Updated on: February 19, 2024
Short on time? Here’s the best parental control app for iOS in 2024:
- 🥇 Qustodio: Can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps, has high-end web filtering that not even top VPNs can bypass, and comes with time limits, scheduling, detailed activity reports, and a YouTube monitoring feature. Can also monitor calls, text messages, and iMessages, and has accurate real-time location tracking and uninstall protection. Offers the best free plan out there, affordable paid plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I tested the most popular parental control apps to find the best ones for iOS in 2024. Unfortunately, I found that many parental control apps either lack essential features like web and app filtering, location tracking, and activity reports, or don’t work very well (for example, I tested apps where kids could easily bypass web filtering using a VPN or circumvent app filtering through iMessages).
But all the parental apps mentioned in this article are good for iOS users. They provide access to industry-standard features that let you monitor and restrict your child’s device and web usage on iOS, work better than Apple’s built-in parental controls, and are also very easy to use.
My favorite is Qustodio as it has the best iOS app filtering in the industry, plus it comes with tons of convenient features like real-time location tracking, geo-fencing, and uninstall protection.
Quick summary of the best parental control apps for iOS:
- 1. 🥇Qustodio — Best parental control app for iOS in 2024. Blocks 9,000+ iOS apps and monitors YouTube.
- 2. 🥈Norton Family — Monitors unlimited iOS devices and uses VPN technology for effective web filtering.
- 3. 🥉Bark — Non-intrusive web and social media monitoring & sends alerts on concerning content.
- 4. FamiSafe — Good for monitoring your teen’s driving habits and tracking their location.
- 5. Mobicip — Detailed scheduling feature for iOS and strong web filtering capabilities.
- Bonus. Net Nanny — Easily create custom web filters, including for keywords on iOS devices.
- Comparison of the Best Parental Control Apps for iOS in 2024.
🥇 1. Qustodio — Best Parental Control App for iOS in 2024
Qustodio is the best iOS parental control app on the market — it comes with industry-leading app filtering, excellent website filtering, and tons of other monitoring features that help you provide your kids with a safe and healthy digital experience.
On iOS, Qustodio provides access to the following features:
- App filtering. Qustodio can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps, including apps that are popular with teens and kids, like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. In addition, it also lets you set time limits for iOS apps. I especially like that Qustodio only starts displaying iOS apps as your kids start using them. This way, you see exactly which apps your kids use the most — you don’t need to go through a long list of apps to find them like you do with most parental apps.
- Web filtering. Qustodio uses VPN technology to block access to inappropriate websites. You can manually block or whitelist sites, or use Qustodio’s 25+ predefined site categories to save time. Qustodio’s web filtering works only on supported browsers (Safari and Chrome for iOS), but there’s an option to block unsupported browsers so your kid can’t bypass your restrictions. Also, I really like that top VPNs can’t bypass Qustodio’s web filtering.
- Time limits. Qustodio allows you to set daily screen time limits in increments of 15 minutes. When the time is up, you can either lock navigation, which blocks internet access on your child’s iOS device or lock the device, which hides any iOS app that is rated age 4+ by the app store.
- Scheduling. This feature allows you to set screen time limits for specific periods in hour-long chunks. This is helpful if you want to make sure your kids aren’t distracted by their iOS devices during school hours or a family dinner.
- YouTube monitoring. Qustodio has a dedicated YouTube monitoring feature, which lets you see what your kids search for and what videos they watch on YouTube’s site.
- Activity reports. Provides access to detailed daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly reports that show you which apps your kids used, how long they used said apps, which restricted sites they tried to connect to, and more.
What’s more, Qustodio’s iOS app also comes with Family Locator, which provides excellent real-time location tracking. Family Locator also includes a geo-fencing option, which lets you create zones up to 650 feet or 200 meters from a location and receive alerts when your kids enter or leave them.
