How to Setup Parental Controls on MacOS Sierra

Here is a guide on how to setup Parental Controls on MacOS to prepare your Mac for kids.

When we use our machines in a household with multiple users or more specifically children, we may want to put some boundaries on their usage of the computer. For quite some time, Apple has included controls for parents to restrict accounts and content they are able to see.

There are multiple parameters to setup for a given managed account and using Parental Controls on MacOS Sierra is an excellent resource for anyone looking to create a safe environment.

How to Setup Parental Controls on MacOS Sierra

Here are the steps to take in order to enable parental controls for your computer’s managed accounts.

Watch the above video for more information on MacOS Sierra Parental Controls.

How to Turn on Mac Parental Controls

Before you go to tinker with the Parental Controls, ensure that you have set up a managed user for your child. You will want to make them a standard user within the Users & Groups tab in System Preferences. You will then be able to toggle Enable Parental Controls and then click Open Parental Controls.


Parental Controls will prompt for your Administrative password and after accepting, will open all of the control tabs for your managed account. You will see multiple options for enabling or forbidding access to the Camera, limiting Mail contacts, limiting applications and more. There are subsequent tabs for Web, Stores, Time, Privacy, Other and each of these tabs will give you more control over the user experience for your child.

One place most parents will want to have the most control over is the Web and this tab will allow you to place browser restrictions on your child’s account. You will be able to give unrestricted access, restricted access with customizations, or access to only select websites of your choosing. When it comes to restricting adult content, the system has a very good filter of what it deems as adult yet some may want even more hands on to ensure certain sites are blocked.

Disabling access to content in iTunes and App stores is also an option for parents and will give you control over ratings and media with explicit content. You can also disable the whole store all together.

The Time tab will give you control over the amount of time your child is allowed to use their account and will enforce weekday and weekend time limits and a bed time that will log them out at a certain designated time.


How to Setup MacOS Sierra Privacy Options

The Privacy and Other tabs give you control over personal information that is allowed to be accessed by the child and also what peripherals they can use such as printers and the optical drive. You can also prevent the Dock from being modified and even make a simple Finder environment for ease of use. In addition to all of these modifications, you will notice a Logs button that you can click. This will give you an analysis of the user and their actions through Application use or Web browsing.


After exploring all of the tabs of the Parental Controls pane, you can click the Lock to save your changes and log out of your Administrative account. Parental Controls can be an excellent tool for making the Mac more accessible for children or managed users who might need to have more restrictive use. If you are not sure how something works within the tab, there is a help icon in the pane that will open Mac Help to assist you with any questions you might have.

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