December 2012 and December 2015]
You CAN restrict iMessage
Contrary to popular belief and contrary to my earlier version of this article, you CAN restrict iMessage on an iPod touch or iPad. I did not find this documented on the Apple web site, or anywhere else on the internet. I discovered this by accident after updating to iOS 6.
Setting parental controls for iMessage is a 2-step process:
- Disable iMessage (Turn it off).
- Lock the ability to change account settings. This is done under Restrictions settings. By doing this, your child cannot turn iMessage back on. Only those with the Restrictions password (mom or dad) can do so.
Note that you will need iOS version 6 and possibly the updated iOS 6.0.1 or over for this to work on your child’s iPod touch or iPad. You can check what version you have by going to Settings – General – About.
I’m updating this article (December 2015) having confirmed this still works. These screenshots are from an iPad mini with iOS9, but should also work on iPods. So, this method should work with iPods or iPads running iOS 6, 7, 8, or 9.
Turn Off iMessage
1. Go to Settings – Messages.
2. Turn iMessage off.
Lock Ability to Change Account Settings in Restrictions
1. Go back to Settings > General and select Restrictions.
If you’ve already set up restrictions, you’ll be prompted for the passcode. If not, choose Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode. Be sure to use a 4-digit passcode that you will remember and your kids will not guess.
2. Scroll down to Allow Changes: and select Accounts.
3. Select Don’t Allow Changes.
Confirm that iMessage is not allowed
Now navigate back to the Home screen. You will still see the icon for Messages. When your offspring attempts to get in to the Messages app, they’ll see a warning. It seems like they’ll be able to enter their Apple ID to get back in, but those options are actually greyed out and you can’t type into those boxes, which is hard to tell from this screenshot.
What happens if someone tries to iMessage my child?
When their iMessage is turned off, a message sent to them will not go through.
Why would I want to restrict iMessage?
This all depends on your reasons for giving your child an iDevice in the first place. If the main intent is to listen to music and play games, or if your child is very young, you may want to restrict messaging. If that’s the case you may also want to restrict installing apps, or allowing apps over a certain age rating. Keep in mind that there are other messaging and chatting apps available on the App store.
So that’s the scoop. You can disable iMessage on the iPod touch or iPad by preventing account changes.