How To Lock Down Your Smartphone

By Tracey Dowdy

Stories about kids who’ve racked up charges on their parents credit card via in-app purchases aren’t new. Earlier this year, author Ayelet Waldman went on a Twitter rant when her son spent $120 on Kim  Kardashian, Hollywood in just two days. That seems like a bargain compared to the Belgian kid who charged $46,000 – yes, I meant to type three zeroes – to grandpa’s card playing Game of War: Fire Age.

The risk of unintended credit card charges is just one of the reasons to limit access to your phone. As tech savvy as kids are, it’s easy for them to accidentally – or on purpose – access areas of your phone or the Internet you may not want. Just as we put parental controls on our computers, there are simple ways to manage access to your smartphone.

Here’s a step by step guide to locking down your smartphone to protect both you and your child.

Apple iOS

With iOS you have two options: Guided Access or Restrictions.

  • Guided Access is best if you just need to lock the device short term, e.g. you’re waiting to be seated at a restaurant and only want the child to access a single app. To set Guided Access: Navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. From here you can enable Guided Access and set your password. To activate, go to the app you want to lock the phone to, press the Home button three times and the Guided Access screen will appear. To exit, press the Home button again three times and put in the password and the phone is no longer limited to the single app.
  • Restrictions limits accessibility device-wide. Because it’s password protected, you have control over app installation – disable completely or set age appropriate content levels – disable in-app purchases and limit access to certain websites. To set Restrictions: navigate to Settings> General > Restrictions. From here you’ll create a PIN that will be used anytime you want to change your current restrictions. Simply scroll through your list of apps and customize the content, apps, and accessibility level appropriate to your family.

Android

Google has introduced something called “Screen Pinning” with its most recent update, which allows you to lock your phone to a single app. To enable pinning: Navigate to Settings > Security > Screen pinning > On. Once enabled it’s easy to pin your screen anytime. Note you can only pin the last app you accessed so launch the app and follow these steps:

  • Tap on the Overview button (square button at the bottom of your screen)
  • Drag the title bar for the app you’ve selected to the middle of your screen
  • Tap the blue pin button at the bottom of the screen
  • Confirm you want to pin the app – you have the option to make this step password protected
  • Tap Start

To exit Screen Pinning: Touch and hold the back and overview buttons at the same time. After a few seconds the screen will revert back to the Overview screen.

Windows Phone

Windows offers a “Kids Corner” feature that allows you to create an environment customized to your specifications. It’s available from the Home screen or you can go to Settings > Kid’s Corner and switch to “On”. Once Kids Corner is active, you can pin it to the Start screen and start customizing each of the four sections: Games, Music, Videos and Apps.

To add features, choose a category like Games. Simply go to the games installed on the phone and check the box of each one you want to include. Tap “Done” when the list is complete. Windows allows you to further customize the app by adding a photo or background colors and you can rename the app to personalize it for your child. Note the Start and Home buttons are disabled in Kids Corner. To exit, just tap the power button and unlock the phone.

Whether you’re letting a friend check their email or your nephew play “Angry Birds” while you wait for a table at a restaurant, being able to restrict access to your smartphone is a great idea and something you should really take advantage of.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Comments:

  1. I pay a visit each day some web sites and websites to read articles or reviews,
    but this website offers quality based articles.

  2. I am really pleased to read this webpage posts which carries lots of helpful information, thanks for providing such information.

  3. I am genuinely happy to glance at this website posts which carries tons
    of valuable facts, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  4. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote
    and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring
    blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any helpful hints for beginner blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  5. I just couldn’t depart your website prior to suggesting that I
    actually loved the standard information a person supply
    in your visitors? Is going to be again frequently to check out new posts

  6. Hi there, I do believe your blog might be having browser compatibility problems.

    Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine
    however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, wonderful blog!

  7. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but
    I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most
    blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  8. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to
    drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic
    blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  9. Good article! We will be linking to this great content on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.

  10. Wow, this article is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore I
    am going to inform her.

  11. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a
    few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m
    not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

  12. Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest
    to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  13. Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your website so much up very fast!
    What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your affiliate link for
    your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  14. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers
    and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.

    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  15. each time i used to read smaller articles or reviews that
    also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of
    writing which I am reading here.

  16. Quality posts is the key to be a focus for the
    people to visit the site, that’s what this web site is providing.

  17. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody
    else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful!
    Thanks!

  18. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I
    found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  19. Great goods from you, man. I’ve take note your stuff prior to and you’re just too great.
    I really like what you’ve got here, certainly like what you are stating and the way wherein you are saying it.
    You’re making it enjoyable and you still care for to stay it wise.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. That is actually a terrific website.

  20. Wonderful article! That is the kind of information that are meant to be shared across
    the internet. Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this submit upper!

    Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thank you =)

  21. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually was
    once a entertainment account it. Look complicated
    to far introduced agreeable from you! By the way, how can we keep in touch?

  22. Авторизованные посетители имеют
    доступ к расшеринному функционалу.
    Они могут использовать
    возможности аккаунта, вносить депозит, принимать
    участие в соревнованиях. Для
    входа в учетную запись хватит 10 секунд.
    Создание профиля включает в себя три шага.

  23. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari.

    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility
    but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design and
    style look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.