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How To Set Up Parental Controls on Mac

mac parental controls

Computers are one of the first technological innovations, and over the years there have been several promising enhancements and upgrades. From bulky hardware to compact designs; from limited memory space to almost limitless internal plus cloud storage; from a tolerable processing speed to lightning-fast operating systems. Overall, personal computers like Mac have become more than just mere accessories or luxuries.

Like smartphones, computers are susceptible to cyber threats and virtual attacks. In fact, computers are more vulnerable to malicious software especially since they’re often utilized to manage or customize other gadgets. This is one of the main reasons why Apple has always gone the extra mile to ensure the safety and security of their devices and users. Note, however, as it should be on other devices or digital platforms, you must consciously make efforts and do your part in ensuring the said safety and security. One of the basic precautionary steps to take is the utilization of Mac parental controls.

What Is A Mac?

Macintosh, or more popularly known as Mac, is one of the initial products of Apple, Inc. In fact, it’s considered to be the first all-in-one desktop that has been mass-produced, featuring a built-in screen, full accessories, and an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI). 

The original Macintosh 128K was first launched in 1984 and has been marketed alongside Apple’s families of computers namely Apple Lisa, Apple II, Apple IIGS, and Apple III. One of the struggles that Apple had to work on at that time was Mac’s retail price. Since it was way more expensive than their “then” competitors like Commodore 64 and IBM Personal Computer, it wasn’t quick and easy for Mac to penetrate the market. Nevertheless, due to its advanced functionalities and promising features, it succeeded in establishing its own name in the niche and is now the exquisite computer that we know of today.

Since its initial launch, the Macintosh family of computers have used variations of central processing units (CPUs) – from Motorola 68000 microprocessor series to PowerPC processors to Intel x86 processors to Apple’s own silicon. The latest OS version – macOS Monterey – is promising a myriad of modern solutions and advanced features. In fact, Intel-based Macs are now even capable of running native third-party operating systems. These enhancements gave birth to the new versions of Macintosh computers, including iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.

Types of Mac Computers

Choosing a Mac device isn’t a straightforward process. You’ll have to choose which model, what color, which OS processor, what screen size, and more. To make it easier for you, here are the available products as part of the Macintosh family of computers.

Mac mini

Mac mini is a standalone but fully functional desktop computer. As to how Apple puts it, this is a BYODKM (Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse) device.

  • Mac mini (M1, 2020) 
  • Mac mini (2018)
  • Mac mini (Late 2014)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2011)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010)
  • Mac mini (Late 2009)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009)


iMac is an all-in-one fully functional monitor-like computer. With this, you get to save much space and you’ll surely love its sleek design. Plus, accessories like mouse and keyboard are optional as it features a touch screen functionality.

  • iMac 21.5-inch
  • iMac 21.5-inch (4K Retina)
  • iMac 24-inch (M1, Two ports, 2021)
  • iMac 24-inch (M1, Four ports, 2021) 
  • iMac 27-inch (5K Retina)
  • iMac Pro


MacBook is a notebook computer meant for portability, convenience, and comfort. This compact computer replaced Apple’s PowerBook and iBook brands during the Intel processor transition.

  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Pro 16-inch

Mac Parental Controls

It’s a well-known fact that Apple is big on safety and security. In fact, most of their devices have been smartly designed, ensuring aesthetics and functionality are well-balanced. Their signature Apple parental controls, security protocols, and safety nets are also present on Mac. Here’s how to enable parental controls on Mac. 

  1. Log in to your or your family member’s Mac user account.
  2. Navigate to the Apple Menu.
  3. Click on System Preferences.
  4. Select Screen Time.
  5. In the sidebar, click Content & Privacy and turn it on. If part of a Family Sharing, choose a family member from the pop-up menu in the sidebar.
  6. Click Content then choose the relevant option/s to filter the web content on your Mac.
  7. Click Stores then choose the relevant option/s to restrict in-app purchases.
  8. Click Apps then choose the relevant option/s to control stock and third-party apps.
  9. Click Other then choose the relevant option/s to lock/unlock certain settings within the Mac.

Keeping Kids Safe While Using A Mac

While Mac, as a device, is safe and secure, it could still be a tool or means for your kids to fall victim to various online and offline threats. These risks and dangers include addiction, lower self-esteem, cyberbullying, child grooming, social engineering, and more. 

To make Mac a more kid-friendly device be sure to regularly educate them, regulate their screen time, monitor their activities, and track their online behavioral patterns. Aside from enabling Mac’s built-in parental controls as discussed above, here are some other things you could try as well.

  • Controlled Account

This means creating an account that’s accessible by your kids but is fully controlled by you. To do so, launch System Preferences > Accounts preference > click the Lock icon at the bottom > enter admin’s name and password > click OK. You may then navigate back to the Accounts list > click the plus-sign (+) button > select Managed With Parental Controls > fill in the required information fields > click Create Account.

  • Third-Party Apps

You might also want to utilize trusted and reliable third-party software that’s specifically programmed to add an extra layer of safety and security. Programs like antivirus software, tracking tools, or monitoring apps can significantly help parents/guardians in keeping their kids away from certain dangers. These enable automatic screening of threats, real-time access, and remote controls, making it easier to identify and address any issue. 

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