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I want to restrict access on an iPad so it is only able to run specific apps (in this case, a folder of children's apps) and prohibit access to things like Settings, Gmail, full YouTube, etc. It's unclear to me if the built-in Restrictions feature can apply to any app that is installed or if it is only limited to a set of native apps and functionality.

Ultimately, is there any native functionality in iOS where I can lock the device down to only access specific apps, either by individual app or by a folder even? Or do I need to search for a 3rd party parental control tool or something?

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  • Have you tried parental restrictions?
    – fsb
    Oct 17, 2016 at 13:45
  • I don't have the device in front of me at the moment, but it wasn't clear to me from the documentation on Apple's site. Do all installed apps show up in the built-in parental restrictions or is it just a selection of native apps by Apple (Safari, iTunes, etc.). Oct 17, 2016 at 13:51
  • I have not found a way to do what you are asking other than to have a dedicated "kids" iPad. iOS does not support the idea of multiple accounts with different settings and applications the way desktop operating systems do. Oct 17, 2016 at 14:00
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    If you go to the site I indicated, it shows what is supported when using Restrictions. Between what Apple provides on that page and what @bret7600 says, those are your options.
    – fsb
    Oct 17, 2016 at 14:06
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    @PeterTirrell Yes, ALL installed apps shows up in the built-in parental restrictions. It is not just native apps. With the "Screen Time" feature you can limit the use of any app, set allowed times of day, etc. - i.e. you can limit the usage of the games you have installed, but allow unlimited usage of for example an eBook reader.
    – jksoegaard
    Oct 19, 2022 at 17:47

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Depending on how old your iPad is, I recommend a combination of Guided Access (https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/ipad/ipada16d1374/ipados) and Screen Time (https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/ipad/ipadaf2aa9f2/ipados):

  • Guided Access can set time limits for the iPad itself, which buttons can be pressed
  • Screen Time App Limits can block apps and set time limits per app as well.
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    Thank you! Hah this is an old one, I did end up using Screen Time to successfully manage access to different applications. Honestly the native Apple parental controls seemed to work better for me than the native controls for the Kindles that we had been using prior. They've made a lot of progress since 2016! Oct 24, 2022 at 13:46

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