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Dear Tim Cook: Letter from an American Dad, Apple iOS Parental Controls

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

It isn’t easy being a parent. Being a parent to a kid with an Apple iPad and iPod is an order of magnitude tougher. Our Alan Wallace is an iDad writing a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. In his open letter, Alan asks for specific changes and improvements to Apple iOS parental controls. And he’s not alone..

Dear Tim,  I have many Apple iOS devices — so does my 11-year-old son. That’s why I’m writing this open letter to you. This is about better Apple iOS parental controls. And it’s kind of urgent.

For starters, I need to be able to lock down apps — and please let me select exactly which ones. And I need to be able to lock them down to a master time limit and maybe even a time limit of daily use per app. I need to be able to tell my son’s Apple iPod and Apple iPad that he should only be able to use these devices and the apps on them during times I specify.

And that’s not all. I want to tie this functionality down to a parent-child related account — separate from my Apple ID. It should know, for example, the relation between my Apple devices and his — for instance, if message limitations are close or if time limits like the ones I suggest above run out. Can you do that? I also want same controls to work if I later get my son an iPhone. That would allow calls to certain numbers at all times — and others at certain times — and it would work even if I turn off games and text that calls and email could be checked during certain time frames.

Also, while the ratings on games, apps, movies and TV shows are great, could you amp up your music ratings controls? I want to lock his device down to age-appropriate lyrics.

Lastly, please add a remote app that I can select from my devices to adjust functions on his. It should work on the fly — just in case I see a reason to shut it down. These reasons come up, believe me. Yes, I could take it away from him. And I do. But with a remote app, I’d also be able to adjust restrictions and other parental controls when I’m not right there. The remote app should, as Apple says, just work. And it ought to be easy.

Tim, I don’t need Apple to parent for me. But Apple needs to work with me here. The company that provides the tools I need to manage tech for my son will win my business down the road, too. I love my own Apple iPad and iPod — and my son gets some great hand-me-downs. But Apple has some catching up to do here. Consider Microsoft. You know, Windows already has strong parental tools that work and they work on the MS Surface, too. Parenting around tech needs some help and I imagine that the same tools that would help me could also help IT Departments with BYOD issues, now that I think of it.

Bottom line. Being a parent in a tech world isn’t easy. Being a parent to a kid with an iDevice is an order of magnitude tougher. Frankly, I need more help from Apple and I know I’m not alone. I want to let my son play with his devices and not have to make him check them in and out from me every time. I need your help to do this right, though.

Sincerely yours,


Originally published at on January 22, 2013.

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