Friday, May 17, 2013

iOS Wish List: Restrictions/Restricted Mode

Part Two of however many.

Yesterday I talked about some basic ideas for revamping the home screen look. Today I want to look at something more in the tech.

There's been a ton of press of late about kids getting into mischief with in app purchases and just in the past few days notices about the new COPA rules have gone out reminding developers about what they can and can't collect from kids in games etc.

This and the ongoing hue and cry about multiuser in iOS got me thinking.

First I want to say that I disagree with those saying that iOS needs to have user accounts etc. These are designed, I believe, to essentially be single user devices. Yes we sometimes share them, especially between parent and child, but that's not what they were designed for. And I don't think that Apple should change that design. For the most part.

But what I do think is that they need to change up how Restrictions are handled. In a few ways.

My wishes (in no particular order):

  • The ability to restrict everything. Seriously. Not just Camera, Safari etc but every app in iOS and every app that is downloaded. 
  • APIs that are required for all applications that allow parents to allow an app or game but turn on signing into any networks, or using the camera or whatever. So if I want to let my kid play a game but don't want him to be able to sign up for the chat room/forum within the game I have that power. 
  • Disable IAP by default, set password to immediately by default, perhaps even have Restrictions on with a preset password and folks can go to some webpage, put in their serial and see what that preset is and either turn them off or change them or the passcode. 
  • Include information about Restrictions in the opening set up and repeat it the first time the App Store is opened. That way folks know they exist etc. Include the whole thing about how some Apps include IAP in both of these and not just a click in the App Store that many folks will miss. 
  • APIs, again required, that ensure that ratings are adhered to within apps. So if I download, for example, Comixology and I have 17+ restricted all those adult comics are invisible. 
  • Ability to create longer passwords than just four numbers
  • Ability to set up a parental Apple ID that can unlock Restrictions in the event that a child tries to figure out the number and screws the device up
  • Ability to put in the passcode and one time allow an action, like say an IAP (for saying buying a comic in something like Comixology)
  • Ability to sync Restriction settings via iCloud if one chooses
And with it I would like to see a new Restricted Mode. This would be an expansion of the Guided Mode that Apple introduced with iOS 6 but a bit more open. RM would be a saved setting (perhaps even allowing say up to 3 different profiles) where I could turn on a batch of Restrictions at once and simply by doing the same triple click that activates Guided Mode. 

This would allow me to more quickly move from say Open Mode when I'm using it, to Guided Mode to keep my 3 year old niece in her Dora game, to Restricted Mode for her 9 year old brother so he can play his games or his G rated movie but not my R Rated Game of Thrones episodes, get on Safari etc. 


  1. In class, even when I re-set all the iPads, the cursed 'white dot' is back and the backgrounds have all changed within seconds... :)

  2. "Ability to create longer passwords than just four numbers"

    What are you talking about? I use more than four digits as a password right now (and have since iOS 4). Change your screen lock password, bring up the keyboard like you are going to use letters in the password, use the number shift (left side on the keyboard), and enter more than 4 numbers (but ONLY numbers).

    When your lock screen comes up you will see a text entry place that does not give away the amount of numbers in your lock code. The number pad will be shown since all you used was numbers so that you can quickly do a thumb based entry (it shows a phone dial pad so you can still spell stuff). This works amazingly well, I am surprised you did not know about it.

    1. You are talking about Passcode Locks. I am not. As the title of the article clearly states, this is about Restrictions. Even if you turn off Simple Passcode to use an AlphaNumeric Lock on your Lock Screen you are still restricted to a 4 digit numeric only Restrictions Passcode.

      Next time you want to bluster and imply someone is uneducated/stupid, be sure you know what you are replying to or you could be the one that looks dumb.