How do I enable restrictions on school iPad?

iPads have become a popular educational tool, allowing students to access apps, ebooks, and educational content. However, unrestricted access can also lead to distractions and inappropriate use. Schools often enable restrictions on student iPads to limit access to certain apps, features, and websites during school hours or as a general policy.

Why restrict a school iPad?

There are several reasons a school may want to restrict iPad use:

  • Prevent access to inappropriate or distracting content
  • Keep students focused during class time
  • Limit social media and gaming during school hours
  • Ensure students use the iPad for educational purposes only
  • Protect student privacy and safety online

Appropriate iPad restrictions can vary by grade level. Younger students may require more constraints than older ones who use iPads for more robust schoolwork. Restrictions also prevent students from accidentally accessing inappropriate content via the browser or apps.

How to restrict a school iPad

There are a few ways schools can enable restrictions on iPads:

Use Apple School Manager and Managed Apple IDs

Apple School Manager allows IT administrators to manage student accounts and settings. With Managed Apple IDs created through School Manager, admins can set appropriate restrictions on the iPads.

To restrict iPads through School Manager:

  1. Create Managed Apple IDs for each student within School Manager and assign them to devices.
  2. Use the restrictions settings in School Manager to limit access to apps, content, features, and settings.
  3. Push these restrictions to student iPads remotely via the MDM (Mobile Device Management) system.

Any changes made in School Manager will automatically apply to the connected student iPads. This makes it easy to configure and update restrictions for the entire fleet.

Use Mobile Device Management (MDM)

A Mobile Device Management (MDM) system lets schools remotely manage many different devices. iPad restrictions can be configured through the MDM and pushed out to all managed iPads. Some MDM options include:

  • Jamf Pro
  • ManageEngine MDM
  • Cisco Meraki Systems Manager
  • VMware Workspace ONE

The MDM allows IT admins to:

  • Set passcode requirements
  • Disable certain apps and features
  • Filter web content
  • Limit app installs
  • Prevent changes to certain settings

Restrictions can be applied device-wide or based on student profiles. The MDM gives full control over iPad restrictions without touching each device.

Manually configure restrictions on each iPad

Schools can manually enable restrictions on each iPad through the Settings app. This can be time consuming but gives precise control over each device.

To manually configure restrictions:

  1. Open the Settings app on the iPad.
  2. Select Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Choose a content rating level like Kid-Friendly.
  5. Enable/disable app features and categories as needed.
  6. For more options, tap Content Restrictions.
  7. Customize web filtering, app and Siri restrictions here.
  8. Select Allowed Apps to limit student access.

The manual process works if you only have a few iPads to configure. For larger fleets, MDM or School Manager simplify iPad restrictions.

Specific restrictions to enable

Here are some specific restrictions schools commonly enable on student iPads:

Limit App Usage

  • Only allow certain apps like those preloaded by the school.
  • Disable access to App Store purchases and downloads.
  • Prevent deleting apps.
  • Disable built-in apps like Mail, Safari, Camera, FaceTime etc.

Filter Web Content

  • Allow access only to specific websites needed for schoolwork.
  • Block all adult content.
  • Enable Safe Search filtering.
  • Prevent changes to web filter settings.

Restrict Media Content

  • Limit movies, TV, books, podcasts and music to certain ratings.
  • Disable explicit media content.
  • Prevent iTunes Store, Apple Music, and News app access.

Social Media and Communication

  • Disable Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other social media.
  • Turn off multiplayer gaming.
  • Disable Messaging app.
  • Prevent adding email or social accounts.

Privacy Settings

  • Limit ad tracking and analytics.
  • Disable location-based services.
  • Turn off Siri web suggestions and dictation.
  • Don’t allow changes to privacy settings.

Passcode and Permissions

  • Require students to use a secure passcode.
  • Prevent passcode changes or disabling.
  • Disable Touch ID and Face ID unlock.
  • Disable account modification permissions.

Other Options

  • Prevent syncing to iTunes or backing up to iCloud.
  • Disable AirDrop file sharing.
  • Turn off voice and video calls via FaceTime.
  • Limit volume and exposure to loud audio.

The right mix of iPad restrictions helps keep students focused while allowing appropriate access to apps and websites for education. Restrictions should be tailored by grade level.

Student reactions to iPad restrictions

Students may resist iPad restrictions at first since they limit access to games, social media, and other entertainment. Common student reactions include:

  • Complaining they can’t play games or use certain apps
  • Trying to bypass the restrictions
  • Forgetting passcodes and needing them reset
  • Being annoyed they can’t freely browse the web or use social media
  • Wanting to erase and reinstall iOS to remove restrictions

However, communicating expectations clearly helps students understand why iPad restrictions are necessary. Highlighting educational use cases shows them how the iPad can still support learning. Over time, most students accept restricted iPads as part of the school learning environment.

Working with teachers on iPad restrictions

Collaborating with teachers ensures iPad restrictions meet educational needs without being overly limiting. Effective partnerships involve:

  • Reviewing teacher requests for essential apps and websites.
  • Preloading teacher-approved apps and content.
  • Discussing restriction concerns with teachers.
  • Soliciting testing feedback before deploying restrictions.
  • Encouraging teachers to report issues accessing needed resources.
  • Providing teachers resources on managing restricted iPads.

Ongoing communication with teachers results in the right balance of restrictions for the curriculum while preventing distraction and inappropriate iPad use.

Troubleshooting common iOS restriction issues

Despite best efforts applying restrictions, problems inevitably arise. Common issues and solutions include:

Issue Solution
Restrictions not syncing to devices Confirm MDM or School Manager is properly enrolled and device is connected
Student disabled restrictions Lock settings in MDM/School Manager so students can’t change them
Web filter blocks educational sites Whitelist appropriate websites in MDM web filter settings
Student lost passcode Use MDM to push passcode reset over-the-air
Allowed apps list blocks required apps Update allowed apps list in restriction profiles
Restrictions fell out of date for curriculum Schedule biannual restriction reviews with teachers
Bug affecting device restrictions Test OS update to resolve software bugs

Immediately fixing issues ensures iPad restrictions don’t disrupt learning. Restrictions should enhance the educational experience, not interfere with it.


Restricting school iPads balances access to valuable learning content with protections and limitations that keep students focused. MDM and Apple School Manager streamline restriction management for IT. Teachers should provide input to tailor restrictions to the curriculum and learning needs. With proper iPad restrictions in place, schools provide students the right tools to safely navigate the digital world.

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