How to manually update the carrier settings on your iPhone to improve its cellular connection and performance

iPhone X
You should keep your iPhone’s carrier settings updated to ensure your phone works properly.

If you’ve ever noticed a menu for carrier settings on your iPhone or have seen a pop-up prompting you to update those settings, you may have wondered what they are and if (or why) you need to do it.

Basically, carrier settings contain packets of data about your iPhone and the network you use that help ensure performance and connectivity. Keeping this data up-to-date is important to ensure your iPhone is working optimally, so it’s worth checking to see if your carrier settings are up to date.

It should be noted that generally speaking, you’ll automatically be prompted to update your carrier settings when such updates become available.

However, if you want to do this manually – potentially a necessary step if you insert a new SIM card into your iPhone, for instance – it’s a quick process. Here’s how to do it.

How to manually update the carrier settings on an iPhone

1. Make sure your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

2. Open your phone’s Settings app, tap General, and then tap About.

3. Scroll down to Carrier. Next to Carrier, if a new update is available, you’ll see an option to perform this update. Otherwise, you’ll simply be shown the currently installed settings or carrier version number. Tapping on the version number can display further information about the carrier.

IMG_7673
If there’s an update available for your carrier settings, it will appear in the Carrier tab on the About screen.

Keeping your iPhone’s carrier settings up-to-date ensures that the phone is able to communicate with and operate on your network correctly and efficiently.

If your settings are outdated, you might experience issues making calls (even on Wi-Fi), sending texts, or even listening to your voicemail. It pays to take a few seconds to check that everything is up-to-date – and to go ahead and install any updates if and when you’re prompted to do so.

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What to do when your iPhone won’t turn off

iPhone 12
The method to force restart an iPhone varies depending on the model of your device.

  • If your iPhone won’t turn off the usual way, you can force it to restart.
  • To force restart a recent iPhone that has Face ID, press and release the Volume Up followed by the Volume Down buttons, then hold the Side button until it restarts.
  • If you have an older iPhone, the button sequence to force a restart will vary slightly.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

You probably don’t turn off your iPhone often, but when you do, the usual method is to use a button combination and an onscreen slider to restart the device.

But what if that doesn’t work, or your iPhone is frozen and won’t respond to screen inputs? That’s when it’s time to force restart your phone.

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What to do when your iPhone won’t turn off

Every iPhone has a sequence of buttons you can push to force restart your phone. It’s a fail-safe method to ensure you can turn it off if the screen is unresponsive or the phone’s software is misbehaving.

The specific method to force restart your iPhone varies, though, depending on which model you have.

How to force restart an iPhone with Face ID

If you have any model in the iPhone X, iPhone, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 families (including variations like the iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 13 mini), or later, do this:

1. Press and release the Volume Up button.

2. Press and release the Volume Down button.

3. Press and hold the Side button (the Sleep button).

4. Wait until you see the Apple logo, and then release the button.

The iPhone 11, pictured - iphone-wont-turn-off1.png
Press and quickly release the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons before holding the Side button.

How to force restart an iPhone 8 or iPhone SE (2nd generation)

If you have an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or an iPhone SE (second generation from 2020), do this:

1. Press and release the Volume Up button.

2. Press and release the Volume Down button.

3. Press and hold the Side button (the Sleep button).

4. Wait until you see the Apple logo, and then release the button.

How to force restart an iPhone 7

If you have an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 7 Plus, do this:

1. Press and hold the Volume Down and Side (Sleep) buttons at the same time.

2. Hold the buttons until the Apple logo appears, then release the buttons.

How to force restart an iPhone 6s, iPhone SE (1st generation), or earlier

If you have an older iPhone, such as the iPhone 6s, the first-generation iPhone SE (from 2016), or older, then do this:

1. Press and hold the Home and Side (Sleep) buttons at the same time.

2. Hold the buttons until the Apple logo appears, then release the buttons.

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5 ways to stop spam texts from reaching your smartphone

business woman on city subway using cell phone
There are several ways you can stop or reduce your phone’s received spam texts.

