How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time

Jul 14, 2020 - 9 Comments

How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time

Did you know you can block websites on a Mac by using the Screen Time feature? Whether you’re aiming to reduce your own distractions or you’re aiming to restrict a kids access to particular websites, blocking specific websites is easier than ever on the Mac.

Apple’s Screen Time is a handy feature that’s built into iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices that helps users keep track of their device usage, and offers a lot of parental control tools to restrict the content that children and other users are able to access. The ability to block websites is one such tool that could prove to be useful when you don’t want users to access adult content, social media, social networking websites, or anything else you wish to restrict access to on a given Mac.

If you’re looking to limit web access on a Mac, read on to learn the necessary steps to block websites on a Mac by using Screen Time.

How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time

To take advantage of Screen Time, your Mac needs to be running macOS Catalina or later. So, make sure the software is updated and simply follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Head over to “System Preferences” on your Mac from the Dock.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  2. This will open a new window on your Mac. Here, choose “Screen Time” to proceed further.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  3. Next, click on the “Content & Privacy” option located in the left pane.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  4. Now, you’ll need to enable Content & Privacy Restrictions as it’s turned off by default. Click on “Turn On” to access all the settings here.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  5. Here, select the option “Limit Adult Websites” to automatically block several adult websites that are on Apple’s database. To add any specific website, like a social networking platform or anything else, click on “Customise”.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  6. Now, under the “Restricted” section, click on the “+” icon as indicated in the screenshot below.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  7. Type in the website URL and click “OK” to add this site to the blocked list.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time
  8. Similarly, you can add multiple websites to the blocked list and click “OK” to save the changes.

    How to Block Websites on Mac with Screen Time

That’s pretty much all there is to it. Now you’ve learned how to block websites on Mac with Screen Time.

It’s worth noting here that the user will not be able to access these blocked websites using a different browser either. When they open a third-party browser like Chrome or Firefox, they’ll be notified regarding the blocked websites and they cannot be added to the approved list unless the Screen Time passcode is entered.

If the Mac is used by multiple people, it’s a good idea to use a Screen Time passcode to make sure users don’t fiddle around with Screen Time settings and make unnecessary changes.

Apart from restricting websites, Screen Time can also be used to block apps, set time limits on app use, iTunes & App Store purchases, playback of explicit music, limit social networking use, app installations, and a lot more, not only on the Mac, but also on iPhone and iPad. This functionality has made it a lot easier for parents to keep a check on their children’s device usage, and to limit access to certain materials and content.

If your kid is using an iOS or iPadOS device, you can use Screen Time to block websites on iPhone and iPad in Safari and other web browsers in a very similar way. You can also use Screen Time to turn off in-app purchases on an iOS or iPadOS device too, in order to avoid unauthorized charges to your credit card.

Have you managed to successfully block websites in Safari on your kid’s Mac using Screen Time? What other parental control features do you use to restrict the device usage? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions on Apple’s Screen Time in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Sebastian Lara says:

    The article literally says that even using third-party web browsers cannot bypass the lock, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. on my mac I simply used google chrome to bypass the lock. what’s ironic is that on my iPhone it works just fine and blocks all explicit content from other third-party browsers. Please explain, thank you

  2. P says:

    I’m having the same problem as the others – I block websites in Screen Time and you can still visit them. I’ve tried both logging out and rebooting. The websites are still reachable. Does anyone know why it doesn’t work?

    • Paul says:

      Are you using Safari or another web browser with Screen Time to block the websites? Screen Time will only limit websites via Safari as far as I know, if you want to block websites broader than that, say in Chrome or from the computer in general, you’d need to use something like a hosts file block, DNS, etc.

  3. Cassandra says:

    I recently found out my son is visiting restricted websites on his computer during school hours by visiting DuckDuckGo. From there he can look up adult websites, YouTube etc. I have attempted to block DuckDuckGo from screen time and it keeps going to it anyway.
    Please FIX this.

    Also worth noting I DID NOT approve a download of any extension packs for his computer so it SHOULD NOT be there. If it is there. BIG ISSUE for Apple products!

  4. Darby says:

    Assuming I can get youtube restriction to work (see my first comment)….

    If youtube is restricted, and yet a youtube vid is required by the teacher, I want to type in the screentime passcode and allow only that unique url for that one video. Instead when you type in the screentime passcode you are allowed to give the child 15 minutes or an hour. I’ve long thought that was a crazy choice. I’d like to give him 5 minutes many times; and 30 minutes. What would be best is if the parent could enter a custom number of minutes/hours, while having quick picks be the times most often/most recently entered.

    Anyway, to recap, the use case is: allow the video that the teacher assigns, and NO other youtube video.

    Open to hacks!

    One way that I could see this working is if the youtube video is embedded from a page in google classroom or google docs.

    Another idea: a list of links is automatically compiled from the assignments and put into an “allowed” list. So if it comes from the teacher, he can watch it.

    Any ideas?

    thanks in advance!

  5. Darby says:

    I’m a mom who’d like to disallow youtube for my son during school hours.

    I’ve put in the screentime restriction list:
    and youtube is still being allowed for him.

    it won’t let me put just youtube.
    I’d like to put *youtube* and have it disallow anything with youtube in the url.
    Do you know how to disallow youtube and really make it work?


  6. JimBob says:

    I have latest Catalina but can’t turn this on. I see the screen but clicking on Turn On does nothing except briefly flash color. Entire screen stays greyed out.

  7. Paul J Darby says:

    This Screen Time does not exist on my Mac running High Sierra 10-13-6.

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