Apple is expanding its Screen Time software that gives parents more control of their family’s devices with a highly requested feature: the ability to manage kids’ texts, phone calls, FaceTime calls, and even contacts on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Read on for how to set it all up in iOS 13.3 and later…

Since Screen Time debuted on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in iOS 12, there hasn’t been a way to fully manage kids’ texts, phone calls, FaceTime calls, and contacts. Now Apple has delivered granular control of those areas with iOS 13.3 and parents will no doubt be pumped for the feature.

Below we’ll cover how to set up Screen Time on your kid’s device and how to set up Communication Limits, skip further below if you want to jump to the new limits.

How to manage your kid’s texts, calls, and contacts with Screen Time on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Note: Both the Family Organizer’s device and the child’s device will need to be running iOS 13.3 or later

Set up Screen Time for your child’s device:

  1. You’ll need to be using Family Sharing, read more here about setting it up and creating a kid’s account if you haven’t already
  2. With Family Sharing going and your child’s account set up as a “child’s account,” head to Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  3. Navigate to Screen Time, swipe down and look for your child’s name, tap it
  4. Choose Turn On Screen Time
  5. Follow the prompts to set up Downtime, App Limits, Content & Privacy, etc.
  6. When finished head to the next steps below to turn on management of texts, calls, and contacts

How to manage kids' texts, calls, contacts iPhone iPad iPod walkthrough 1

Set up Communication Limits for your kid:

  1. Now with your kid’s account selected in Screen Time, tap Communication Limits
  2. You can control who they can text, call, and FaceTime as well as managing their contacts
  3. Tap each section to set rules for During Allowed Screen Time and During Downtime
  4. Tap the toggle next to Manage (your kid’s) Contacts to enable granular control of them
  5. After turning on Manage Contacts, you or your kid will need to approve the request on your kid’s device

Here’s how the process looks:

How to manage kids' texts, calls, contacts iPhone iPad iPod walkthrough 2

If you want to manage your kid’s contacts, toggle it on below the allowed communication section.

How to manage kids' texts, calls, contacts iPhone iPad iPod walkthrough 4

After turning it on, you or your child will need to approve it on their device under Screen Time > Requests: Manage Contacts > tap Approve.

When that’s done, as a Family Organizer, you’ll be able to manage contacts as shown in the image above on the right.

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.