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Set up Parental Controls on your Mac

Limit access to apps, websites and much more with OS X’s safeguarding feature

There are plenty of things on the internet that you’ll want to safeguard your children from seeing. While many third-party apps can offer a full suite of parental control settings for you to use, which usually comes at a price, you can find the same level of functionality built into your Mac. Apple’s selection of Parental Control options can be as restrictive or as loose as you want them to be.

There are options to help prevent access to unscrupulous websites and apps, while there are also additional options to limit contact with designated stored contacts and certain mail restrictions. Use the following steps to get Parental Controls set up on your Mac in a matter of minutes.


1 System Preferences

Press the Apple icon on the toolbar of your Mac and select System Preferences. Now select the Parental Controls menu that can be found near the bottom of the window.


2 Add to account

On the next menu you’ll need to choose which account you want to add Parental Controls to. Either add them to the account you’re currently using, or create a new one.


3 Confirm restart

Before you can begin editing Parental Controls you’ll need to perform a full restart of your Mac. Make sure any open files are saved correctly before restarting.


4 Limit apps

You’ll now be presented with an overview of restricted apps. Enable the Limit Applications option and go through the list that appears to choose the apps you want.


5 Add website details

Press on the Web option and then the Add Website option provided. Here you can set the websites you want to allow or restrict access to by using the + and – icons.


6 People options

Move across to the People tab and enable the Limit Mail option that’s provided. This will prevent certain contacts from sending anything through the Mail app.


7 Enter contact details

Enter all the details of the contacts you want to be able to send messages to you via Mail and Messages. If it’s a new contact, check the Add Person box to finalise it.


8 Set Time Limits

Under the Time Limits tab you can add all the details of when you want to enable access to the Mac. Use the tools listed to set how long the Mac can be used for.


9 Check logs

After all the Parental Controls are set up, you may want to check the Logs option. This will enable you to see the apps, messages and websites that have been accessed.