Best Methods for Blocking Websites on iPhone in 2023

Block websites on iPhone using a variety of different methods based on the desired level of strictness. Prevent users from bypassing blocks so that websites remain blocked.

by Tech Lockdown Team
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Updated August 31, 2023

In this guide, we will explore effective website blocking methods for the iPhone that account for common bypass techniques, as well as provide tips on how to choose the best method for your needs. 

If you are trying to  block porn , you should focus on a combination of blocking methods that are more robust and difficult to bypass.  

Whether you want to restrict yourself or a child from accessing specific websites, there are several blocking methods available on the iPhone.

Built-in Content Filtering

Apple provides several options for blocking websites using its built-in filtering capabilities.

Pros:

  1. Blocks websites even while a VPN or proxy is active
  2. Settings can be enforced to prevent the user from turning it off

Cons:

  1. Requires the use of the Safari browser because other browsers may not be compatible
  2. Only allows selecting the category "limit adult content" and blocking user-defined websites

Because of the limitations of built-in content filtering, it's recommended that you combine this blocking method with another method like DNS Filtering .

A) Screen Time

The easiest and fastest method involves using Apple Screen Time. Screen time is Apple's built-in parental control app  pre-installed on iOS devices. As mentioned previously, using Screen Time with Google Chrome or other browsers may cause screen time to not function properly. 

Additionally, it's possible to bypass Screen Time if you are the owner of the Apple ID used to configure screen time, so it's not an ideal solution if you are preventing yourself from accessing websites.

Adding websites to the screen time blocklist also requires you to access the Screen Time app on the device each time you want to make changes. This is not ideal if you are managing the phone for another person. You would ideally monitor websites being visited and adjust your blocklist as needed without having to access the device each time.  This is one of the reasons we recommend combining built-in filtering with DNS Filtering.

Here are the steps for Apple Screen Time:

Note

Allowed Websites Only is the most restrictive setup. All websites will be blocked other than the ones you have allowed access to.

B) Supervised or Managed Filter

If you set up a supervised or managed device, you can more effectively block websites on the iPhone by enforcing web content filtering using a separate computer.

In contrast with Screen Time, you can't easily disable this built-in filter even if you are the Apple ID owner, so this approach is more ideal if you are preventing yourself from accessing websites.

Supervised or managed devices also unlock other capabilities for preventing bypass of filtering, so it's highly recommended that you explore setting up a supervised device.


Tech Lockdown members get access to step-by-step instructions and expert support for setting up a supervised or managed iPhone.


Here are the steps to follow if you have configured a supervised iPhone:

Apply filtering rules to web browsers by configuring a profile with a Content Filter configuration.

Limit Adult Content / Blocklist

Selecting the Built-in: Limit Adult Content Filter Type will enforce content filtering. Additionally, you can add your own list of URLs that should be blocked in addition to the Adult Content category.

Allow Only Mode

Block access to all websites other than the ones specifically added to the allow list. 

Note

Content filtering applies to web browsers, not non-browser apps.

DNS Filtering

DNS Filtering is an effective way to block websites on many devices at once. You can configure a DNS Filter on your home router if you want to block websites on all devices using your home internet connection.

Alternatively, you can configure DNS Filtering directly on your iPhone to block websites even while roaming on other internet connections.

Here are some capabilities you unlock when using a DNS Filter:

Block entire categories of websites, including those commonly used to bypass filtering. You can even enforce SafeSearch on supported search engines and block search engines that don't provide a safe search setting.

Manage your own Block List and Allow List to add your own list of websites that should be blocked or allowed:

Some DNS Filtering services, like the one provided by Tech Lockdown,  allow you to lock filter settings so that it's harder to unblock content. This is ideal if you are preventing yourself from accessing certain websites.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering

Set up filtering on all your devices and prevent common bypass techniques.

Enforcing DNS Settings

Just like Android, iOS devices can install DNS Filtering apps. However, these apps are easy to disable on the iPhone. A better approach involves installing a config file that enforces DNS settings. 

IOS devices can install configuration profiles that set DNS settings without requiring the use of an app. If the device is supervised or managed, the config file cannot be removed from the device.


Become a Tech Lockdown member to access step-by-step guides and support for configuring supervised and managed devices.


On a standard device, the profile can be removed, but it's less obvious to the user how filtering is configured (since there isn't an app).