New in Screen time: set communication limits

With the Screen time function you can keep track of how much time you spend on your phone. You can also keep an eye on your children in this way. If it all gets out of hand, you can impose restrictions. New since iOS 13.3 are the Communication limits, with which you indicate for whom you can be reached. With this, you indicate, for example, that your children can only have contact with family in the evening. For example, you can set Communication Limits in Screen Time.

Screen time: set communication limits

With the new Screen Time function you can indicate which specific people you or your child may have contact with. A distinction is made between the device-free time and the time in which the use of the iPhone is permitted. The function only works for Apple’s communication apps: that is, Phone, FaceTime, and Messages. This is how you can set communication limits:

  • Go to “Settings> Screen time”.
  • Do you want to set a communication limit for your child? Then first tap the child’s name. If you do it for yourself, you can immediately proceed to the next step.
  • Tap “Communication limits.”
  • You now have two options. With “During allowed screen time” you set who can communicate with during the allowed screen time, for example during the day. You can also set limits “During device free time”, for example at night.
  • First tap “During allowed screen time”. You can indicate the permitted communication here: with “Everyone” or “Only contacts” from your Contacts list.
  • Go back and tap “During device free time” to set which communication is possible during that time. Indicate whether communication is possible with “Everyone” or “Only specific contacts”.
  • If you choose “Specific contacts only”, then you must indicate which contacts they are. You choose them from the Contacts list or add a new contact.

If you try to call someone or send a message while there are communication limits, you will receive a message that this is not possible because there are restrictions. Does someone like that call you? Then he or she will receive the voicemail. With an app, the other sees that the message has been “delivered” but has not yet been read.

Good to know

The 112 emergency number can always be reached, no matter how strict your communication limits are set. Keep in mind that your SOS contacts and your set Favorites are not always automatically available – you must add them to “Specific contacts only”.

The limits only apply to apps from Apple, Phone, Messages,and FaceTime. Through apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, chatting is still possible. You could set app limits for those apps via “Settings> Screen time> App limits.” Here you impose limitations in terms of time, not in terms of contacts.