In addition, Qustodio provides access to Calls & SMS, a feature that allows you to monitor your child’s calls, text messages, and iMessages (but you’ll need a Mac to do it from). This feature is very invasive, so I only recommend using it if you strongly think it’s necessary — like if you’re worried that your child is being bullied over calls or text messages.
I also really like that Qustodio’s iOS app for kids comes with uninstall protection — that means your kids need the parental login to uninstall the app.
Qustodio has the best free plan out there — it provides access to web filtering, time limits, and scheduling. That said, the free plan only allows you to monitor 1 iOS device, and it limits you to daily and weekly activity reports.
You need to upgrade to one of Qustodio’s paid plans to monitor 5 or unlimited iOS devices and get access to all of the features, which start at $54.95 / year. The prices are a bit steep, but they’re worth it since Qustodio is the best parental control app in 2024 — plus, it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Qustodio is the best parental control app for iOS devices in 2024 — it can detect and block 9,000+ iOS apps, has excellent web filtering (not even top VPNs can bypass it), and provides easy-to-use time limits and scheduling features. It also comes with detailed activity reports, a YouTube monitoring feature, a Calls and SMS monitoring feature, very accurate real-time location tracking, and uninstall protection. Qustodio has the best free plan on the market, affordable paid plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥈 2. Norton Family — Great iOS Parental Control App for Large Families
Norton Family allows you to monitor an unlimited number of iOS devices, so it’s a good pick if you have a big family, and all your kids have iPhones and iPads. Plus, its time limits and scheduling features work well and are very easy to use — I especially like how Norton Family has predefined time limits by age, which is convenient and saves time in setting up.
Norton Family’s app filtering on iOS works really well, as it can block distracting apps like YouTube, Telegram, Snapchat, and Reddit. That said, it’s a shame that Norton Family doesn’t allow you to set time limits on specific apps (like Qustodio does), as that would provide more flexibility.
Norton Family also comes with really good web filtering, as it uses VPN technology to block inappropriate sites on iOS. It lets you block specific sites, but you can also choose from 45+ predefined site categories. Plus, I tested Norton Family’s web filtering using ExpressVPN (which is the best VPN out there), and the VPN wasn’t able to bypass it. However, unlike Qustodio, Norton Family’s web filtering doesn’t have an option to block unsupported browsers to stop your kids from using them to bypass web filtering, so you need to manually block them, which is a little inconvenient.
I also like the School Time feature — it’s a combination of Norton Family’s web filtering and time limits tool. This feature allows you to restrict your child’s web usage during school hours.
Norton Family also has an accurate real-time location tracking and geo-fencing feature that allows you to create geo-fenced zones up to 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers from a certain location. And if you find that kind of location tracking too invasive, Norton Family provides you with an alternative — a check-in option that allows you to ask your kids to share their current location with you over email.
In addition, Norton Family provides access to a feature that tracks your kids’ searches on YouTube’s site and popular search engines like Google and Bing. And there’s also a feature that tracks which videos your kids watch on YouTube’s site. That said, if you’re only interested in tracking your child’s YouTube usage, I recommend Qustodio’s YouTube Monitoring feature instead because it’s a dedicated feature that tracks both YouTube searches and videos in one place, so it’s more convenient to use.
Norton Family has parental and kids apps for iOS, which are both very easy to use. Also, the kids apps come with uninstall protection.
You can get Norton Family as an affordable standalone subscription, which is priced at $49.99 / year. Norton Family is also bundled with Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year*) and Norton 360 Advanced ($54.99 / year*), which provide access to Norton 360, the best antivirus in 2024. Norton backs all purchases with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Norton Family is ideal for large families, as it allows you to monitor an unlimited number of iOS devices. It also provides really good time limits, scheduling, app filtering, and web filtering. In addition, it has a School Time feature, accurate location tracking, YouTube search and video tracking, and uninstall protection. Norton Family is available as a standalone purchase or bundled with the Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Advanced subscriptions. It also has a 60-day money-back guarantee.
