The most recent data from Pew Research indicates 58 percent of Americans over age 18 have a smartphone, and according to the T-Mobile website, at least 209 million of them are using lightning-fast 4G LTE connections. All that speed and power, and you’re still being foiled by a 4-year-old? If you’ve experienced cracked screens, missing apps and unexpected Apple store purchases one too many times, it’s time to take action and toddler-proof your iPhone. It’s easy to put your phone on lock-down when you don’t want curious little fingers tapping away on your device.
Invest in a Sturdy iPhone Case
An internally restricted iPhone won’t do you any good if the damage happens on the outside. A sturdy phone case makes a world of difference, particularly when your iPhone is in the hands of a toddler. According to Lifehacker, not all iPhone cases are equal. Otterbox, for instance, creates high-impact cases made of hard polycarbonate with soft silicone corner bumpers. For a sleeker look, Case Mate offers full-body, military-grade protective cases. If these cases are tough enough to withstand combat, then you know they’ll hold up against a tantrum.
Use the iOS Restriction System
The iOS Restriction System is the easiest way to restrict and customize access on an iPhone, iPod or iPad. To begin, go to Settings > General > Restrictions to set a four-digit PIN number. This passcode locks down various iPhone features you don’t want your child to access or change, says Tech Radar. For instance, these restrictions can keep your child from using Safari, making in-app purchases or logging onto iTunes. The pin also keeps toddlers from accidentally deleting or installing apps on your phone.
Turn Your iPhone into a Fun Phone
Obviously, there are instances when you don’t want your children using your iPhone. And guess what? There’s an app for that. If handing a locked phone to your fussing toddler no longer keeps them entertained, turn it into a pretend iPhone. BabyCenter’s PhonyPhone free app keeps children from accidentally making a real phone call with a faux number pad that teaches numbers and colors while playing music. The oversized screen is perfect for small fingers that are eager to place a pretend phone call.
Enable Guided Access
This nifty feature in the iOS 6 software update limits your toddler’s access to a single app. Enable it by going to your phone’s settings, visiting General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Turning this option on lets iOS know if it should recognize touch or motion based input and if its sleep/wake and volume buttons work, states TIME Magazine. To fully set up, launch the desired app, triple-click the Home button and enter your passcode. And there you have it, you’ve set up a virtual play space for your curious tech-savvy tot.
Turn Multitasking Gestures Off
The clumsy fine motor skills of a 2- or 3-year old mean they may inadvertently swipe or pinch out of an app. Fix this problem by going to General in Settings and turning Multitasking Gestures off. These gestures allow older iPhone users to use four fingers to swipe between apps or five fingers to “grab” the screen and get back to Home, explains Gigaom. Install easy to use apps designed for young children, like Baby Piano and I Hear Ewe to it easier for toddlers to manipulate an iPhone’s touch screen.