How to Get Your Old iPhone Kid-Ready

by ParentCo. September 12, 2017

A person listening to music using earphone connected to mobile

With the release of Apple’s new iPhone on the horizon, million of parents are faced with the dilemma of “What to I do with my old iPhone?” While some will decide to sell them or trade them in, others will hand over their precious electronic companions to their children. But first, you need to get it ready.

The service question

The first thing you need to do is decide if you are going to keep the phone on network and have cell service on the phone. Staying on network is necessary if you want to make calls. But this can be expensive, and your kids may not be ready for the responsibility of a cell phone contract and bill. Off network, the iPhone can still run most apps, texting, email, FaceTime, watch movies, or listen to music with only a wifi connection, making it an ideal starter gadget for a child who isn’t quite ready for the responsibility of having a cell phone contract. The best part is it’s free. There is no cost to sign up for free wifi at many business, schools, or homes. But if your kids are in an area with out free wifi, they will be unreachable. This includes many parks and restaurants where kids spend time.

Getting it ready

Despite whether you choose to keep your phone on cellular or go wifi only, you are going want to be sure to reset the phone. This will erase all your passwords, pictures, and apps. This would be a good time to update the phone as well if you are not running the most recent version of IOS. After the phone reboots, you will have to go through the initial set up. Be sure to give the phone a password that you know, or even add your thumb print to the Touch ID. You don’t want to snoop on your kids, but make sure you have access to the phone. Give your child their own Apple ID. You can still use the Family Sharing for things like apps and music, but you won’t have to share contact lists or bookmarks.

Family Sharing

Family Sharing is Apple’s way of not making every member of a household pay for everything. You can share your content (e.g. apps) and services (e.g. Apple Music) with up to six people in your household. Since Family Sharing links accounts though your credit card, you control what your kids download. Whenever they want an app or a song, it will notify you and ask you to confirm that it’s okay for them to purchase. Finally, if you have items in your house that are HomeKit enabled, this will allow your children or spouses to control them as well.


So far, I have been talking about everything the phone can do, but there may be a few things you don’t want your kids’ phones doing. Apple thought of that, too, which is why they added in Restrictions under the General menu in Settings. Many of the stock apps you might not want your child to have access to can be disabled or retried here. This includes apps like Face time, the camera, Air Drop, and installing or deleting apps. You can also set rating restrictions on content to be sure they don’t download anything inappropriate from iTunes. My girls are school age, so I went with PG. The first thing I did with my kids’ phones was to turn off their ability to buy anything in an app. I have heard too many horror stories of kids spending thousands of dollars trying to win some free-to-play game. I didn’t even risk it and blocked their ability to buy anything.


The last thing you need to be sure to do before you set your kids free with an iPhone is enable a few safety features. Find My Friends is my personal favorite. It gives me a good idea where my kids are and can even notify me when they leave one location for another. You should also be sure to enable Find My Phone. If your child ever loses the phone, you will be able to track it, have it make a sound, or lock it making it almost worthless to the person who finds it. After you complete the list above, it is now time for the fun part: putting your child’s favorite apps, movies, and music on the device. It will take a bit of time to download, but it will be worth it when you hand them their “new” iPhone and hopefully distract them long enough for you to be able to play with your new iPhone.



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