Restricting iPhones

How do I restrict an iPhone?

When confronting the issue of sexual addiction, one common experience is how can the person who is struggling with sexual addiction keep a smartphone? It isn’t enough to just have Covenant Eyes on your iPhone anymore. Many apps have their own search engines that bypass the Covenant Eyes filter. I am aware of extreme searching behaviors that go to such excesses it would blow your mind (I don’t want to share and give ideas). The most surefire way to ensure you (or your kids) keep a clean smartphone is to set iPhone restrictions. Your phone experience won’t be the same as before but you need this for a period of time to establish sexual sobriety.

If you’re the person struggling with SA, the first step is to find an accountability partner because you’ll need them when you set up restrictions. When they’re physically present with you, you can set up restrictions. Accountability partner: You need to thoroughly go through their iPhone before you start the restriction process. Ensure there are no images saved they’ll access. Ensure that the apps they have installed before you set restrictions are ones that are safe. Apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and other social media aren’t safe apps while someone is trying to establish sexual sobriety. Try to keep the apps as basic as possible. Have a conversation about how much they really need questionable apps and when in doubt, consider it unsafe. Delete all questionable apps and images/videos before you start setting restrictions.

Set iPhone restrictions

First, on the iPhone that you want to enable restrictions, go to Settings and then tap on General. Tap Restrictions. Tap Enable Restrictions. The iPhone will prompt you to set up a four-digit code. Accountability partner: Set the code, write the code down and save it somewhere the person struggling with SA won’t access. I’ll say it again—write down the code. Once you set a restriction code, if you can’t recall the code, the person won’t be able to perform necessary operating system updates that Apple requires. You’ll be asked to enter the same code one more time to set it. Make sure it’s a code the phone owner won’t easily guess.

Once you’ve set iPhone restrictions, you’ll want to disable Installing Apps and Deleting Apps. The screen after you enter the restriction code is the screen where you’ll do this. Scroll down and slide the tab for Installing Apps and Deleting Apps to off (they will no longer be green). You might want to scroll down further to the Allowed Content section to set content to lower maturity levels. All this can be reset at a later date.

Once you’ve disabled Installing Apps and Deleting Apps, the phone owner can’t install questionable apps. They won’t have access to the App Store anymore. Deleting Apps is just an extra step for extra precaution. You don’t want them to be able to hide any behavior so Deleting Apps doesn’t give them the opportunity.

What if I need to turn restrictions off?

Going forward, anytime they need to update current apps or install a new Apple OS, they’ll need the accountability partner to go back to Settings/General/Restrictions and enter the four-digit code. They’ll then slide Installing Apps and Deleting Apps to on (green) and let the the phone owner perform an update or install an approved app. Then when this is done, they’ll go back to Settings/General/Restrictions and enter the four-digit code to turn Installing Apps and Deleting Apps back to off.

This workaround is also good for your kids if you’re wanting to prevent them from installing forbidden apps without you knowing. It’s not uncommon for them to delete those apps when they think you’ll check and then reinstall after you look.

The accountability partner is key to this scenario. They know the code. The person struggling with porn can easily wipe the phone back to factory reset to disable the restriction. If you’re the accountability person and find the phone no longer has a restriction code, then the phone owner performed a reset and will need to be honest with the accountability partner.

If you live in northern Colorado (Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Loveland), contact Mending Hearts Counseling if you are interested in couples or individual counseling for sexual addiction, betrayal trauma, or intimacy anorexia.

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