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Apple TV 4: Restrictions and Parental Controls

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The iTunes Store section restricts purchases only. The Allowed Content section restricts both purchases and access to downloaded apps, TV shows, movies and Apple Music. It’s best to use both if you have young children.

Be advised that even if you set movies or TV shows to a specific rating, previews are still available. I set movies to a G rating, but was still able to watch some previews that weren’t appropriate for young children. There’s no way to block or Passcode protect previews.

The Allowed Content section also enables configuring settings for Music and Podcasts. Users can choose between Explicit and Clean content. Unlike other options in the Allowed Content section, the Passcode does not apply. If you choose Clean content, you can’t listen to Explicit content by entering the Passcode. You must return to the Restrictions settings and set Music and Podcasts to Explicit. Unlike movies and TV shows, when you choose Clean content for Music and Podcasts, explicit tracks are not displayed.

Apps can also be restricted based on ratings. This doesn’t prevent the apps from being displayed in the App Store or on your home screen. It simply applies Passcode protection to any app above the rating level. For example, if you, set the level to 4+, any app with a higher maturity rating will require a Passcode to be purchased, downloaded or opened.

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The Ratings For setting customizes ratings for a specific locale. This should be preset correctly based on the location you provided during the setup process. Different nations have different rating systems. In the United States, movies are given ratings such as G, PG and R.

If you enjoy swearing at Siri but don’t want the obscenities to be displayed on screen, set Siri Explicit Language to Hide. This will censor any obscenities spoken to Siri by obscuring the text with other characters.

Parents are often worried about their children interacting with strangers online. tvOS games often feature multiplayer capabilities, pitting players against online opponents. If this is a concern, set Multiplayer Games to No.

AirPlay Settings and Location Services can be altered by anyone by default. These features can require a Passcode for changes by setting them to Restrict.

Apple TV’s Restrictions might seem a bit confusing, but if you have a family with young children, configuration is simple. Set the iTunes Store options to Restrict and Block to prevent unauthorized purchases. Set the Allowed Content fields to age-appropriate settings. You’ll be entering your Passcode a lot, but this will prevent access to explicit content, and you won’t be surprised by a huge bill from Apple. You may also want to disable multiplayer games, however, most of these don’t offer any ability to chat with strangers.

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If you turn Restrictions off, all of these settings are disabled. This means anyone can buy or watch anything.

As you can see, Apple TV 4 Restrictions are complicated, confusing and leave much to be desired. If, for example, you restrict access to HBO NOW, but your child wants to watch Sesame Street, you may enter the Passcode to allow access. Unfortunately, once inside HBO NOW, Apple’s Restrictions have no effect whatsoever. Your child could watch Fifty Shades of Gray instead of Sesame Street. Certain apps, including HBO NOW, offer their own parental controls. Let’s take a look at how to set up parental controls for HBO NOW. (continue…)

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