How to Configure your iPhone/iPad for Porn Blocking

The third and final piece of this solution is to configure your portable device.  The instructions below apply to all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) running current or recent versions of the iOS, however, I will refer to iPhones for the remainder of this post.

Configuring your iPhone for Porn Blocking  

First, make sure the iPhone is tethered to a specific Apple ID. This is done by entering an Apple ID (and password) during initial setup.  This creates an Activation Lock that is a critical component of the solution.

Second, in the Settings app, scroll down and click to iCloud settings

Click "Backup" and make sure "iCloud Backup” is ENABLED.
Similarly, click “Find my iPhone” and make sure it is DISABLED.

Next, goto Settings -> General -> Restrictions.

Apple provides a very user-friendly walk-though on how to get to this point. Have the accountability parter enter and verify a passcode. 

In the first section/window, "ALLOW" - disable the following:

Safari
iBooks Store  
Installing Apps

Next, scroll down to the "ALLOWED CONTENT" section and make the following changes

Music, Podcasts and News -> Disable/Uncheck "Explicit"
Movies ->
(choose your own ratings)
TV Shows -> (choose your own ratings)
Books -> Disable/Uncheck "Explicit Sexual Content"

SIRI -> Disable/Uncheck “Explicit Language” and “Web Search Content

Websites: -> (click-on and go to this page)
This is where the rubber hits the road. The iOS now allows multiple types of filtering via three options:

1. All Websites - No filtering

2. Limit Adult Content:

This option uses Apple’s own web filtering technology, which I know nothing about, but am willing to wager that it is insufficient for stifling a determined Internet porn addicts efforts. In its defense, however, it does allow a limited amount of customization. Beyond the reliance on whatever formula apple uses to evaluate websites, this feature provides the ability to “ALWAYS ALLOW” and “NEVER ALLOW” websites.  This is similar to the “Always Allow” and “Always Block” settings within K9 (respectively). Refer to my previous post regarding the logic.

->To enter sites into either of these categories, click/check "Limit Adult Content" and  click "Add a Website" under the appropriate subsection. (Note: The "Always Allow and Never Allow" subsections only appear when "Limit Adult Content" is checked).

3. Specific Websites Only - This is, by far, the most robust option, as it is a “white-list” design.  A white list means everything is blocked, except for XYZ specific (white-listed) sites.  As such, it is my recommendation for the development of a secure solution. By default, Apple lists some very innocuous sites in their white list - Disney, Apple, Discovery, etc., however you can add sites to via the following steps:

To manually add other websites, click/check "Specific Websites Only", which will result in “ONLY ALLOW THESE WEBSITES" appearing below, and click "Add a Website". 

Next, click on "Restrictions" at the upper-left of screen to return to the main Restrictions window, and continue scrolling down the window to make further adjustments.

PRIVACY

Twitter & Facebook -> “Dont Allow Changes” (assuming they are a problem, which they likely are) 

ALLOW CHANGES

Accounts -> Don't Allow Changes  (Note: This disables access to the iCloud settings, so it will need to be unchecked in the event that iCloud settings changes on this device are required).

--> At this point, the phone itself will be configured. There is one more step, however, that must be taken on the user's computer. 

Configuring iTunes to support solution 

The final critical piece of the solution is a setting contained within the iTunes program on the computer. So put the phone down and go to the computer. Launch iTunes program.*** Make sure iPhone is connected to the Mac. Click on the iPhone icon when it appears in iTunes. Stay in the first window ("Summary") and scroll to the BACKUP section. Check "Encrypt iPhone backup" and enter the accountability partners password.


About the solution

At this point, one might ask, "Doesn’t this critically handicap the utility of the smartphone?” The answer is, NO.  I won’t go into the quite technical details regarding network layers and whatnot, but suffice it to say that this ONLY blocks websites. As such, all other smartphone capabilities are fully functional. For example, ALL the iCloud features are still available (email, calendaring, contacts, notes, photo-stream, etc). Additionally, the applicable expansion of these features to other email platforms (Gmail, Live, Exchange, Yahoo, etc) also remains intact.

LIMITATION: Most apps continue working under this configuration. I say most, because a few apps will initially have trouble with this configuration.  This is because some apps still draw their data through embedded web browsers, which means the traffic is blocked by the white-list.

The new News app built-in to iOS 9 is an example of this. You can read headlines, but if you try to click on most any story, it will attempt to access the content through a browser window, which will be blocked.  The WebMD and Drugs.com apps both also do this. 
Fortunately, there is a solution for this issue.

The solution is to manually add the websites when the problem arises. You will usually know when this is happening because when a site is blocked a solid white window will appear containing the following message: "You cannot browse this page at "<site name>" because it is restricted." Followed by the solution, an "Allow Website" button/link. Clicking the link will add the site to the white-list, allowing it to be accessed in the future. Of course, this requires a one-time entry of the administrator's password, but once it is done the app should function properly.


Updating/Installing Apps

This solution requires the disabling of open access to the App Store. As such, the user will not be able to update apps, nor install new ones, while under this configuration.  Of course, important updates to apps are regularly released, and validly needed new apps are periodically released. As such, the user will need to occasionally ask their accountability partner to temporarily enable this access to the app store. To do so, follow the steps below. (Be sure to re-disable access when you are done).

Settings -> General -> Restrictions -> Installing Apps (off/on)


Final Note

As with the other two components of this solution (securing the mac and configuring K9), this is an imperfect and iterative solution. Technology is ever changing and advancing, and there will be periodically be changes to make.  As such, be prepared for the fact that that this solution will create occasional inconveniences. Don’t allow these inconveniences to be an excuse to avoid the entire solution.  If you are considering this solution, it is likely because you have determined that you need help creating a barrier between yourself and unending, mind-numbing, adult content on the internet. Do it and stick with it! 


If you think you know of ways around the above, please do not post them publicly in the Comments section. Instead, email them directly to me. While it may seem tempting, I think it could be considered universally rude to offer a spoiler where none is wanted. Thanks for your understanding.