good.
(Edited)
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Mike

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Good call on not allowing apps to be deleted.
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Mike

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Sometimes I wonder with iOS if a better avenue for Covenant Eyes would be to set up a Mobile Device Management option like jamf.com, like large companies do. We could have way more control. Eventually the tactic by CE will probably have to change with iOS. I read an article where they are removing more and more parental control apps from the app store because they "spy" or "don't offer solutions superior to what apple offers through parental controls."

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Chance

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I think that would be a good option, but in an update to the story you were probably referencing, it turns out that mdm was an issue with the apps that Apple had a problem with. Otherwise I think that’d be a good idea.
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Mike

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Good thought. I don't work with corporate MDM software anymore. You are most likely correct. The decision to make a superior product through MDM would probably remove the app from the app store and require deployment through CE alone. I still wonder if it would be worth it? It's a tough platform. iOS is truly a closed garden.