Articles on: iPhone, iPad, and iPod

Protect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod with Safe Surfer

It’s easy with Safe Surfer to block harmful online content on an Apple mobile device. On your first protection installation, it will take around 20 minutes for the full installation, or 30 minutes for the entire guide.

Step 1: Install protection

The Safe Surfer app requires at least iOS/iPadOS 16. You can find this information on the device to be protected in the Settings app > General > About > Software Version (or iOS/iPadOS Version). If the device to be protected doesn't support a software upgrade, you can still use a different method of protection (for devices running iOS/iPadOS 15). This guide is designed for customers who already have a Safe Surfer account, but you can still follow along if you’re using just the iOS app by itself—simply skip the parts regarding the online dashboard.

Visit the Safe Surfer dashboard on a personal computer and log in to your account. Click the Devices menu on the left-hand sidebar, then click the “+ New Device” button.

Click “Another PC, laptop, or smartphone”.

Click “iOS”.

Click “Get the app”.

On the next section you’ll see a QR code to be scanned within the Safe Surfer app. We’ll use this later on.

On the device to be protected, tap the App Store app. If you can’t see it, swipe left until you arrive at the App Library, then search for App Store.

In the App Store app, tap the Search button on the toolbar, then tap the search bar.

Search for "safe surfer", then tap the first result.

Tap the Get button found next to the Safe Surfer app listing.

Tap the Open button once the app has finished downloading.

Tap the Allow button on the prompt that comes up.

Tap the Continue button.

Tap the "Let's do it!" button.

Enter a name for this device, then tap the Next button.

If you prepared the QR code on the Safe Surfer dashboard earlier, tap the Scan option to scan with the device’s camera (otherwise, you can either create an account or sign in with your username and password). If you tapped Scan, tap the Allow button on the prompt that comes up.

If you tapped Scan, tap the Allow button on the second prompt that comes up, then scan the QR code on your personal computer.

Back on your personal computer, once you’ve scanned the QR code, the Safe Surfer dashboard will report that the device has been added to your account.

Click the Blocking menu on the left-hand sidebar. Click the blue bubble list, then click the listing for this device.

Click the switches to either block or unblock categories—grey means not blocked, and red means blocked. Once you’re done, click the Save button at the upper-right corner. You might need to scroll to the top of the list for the Save button to appear.

Back on the device being protected, tap the Finish button.

Tap the switch found next to Enable Internet Blocking.

Tap the Allow button on the prompt that comes up.

Enter the passcode that is used to unlock the device.

Tap the icons found next to Protection Status to refresh the status.

Tap the Settings menu on the toolbar.

Tap the Set PIN menu.

Set a PIN, then tap the Continue button.

Enter the PIN again to verify it.

Tap the switch found next to Enable PIN Protection.

Great work, we’ve finished the first step of installation.

To see blocking in action, try visiting This is a safe website for testing to see if pornographic websites are being blocked. If it's not blocked, review the previous steps.

Step 2: Change Apple content restrictions settings

Go to the Home Screen, than tap the Settings app.

Tap the Screen Time menu.

Tap the Communication Safety menu.

If the switch found next to Communication Safety is off, tap it to turn it on. Once you've done this, go back to the Screen Time main menu.

Tap the Content & Privacy Restrictions menu.

Tap the switch found next to Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Tap iTunes and App Store Purchases.

Tap Deleting Apps.

Tap Don't Allow, then go back to the Content & Privacy Restrictions menu.

Due to Apple's privacy design, we can't prevent the app's protection connection (VPN) from being stopped/deleted by tech-savvy device users. If you have a Pro Surfer subscription, we will let you know through the Alerts system if the VPN has either been deleted or not been connected for a while. In general, we strongly recommend keeping devices out of bedrooms. You might like to consider having a dedicated living space where devices can be used safely. If this is an issue, you might like to consider switching to an Android device, such as Samsung, where we can provide a more rigourous experience.

Tap Content Restrictions.

Content Restrictions

We suggest using the following options:

Music, Podcasts, News, Fitness: Clean
Music Videos: Off
Music Profiles: Off
Movies: M (that is, PG-13 or the equivalent for your region) or Don't Allow
TV: M (that is, PG-13 or the equivalent for your region) or Don't Allow
Books: Clean
Apps: 12+ (Highly recommended, unless the device user absolutely requires a web browser app other than Safari, such as Google Chrome. It's safer on Apple mobile devices to only use Safari when also using parental controls.)
App Clips: Don't Allow

After scrolling down further, we suggest using the following options:

Web content: Limit Adult Websites (This is highly recommended as an extra layer of protection for Safari.)
(Siri) Web Search Content: Don’t Allow
(Siri) Explicit Language: Don’t Allow

Once you've made the changes, go back to the Screen Time main menu.

Lock Screen Time Settings

Tap the Lock Screen Time Settings option.

Set a Screen Time passcode.

Unless you would like to use an Apple ID for Screen Time Passcode Recovery, tap the Cancel option.

If you cancelled, tap the second Skip button.

Step 3: Enable Ask to Buy (optional)

If your household has mostly Apple devices, we suggest using Apple's Ask to Buy feature—this can help you prevent certain apps (such as VPNs) from being used as a protection workaround. Find out more by clicking this link.

Protection complete

Great work! This device is now protected. To start monitoring protected devices, visit our easy-to-use online dashboard.

If you have any other iPhone, iPad, or iPod devices you would like to protect, simply start again from the top of the guide. If you would like to protect a different kind of device, visit our Guides page.

Updated on: 18/03/2024

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