🥉 3. Bark — Good Web & Social Media App Monitoring on iOS
Bark provides pretty good web monitoring and can monitor 15+ iOS apps, including Spotify, Tumblr, Instagram, Kik, YouTube, WhatsApp, and more. On iOS, Bark can also monitor photos, voice memos, text messages, sent and received emails, social media posts, message attachments, comments and replies, links, and much more.
Bark’s web filtering is pretty good, too. It always blocked inappropriate sites in my tests, even when I tried using a VPN.
With Bark, you also get real-time location tracking on iOS. This is an excellent safety feature that always informs you where your kids are — and with pretty good accuracy, too! This is a feature that both Qustodio and Norton Family provide, so it’s great to see Bark now includes it as well.
But keep in mind, Bark won’t show you everything your child does online — instead, it will scan their online activities and alert you if it detects anything problematic. This is why I think Bark is mostly suitable for parents who have a trust-based relationship with their teenage kids.
Unfortunately, Bark lacks time limits — this is something all other competitors on this list offer, but it does provide access to a scheduling feature that’s very easy to use.
Bark’s iOS kids app doesn’t come with uninstall protection — you instead have to use Apple’s built-in Screen Time parental control to prevent kids from uninstalling the kids app. I don’t think that’s a good workaround, as it’s pretty easy for kids to bypass Screen Time’s restrictions.
Bark allows you to monitor unlimited iOS devices, and it has 2 tier-based subscriptions — Bark Jr. ($49.00 / year) comes with screen time management, web filtering, and location tracking, and Bark Premium ($14.00 / month) adds access to all features. Unlike the other iOS parental control apps on this list, Bark doesn’t have a money-back guarantee, but it has a 7-day free trial.
Bark provides good web and social media app monitoring on iOS, as it can monitor text messages, images, chats, emails, and more. But it doesn’t show everything your child does online — it only alerts you if it detects something concerning. It also has good web filtering, a user-friendly scheduling feature, and accurate location tracking. Bark can monitor an unlimited number of iOS devices, and it has 2 affordable tier-based subscriptions (but it doesn’t back them with a money-back guarantee).
4. FamiSafe — Good for Tracking Teen Driving Habits on iOS
FamiSafe has a feature called Drive Safety, which provides you with detailed reports about your kids’ driving habits. It includes information such as the driving time, the highest speed, the average speed, the total distance driven, and it works really well!
FamiSafe also has really good real-time location tracking and a geo-fencing feature, but it’s a shame that its activity reports are not very detailed. Also, unlike Qustodio and Norton Family, FamiSafe’s iOS kids app lacks uninstall protection.
FamiSafe has decent web filtering, but it only comes with 10+ predefined website categories (Qustodio has 25+ site categories and Norton Family has 45+ categories), so you’ll need to manually block more sites with this parental control app — in fact, in my tests, FamiSafe’s predefined categories failed to include a few inappropriate websites, like 4chan and erowid.
I also like FamiSafe’s app filtering, as it blocks almost any iOS app, and it’s very flexible — you can block an app, set time limits for it, or schedule specific times when your kids can use the app. For example, you could reward your kids with 2 hours of YouTube or Netflix for finishing their homework on time, which is more convenient than whitelisting the apps and having to remember to blacklist them when the 2 hours are up.
FamiSafe’s paid plans are very affordable (they start at $9.99 / month) and can monitor 5–10 devices. There’s also a free plan that lets you use all features, but it limits you to just 1 iOS device. FamiSafe has a 7-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.
FamiSafe provides detailed information about your kid’s driving habits, helping you ensure they stay safe on the road. It also comes with really flexible app filtering, decent web filtering, and very good location tracking. FamiSafe has affordable paid plans and a 7-day money-back guarantee.
5. Mobicip — Detailed Scheduling Feature for iOS
One of the key advantages of Mobicip is its detailed scheduling feature for iOS devices. Compared to other parental control apps, Mobicip gives you much more granular control over when to apply web filters and for how long. You can set an unlimited number of custom app and web filters in 5-minute increments based on the time of day and the day of the week. These settings also override any general content filters you set, and you can also use Vacation Mode to override the regular schedule when you want to give your kids more flexibility in using their iOS devices.
