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How to block websites on iOS

Blocking a website on a desktop, whether it’s a Windows 10 PC, a Linux PC, or a Mac, is as simple as editing a hosts file. For desktops, you can also find lots of different content blocking apps which make for great parental control tools. On mobiles, things are different and on iOS, things are far more restricted. There’s not as much freedom to make changes on an OS level however, if you’re running iOS 12 or later, you can use Screen Time to block websites on iOS.

Block websites on iOS

Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tap Screen Time. You will have to enable it in order to use the content restrictions. Once enabled, tap ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’. On the next screen, tap ‘Content Restrictions’. Tap the ‘Web Content’ preference.

On the Web Content screen select ‘Limit Adult Websites’. Once you select this option, two new options will appear where you can black list and white list websites. Under the ‘Never Allow’ section, tap ‘Add Website’.

Enter the URL to the website you want to block, and you’re good to go. All pages from the domain will now be blocked.

When you try to visit the website, regardless of which browser you use, it will not load. The loading error will tell you that the website can’t load because it’s being blocked or because it’s not allowed on the device. If you’re setting this up for a child’s iPhone or iPad, it’s a good idea to set up a Screen Time passcode.

The Screen Time passcode is independent of the device’s passcode so you can set it to whatever you want while still allowing a child to lock the phone with their own passcode.

This works really well however, we haven’t tested this out with VPNs or proxies. It is possible that a proxy is able to grant access to a restricted website. If you’d rather not take the risk with a child, consider restricting the apps they can install on their device.

The content restriction feature used to be a part of a different setting before Screen Time was introduced. If you’re running an older version of iOS, you may be able to block websites through the content restriction feature but it may not necessarily be locked via a passcode of its own. On older versions of iOS, the restrictions could be changed if the device’s passcode was entered so it would be a less effective parental control tool.

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