Here’s a tip for parents who are worried about kids using up all their data. You can restrict certain apps so they’ll only function when using a WiFi connection. This method is also useful if you use a parental control solution at home that only works when using your WiFi – make sure the kiddos can’t bypass by switching to 3G on their phones. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of this before! Maybe others have and you already know – but if not here’s how you do it.
There are 2 steps –
- First, prevent apps from using Cellular.
- Then, use Restriction settings to prevent changes to the setting.
Here’s a video that walks you through it. Or read through the instructions below.
Prevent apps from using Cellular Data
From Settings, choose Cellular.
Scroll down to the list of apps under “Use Cellular Data For”. For any app that you’d like to prevent from using data, toggle the switch off (from green to grey).
Here, I’ve turned of cellular data use for Acappela, Analytics, App Store and ASK.fm, so they will only send and receive data when on WiFi.
Now, if you just stop here, it would be pretty easy for the kiddos to go into this Setting and switch it back! That’s where Restrictions settings come in.
Prevent changes to Cellular settings for apps
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 Cellular Data Use.
3. Tap “Don’t Allow Changes”
Now you can test this out. Go back to Settings and Turn off WiFi so that you are using a 3G/4G/LTE connection Now open an app that you just restricted from using Cellular data, for example Instagram. You may see “No Internet Connection” at the top. You might see some cached information, meaning images that were already displayed the last time Instagram was opened before this change; but you shouldn’t see any new information within the app.
While this method doesn’t block apps completely, it will block them from being very useful as most apps rely on the connection to download new content. And many of the most popular apps with tweens and teens, such as Instagram, Snapchast and musical.ly, use up a lot of data when loading images and videos. Give this method a try and let me know how it goes!