How to set up and use Parental Controls on a Mac


Parental controls are a set of filters on your computer, which can help prevent children from the things they shouldn’t see or do online.

You'll need to add a 'managed' account on the Mac for each user you want to apply Parental Controls to. We've written a guide to help you if you're not sure how.

You'll also need to know which operating system version your Mac uses. If you're not sure, click the apple on the left of the menu bar, then click About This Mac - the pop-up window will show the name and version number.

For Macs running 10.12 or 10.11 (macOS Sierra & OS X El Capitan)


Follow these steps to open the Parental Controls settings:


Click the Apple Logo on the left-hand end of the Menu bar.


Click System Preferences > Parental Controls.


Click the padlock in the lower left corner.


Type in your admin password to allow changes to be made.


Choose a user account on the left.


Click Enable Parental Controls.

Now you've enabled Parental Controls, it's time to check and adjust each area of the settings.



The first section limits access to certain apps and functions:

  • Allow use of camera - Prevents use of the built-in webcam and cameras on connected displays.
  • Allow joining Game Center multiplayer games - Prevents a user from playing multiplayer games with other people.
  • Limit mail to allowed contacts - Only allows emails to be exchanged with specific contacts. Use the Manage... button to select which contacts are allowed.
  • Limit Applications on this Mac - Specify what applications can be used by the account.


This section controls website access:

  • Allow unrestricted access to website - Allows access to any website.
  • Try to limit access to adult websites - Filters websites based on the site's self-rating and self-regulation. Click Customize... to manually add sites to the list..
  • Allow access to only these websites - Gives access to the sites listed in the box shown. Apple pre-loads this with some child-friendly websites. Use the and - buttons to add or remove sites.


These options control access to Apple's Stores:

  • Disable - Lets you turn off the iTunes Store and iBooks Store
  • Restrict - Filter explicit music and books, and set movie, TV show and app age rating restrictions.


Choose when the computer can be used

  • Weekday time limits - Set how long the Mac can be used on a weekday.
  • Weekend time limits - Set how long the Mac can be used at the weekend.
  • Bedtime - Set start and finish times when the computer can't be used.


Control which information apps can use. Untick an option to lock it and prevent new apps from using the data.

  • Location Services
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Diagnostics


This last section covers some more general access settings to restrict hardware and some software features. Use the tick boxes to lock any of the settings.

  • Turn off Siri & Dictation
  • Disable editing of printers and scanners
  • Block CD and DVD burning in the Finder
  • Restrict explicit language in Dictionary
  • Prevent the Dock from being modified
  • Use Simple Finder

For Macs running 10.10 to 10.7 (OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion)


In older versions of Apple's operating system, OS X, you'll need to follow a different set of steps to open the settings:


Click the Apple Logo in the top left corner.


Click System Preferences > Users & Groups.


Click the padlock in the lower left corner, and type your password when asked.


Choose a user account to configure, then tick the Enable Parental Controls box beside it.


Click Open Parental Controls then type your password when asked.

With the settings open, you'll see that they're laid out like the options shown above, but there are less of them. Use the details above to help you get the controls set up correctly.

That should help you set up Parental Controls on your Mac, but if you'd like to speak to a Teak Knowhow Expert, you can get in touch with us here.

Need some more help?


Expert Support

If you've got an issue with any of your kit, our experts are on-call to help 24/7 - in-store, at home, or over the phone.

More info

Expert Repair

When your kit's fully broken, you need it fixed fast. Our accredited experts will get you back up and running in no time.

More info