Best ways to Block Porn on iPhone in 2023

If you are trying to restrict access to adult content on an iPhone, you've probably found that downloading a blocking app wasn't effective. 

As a work-from-home software developer, I've spent a considerable amount of time crafting an effective blocking "system" for iOS. 

Blocking on iOS is usually pretty ineffective

IOS is particularly difficult to lock down because Apple limits app capabilities on standard configured devices. Downloading an iOS blocking app is similar to installing a Google Chrome browser extension: it has limited control and it's easy to disable or to get around.

Android devices, in contrast, are able to have more control over a standard configured device, so a blocking app can prevent uninstalling and restrict access to certain settings that can circumvent blocking.

Effective blocking on iOS requires additional configuration

In order to get similar capabilities to Android on an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad, Apple requires additional device configuration.

Additionally, there are  multiple types of filtering capabilities  available on iOS devices:

  • Global HTTP proxy
  • Network proxy
  • DNS Proxy
  • DNS Settings
  • Content Filtering
  • VPN

Guide Overview

This guide will walk you through setting up an effective blocking system on iOS. Here is what we will focus on:

  1. Set up effective content filtering
  2. Prevent circumvention of that content filtering

In addition, this guide will give you several paths that you can assess for yourself:

  1. Unsupervised: this is a standard configured iOS device and your iOS device is unsupervised by default. You'll learn how to achieve the most restrictive setup within the constraints Apple imposes on unsupervised devices.   
  2. Device Supervision: this is a capability that Apple provides specifically for businesses and schools that want more control over the devices that they provide to employees or students. Home users can also access this capability and this is a critical part of this guide. Supervised devices can enforce device settings and are more capable of enforcing filtering.
  3. Mobile Device Management: the most restrictive setup requires the use of a Mobile Device Manager to configure device settings and distribute more advanced filtering capabilities, like a Global HTTP proxy.

Network DNS Filtering

One of the primary layers that I recommend is to set up DNS filtering on your home network. This involves pointing your home router, which you use to set up your internet, to a web filtering service.

This enables you to block porn on any device at your house that uses your internet connection, including your iPhone when it's using Wifi.

In this guide, I'll just provide a brief overview of what you can do with a content filter on your home internet connection. You can follow the  step-by-step router setup instructions in my free guide here .

Anytime a device uses your internet connection and attempts to visit a website, the website is either allowed or blocked based on the category it falls into.

For example, with the filter provided by Tech Lockdown, you can customize your blocked categories and maintain your own allow/block lists:

You don't want to just point to a service like OpenDNS FamilyShield and call it a day. There are some really good filtering services that use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to block content. Modern filtering services can also set up a VPN connection on your phone so that filtering works on any internet connection, not just your home network.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering

Start filtering content on your home network

Unsupervised Blocking Techniques

Apple devices are unsupervised by default. Unsupervised devices have limited options when it comes to blocking adult content and preventing circumvention. However, an unsupervised setup is the simplest approach.

Screen Time

You can use Apple screentime to add another layer of blocking to your device. In addition, you can use screen time to make filtering harder to get around.

Hide Apps

On some iOS versions (14+), you can make it harder to find an app that you use for filtering. This is useful for reducing environmental cues that trigger the thought to browse porn or circumvent filtering. Furthermore, it adds a bit more friction between bypassing your blocking system.

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Supervised Blocking Techniques

Configure a fully supervised device so that you can add extra restrictions. Supervised devices give you more control over an iOS device.

Supervised device capabilities:

  • Restrict changing device settings, like VPNs and network settings
  • Prevent uninstalling or disabling specific apps and removing .mobileconfig files
  • Disable safe mode
  • Block specific apps

Before you get started:

  • You must reset your iOS device and you cannot restore from an iCloud backup. You can, however, still login with your Apple ID and connect to iCloud. You just can't restore a backup.
  • After you reset your device, you will need to temporarily remove it from "Find My iPhone" or device supervision or device supervision won't work.
  • These tutorials depend on Apple Configurator, which is only available on Mac. If you do not have a Mac, use  iMazing and follow their tutorial here .

Supervise with Apple Configurator

Note: You cannot restore an iCloud backup or it will remove device supervision. Make sure that you have backed up any two-factor authentication apps that you use

Do not restore from an iCloud backup. You can sign in with your personal Apple ID

Create Profile with Device Restrictions

Recommended:

  • (Uncheck) Allow Installing Apps
  • (Uncheck) Allow Removing App
  • (Uncheck) Allow adding VPN configurations

Distribute Profile to the iPhone

Your device should sync with the profile changes.

Confirm that the profile was added to your device.