How to Block Downloading Apps on iPhones New & Old

There are several reasons why you might want to stop some apps from accessing your iPhone. If you’re a parent, you will certainly want to limit what your child can view from their own phone. Thankfully, iOS has features that allow you to stop certain app downloads.

How to Block Downloading Apps on iPhones New & Old

This article will show you how to properly set up restrictions on your iPhone to block downloading and using apps.

How to Block the Downloading of Certain Apps on an iPhone

All Apps from the App Store will have a specific content rating. In particular, they will usually have an age rating that you can use to make sure they never get on your or your child’s iPhone.

To enable these restrictions, you will need to use the Screen Time feature of your iPhone (available in iOS 12 and newer).

To set up Screen Time, follow these steps:

  1. Tap on Settings.
  2. Go to Screen Time.
  3. Tap Continue.
  4. You can choose between the following two options:
    This is my [Device] or This is my child’s [Device]
  5. Once you choose the appropriate category, follow the prompts.
  6. When asked to make a password, choose a four-digit password, preferably different from the one used to unlock your iPhone.
  7. In iOS 13.4 or later, you’ll be asked to provide your Apple ID and password for verification and password recovery.
  8. Once you’ve made a password, you can access Screen Time.

With Screen Time set up, you can make sure apps and media with explicit content can’t be downloaded on the iPhone. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings, then go to Screen Time.
  2. Input your Screen Time password.
  3. Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Go to Content Restrictions.
  5. Make sure you put your country in the Ratings For section.
  6. Choose a category you want to limit, then select the appropriate setting.

If you have an older version of iOS:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Go to Restrictions.
  4. Select Enable Restrictions.
  5. Set up or type in the password for your iPhone.
  6. Select the category you want to limit.

You can use Content Restrictions to prevent explicit or mature content on the following media:

  • Music, Podcasts, and News
  • Music Videos
  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Books
  • Apps

If you choose the Apps section, you can limit them by their age rating. For example, you can prevent your iPhone from downloading any apps that are rated 14+ or 17+.

How to Block the Downloading of All Apps on an iPhone

If you want to prevent downloading and installing any new app to your iPhone, you can set that up in Screen Time as well.

  1. Open Settings and go to Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Input your Screen Time password.
  4. Tap iTunes and App Store Purchases.
  5. Choose Installing Apps and set it to Don’t Allow.

This setting will prevent your iPhone from downloading and installing any new apps.

You can also disable deleting apps in a similar manner. On the same menu, choose not to allow deleting apps.

Plus, you can prevent in-app purchases for any downloaded apps. This is great if you want to control your spending.

Block Pre-Installed Apps on an iPhone

If you want to stop a pre-installed app, you can do this from Screen Time as well:

  1. Go to Screen Time.
  2. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. Type in the password if prompted.
  3. Tap Allowed Apps.
  4. Select the apps you want to allow or disallow on your phone.

If you’re using an older version of iOS, these settings can be found under your General Settings Restrictions menu.

What to Do If I Forgot My Screen Time Password?

If you forgot your Screen Time password, follow these steps:

  1. Update your iPhone to iOS 13.4 or later.
  2. Go to Screen Time.
  3. Select Change Screen Time Passcode, then tap it again.
  4. Select Forgot Passcode?
  5. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  6. Enter your new Screen Time passcode.

If your iPhone won’t update to 13.4 or later, reset it. Note that restoring your iPhone to factory settings will remove your Screen Time password.

Can You Block Yourself from Being Able to Download an App Permanently?

Unfortunately, while you can select a number of apps to block from your iPhone, there are no options to block a specific app altogether. If you know the app’s content rating, you can block all apps with that rating and prevent them from getting on your iPhone, but you will lose access to many other apps in the process.

The closest you can get to blocking a specific app is to set its Screen Time limit to one minute. This means that you can use this app for one minute each day. While not a perfect solution, many apps are almost unusable in such a short time span, so you should consider this option.

To set up application timing on Screen Time, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Screen Time.
  2. Select App Limits.
  3. Select the app you want to limit.
  4. Choose the lowest possible time limit, one minute.

Setting Up Your Child’s iPhone

If you want to limit your child’s iPhone use, you can use the in-built Family Sharing option on your iOS or macOS devices.

To set up your family, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Go to your name.
  3. Tap Family Sharing.
  4. Select Set Up Your Family.
  5. Follow the instructions to invite your family members to your family.

Once you’ve set up your family, you can use your Screen Time to limit apps on your child’s iPhone.

Unfortunately, you can only use similar options to your own iPhone, and that means you can’t selectively block certain apps but allow others with the same content rating.

If you want to go a step further, you can use a family management app called FamiSafe. It will allow you to monitor your child’s iPhone and block any apps you deem dangerous.

App Nap Time

If you follow the instructions in this article, you can limit your or your child’s use of unwanted or dangerous apps on iPhones. Unfortunately, you can’t block a specific app without resorting to third-party software. Even then, it can be a difficult task to accomplish. While iPhones have many security measures in place, they can’t do everything we want them to.

What Apps have you blocked on your iPhone? Do you know any additional methods not covered in this article? Let us know in the comments section below.

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