How to Set Communication Limits on iPhone & iPad with Screen Time

Jun 4, 2020 - 4 Comments

How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time

Do you want to set communication limits on your children’s iOS devices? Thanks to Screen Time, this parental control feature is now possible on the iPhone and iPad.

Screen Time is a core functionality in iOS that offers options and tools for limiting device usage, and being able to limit communication is one of the configurable options available.

If you’re interested in setting communication limits for messages and chat apps on a smartphone, whether for a child or even yourself, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing how you can set communication limits on an iPhone and iPad using the Screen Time feature.

How to Set Communication Limits on iPhone & iPad

Communication Limits is a more recent addition to Screen Time. If you want to try this feature out for yourself, make sure your iPhone and iPad is running the latest version of iOS / iPadOS, and simply follow the steps below.

  1. Open “Settings” app from the home screen of your iPhone and iPad.

    iOS settings icon

  2. Tap on “Screen Time”, which is located right above the General settings.

    How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time
  3. Here, you’ll see all the various tools that Screen Time has to offer. Simply tap on “Communication Limits”.

    How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time
  4. In this menu, you’ll notice separate settings that can be added in place for allowed screen time and downtime. By default, Communication Limits are set to “Everyone”. Tap on “During Allowed Screen Time” to get started.

    How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time

  5. Now, you can choose to only allow communication with contacts. Simply tap on “Contacts Only” to set the communication limit. If preferred, you can also turn on the toggle for group communication. This allows people to be added to group conversations as long as one of your iCloud contacts is in the group.

    How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time
  6. Likewise, you can also add Limits for Downtime. However, you can’t choose all of your contacts here. Instead, you can select specific contacts that you’d be able to communicate with during downtime. Select “Specific Contacts” and choose the iCloud contacts that would be allowed for communication.

    How to Set Communication Limits with Screen Time

That’s pretty much all you need to do to get started with Communication Limits on iPhone and iPad.

For this feature to work, iCloud sync must be enabled for the contacts that are stored on your iPhone and iPad. This is to make sure kids aren’t allowed to modify or add new contact entries once the limit is added.

With these limits in place, parents are able to have control over who their children are able to contact through Phone, FaceTime, Messages and iCloud contacts. However, this doesn’t stop your children from making calls over third-party VoIP services like Skype, Viber, etc. You’ll need to use the App Limits feature that’s available in Screen Time to have control over individual app usage like that.

That being said, communication to emergency numbers that are identified by the network carrier will always be allowed, despite all the restrictions. When an emergency call is made, communication limits will be turned off for 24 hours to make sure children aren’t blocked from communicating with people in case of a serious emergency and ensure their safety.

Screen Time’s passcode is different from the device’s passcode. So, make sure you keep changing the screen time passcode every now and then to keep it secure, particularly if you occasionally give the Screen Time passcode to a child for bypassing the restrictions. In addition to Communication Limits, Screen Time offers other tools for keeping a check on your activity such as App Limits, Content & Privacy Restrictions and more.

Did you add Communication Limits to your children’s iOS devices? What do you think of Screen Time from a parent control standpoint? Do you plan on using this functionality in the long run? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section down below.


Related articles:

Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. AMBER SMITH says:

    The intent is good, however, how do you control it where you can limit who children talk to all day? Allowing a restricted list only during downtime is only moderately helpful. Allowing a restricted call list they can call any time (like to parents, grandparents etc.) vs just downtime should be allowed.

    • fifier says:

      Add the people you want unlimited access to as Emergency Contacts (parents, grandparents, etc) and they should be able to call them anytime.

  2. Ashley says:

    iOS 13.6 is asking for a password to change screentimes and downtime but is not asking for a password to change communication limits. This allows my child to go in to the communication limit settings and select “Everyone” and not Limited Contacts and then is able to Facetime or Text anyone she wants when the phone is not supposed to be in use!!! So irritated!

  3. I love this feature and I use it not only for myself but my children as well. I think it is pretty simple to use but whoever needs some help should take a look at this amazing post which is certainly very helpful.

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site