Mobicip also gives you the ability to set your child’s total screen time per day with the Daily Free Time Limit feature. You can set the Daily Free Time Limit in 15-minute increments for each day. The app considers any time that’s not scheduled as “free time,” and your child’s device usage during this time is deducted from their total time limit. When the daily limit is close to being used up, you and your child will get a notification, and you have the option to extend their iOS device time if you choose.
I’m impressed with the web filtering capabilities. It gives you the ability to set blocks on 15+ predefined categories of web content, including Mature and Adult, although Norton Family has more predefined categories at 45+. Mobicip also uses built-in AI to scan websites in real time for inappropriate content. In my testing, Mobicip consistently blocked websites not meant for kids, even when I used incognito mode in my browser.
Mobicip also provides strong location tracking, geo-fencing, and social media monitoring features. However, it’s worth noting that Snapchat monitoring doesn’t work on iOS devices.
In terms of pricing, Mobicip offers 3 subscription tiers starting at $2.99 / month. The 2 cheaper tiers share the same features; they differ only in the number of devices you can monitor, ranging from 5 to 10. The top plan adds social media monitoring and time limits on specific categories. You can test Mobicip’s premium features with a 7-day free trial, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Mobicip’s strengths lie in its granular scheduling features and its strong web filtering capabilities on iOS devices. It also has accurate location tracking, geo-fencing, and social media monitoring features. Mobicip offers affordable plans, although its top plan is a bit on the expensive side. The 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee will give you a chance to try Mobicip risk-free.
Bonus. Net Nanny — Good Web Filtering on iOS Devices
Net Nanny provides great web filtering on iOS. I really like that Net Nanny uses VPN tech to block inappropriate sites, and I think it’s great that it can mask profanity on websites (it replaces obscene words with “######”).
Net Nanny’s web filtering works well, but it only comes with 10+ predefined site categories, which is much less than Qustodio’s 25+ categories. On the plus side, Net Nanny allows you to easily create custom site categories by adding a list of keywords you want it to detect.
It also provides good app filtering on iOS, as it can detect and block 120+ iOS apps — that said, I think Norton Family provides better app filtering, as it can block almost any iOS app.
You also get daily time limits, scheduling, and good real-time location tracking, which displays location updates every 2–3 minutes.
Net Nanny also has a YouTube monitoring feature, which details what your kids looked up, what they watched, how long they watched a video, and more.
It comes with beginner-friendly apps for parents and kids on iOS, but I don’t like that its kid’s app doesn’t have uninstall protection.
Net Nanny has 3 paid subscriptions that provide access to the same features but monitor a different number of devices. To monitor an iOS device, you need to pick one of 2 Family Protection Pass subscriptions — one that covers 5 devices ($54.99 / year) or one that covers 20 devices ($89.99 / year). Net Nanny comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee, but you’ll have to provide a reason for the refund request.
Net Nanny provides very good web filtering on iOS and can also censor obscene words. It has good app filtering (it detects and blocks 120+ iOS apps), easy-to-use time limits and scheduling features, accurate location tracking, and a YouTube monitoring feature. Net Nanny has 3 paid subscriptions, but only 2 of them cover iOS devices. Net Nanny’s plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Free Parental Control Apps for iOS in 2024
|Parental Control App
|Number of Devices
|$54.95 / year
(blocks 9,000+ iOS apps)
|5 or Unlimited
|2.🥈 Norton Family
|$49.99 / year
|$5.00 / month
(just online apps)
(Only 7-day free trial)
|$9.99 / month
|$2.99 / month
|Bonus. Net Nanny
|$39.99 / year
(blocks 120+ iOS apps)
How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for iOS in 2024
- Pick a parental control app that tracks iOS devices. It’s important that the parental control app can monitor apps on your kid’s iOS device. If not, you won’t be able to effectively oversee or restrict your child’s device and online activities.
- Check for essential parental control features. All the parental apps on my list provide access to industry-standard parental control features like app filtering, web filtering, time limits, scheduling, and/or location tracking.
- Test for strong performance. Your parental control app should be effective and bug-free, ensuring kids can’t bypass filters by using a VPN or accessing blocked apps via iMessages or by changing the time zone on their iPhone or iPad. Your parental control app shouldn’t slow devices or drain batteries either.
- Look for beginner-friendly apps. The service must provide apps that parents can easily navigate, so they can quickly familiarize themselves with the features and set them up. If there’s a kids’ version of the app available, it should be equally intuitive, enabling them to use it as well.
- Get a parental control app that offers a good value. Some of the parental apps on my list provide access to additional features — for example, Qustodio has a feature that monitors calls and text messages, and Norton Family has a feature for restricting web usage during school hours. What’s more, all my top picks come with free plans or free trials, affordable pricing, and most even have money-back guarantees.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Apple’s Screen Time. This parental control app is built into iOS devices, so it’s free to use. It comes with web filtering, app filtering, and time limits, and it also lets you monitor device usage, restrict downloads, and require purchase approval. Unfortunately, it’s really simple for children to bypass this parental app — for example, they can circumvent app filtering by using iMessages or changing their device’s time zone.
- Kaspersky Safe Kids. This is a strong parental control app for Android devices, but it lacks too many features on iOS to recommend for monitoring iOS devices. Kaspersky Safe Kids doesn’t have web filtering that works with iOS, its app filtering is very limited, parents can’t lock iOS devices when time limits are up, and its reports don’t give parents iOS app usage statistics.
- WTracker Online Status. This is an iOS parental control app that provides you with real-time online and offline alerts if your kids access something inappropriate on the web. However, the app won’t block adult content, and it also can’t block apps, monitor your kids’ location, or set daily time limits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best parental control app for iOS?
Qustodio is the best parental control app for monitoring iOS devices in 2024 — it detects and blocks 9,000+ iOS apps, has excellent web filtering (not even top VPNs can bypass it), provides accurate location tracking, in-depth activity reports, and easy-to-use scheduling and time limits, and even has YouTube monitoring and a feature that monitors calls and text messages.
Can I use a free parental control app for iOS?
I don’t really recommend using free parental control apps because they’re risky to use (since you provide them with tons of permissions to access personal data) or they lack essential parental control features. Even so, if you insist on using a free parental app, I’d go with Qustodio’s free plan, as it’s the best free parental control app on the market — it comes with web filtering, time limits, scheduling, and daily and weekly activity reports, but it only lets you monitor 1 iOS device.
All in all, I really only recommend using a free parental control app to test the service to see if it meets your needs — you ultimately get much better value by getting a premium paid parental control app, like one of Qustodio’s paid plans.
Can’t I just use Apple’s built-in parental controls?
Apple has a free built-in parental control app called Screen Time, but I don’t recommend using it — it comes with web and app filtering and time limits, and it even lets you restrict downloads or require purchase approval, but it’s very easy for kids to bypass Screen Time’s restrictions (for example, they can change the device’s time zone or use iMessages to access restricted apps).
Honestly, you get better value by getting a premium third-party parental control app like Qustodio instead — it detects and blocks 9,000+ iOS apps (and there’s no way for kids to circumvent that), its web filtering can’t be bypassed by top VPNs, it comes with excellent time limits, scheduling, and location tracking, and it can even monitor your child’s YouTube usage and their calls and text messages.
Can I monitor my child’s calls and text messages on iOS?
Yes, you can if you use Qustodio. It has a feature that allows parents to monitor their kids’ phone calls and text messages. To use that feature, you need to perform a manual setup, but Qustodio provides a helpful tutorial, so the whole setup process won’t take more than 5–6 minutes.
Just keep in mind that this feature is very invasive, so I only recommend using it if you’re worried that your child is being bullied through phone calls or text messages. Otherwise, using such a feature could damage your relationship with your child instead of improving it.