  • You can stop spam texts on an iPhone or Android by blocking, reporting, or filtering messages.
  • Don’t ever engage with spam texts – even to send a STOP request – as this will make it worse.
  • You can also stop spam texts with text-blocking apps, though they often cost money.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Unwanted text messages, while generally not as annoying as telemarketing calls, can be very irritating.

Not only do spam texts clutter your text inbox and distract you with nonsense notifications, but if you don’t have unlimited texting with your cellular plan, you might be paying for junk. And some spam messages contain links to potentially dangerous malware.

It pays to try to stop – or at least minimize – spam texts when possible.

How to stop spam texts from reaching your smartphone

Here are five steps you can take to filter or block spam texts.

1. Don’t respond to unwanted texts

You’re probably familiar with the way legitimate sources let you opt out of future text communication by replying “STOP.” Many spammers offer you the option to respond with STOP – but don’t do it.

How_to_stop_spam_texts 2
Don’t text “STOP” unless you know the sender is trustworthy and legitimate.

Spammers use your reply – any reply, including STOP – as a signal that you received your message and are actively engaged in your messages, which can embolden them to send you more messages. Your information can also be sold to other spammers who are looking for “verified active” phone numbers.

2. Report spammers to your cellular provider

One way to counter spam texts is by reporting unwanted texters directly to your phone service provider. For most major carriers – including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon – you can copy the offending message and text it to 7726.

You should receive a reply, which, depending on the carrier, might include a request to send the phone number that the spam came from. This probably won’t result in instant results for you, but it will contribute to cleaning up the texting ecosystem for everyone.

spam texts
You can report potential spam to your phone carrier.

3. Filter potential spammers

Most phones have a setting to automatically filter potential spam texts so they don’t appear in the same list with important, legitimate texts from known contacts.

On an iPhone, open the Settings app and tap “Messages.” Scroll down and turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” by swiping the button to the right.

On Android, open the Messaging app and tap the three dots at the top right. In the drop-down menu, choose “Settings,” and then tap “Spam Protection.” Finally, turn on “Enable spam protection” by swiping the button to the right.

How_to_stop_spam_texts 3
You can filter potential spammers on both iOS and Android.

4. Block specific spammers

If you get frequent spam from the same phone number, you can use your messaging app to block that number. Don’t count on this helping in every situation, though, because most spammers can appear to use a different number each time they reach out to you, so blocking individual numbers may have little effect.

On an iPhone, open the spam text and tap the user icon at the top of the page, then tap “info.” On the next page tap “info” again, and then tap “Block this Caller.”

How_to_stop_spam_texts 4
You can block specific phone numbers, which is handy if you repeatedly get texts from the same sender.

On Android, the process may vary depending on the messaging app you’re using, but in general, you can tap the three dots at the top of the message and choose “Block number” from the drop-down menu.

5. Use a paid text-blocking app

Hopefully, some combination of the previous tips dramatically reduces the number of spam messages you receive. If you need additional assistance, though, you can turn to an app designed to block spam.

An app like RoboKiller, available for both iPhone and Android, can dramatically reduce the spam you receive, both in the form of phone calls and text messages. These apps aren’t free, though. RoboKiller has a 7-day free trial, and then costs either $5 per month or $40 per year.

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How to use Live Text, a new iPhone feature in iOS 15 that lets you copy text from photos

Three iPhones placed side by side. All three are using the Live Text feature to import text from photos.
Live Text is coming to iPhones with iOS 15.

  • Live Text is a new feature on iPhones in iOS 15 that lets you copy and import text from photos onto your device.
  • If you take or save a picture that has text in it, you can use Live Text to copy and paste that text into any app on your iPhone.
  • If you have an iPhone XS or newer, you can grab text just by pointing your camera at it.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

It’s incredibly annoying when you want to copy text from a screenshot, but have to manually type it all out yourself.

That’s where Live Text comes in – this new iOS 15 feature lets you pull any text from pictures you take or have saved on your phone. And once you’ve pulled the text, you can paste it into any text field. It’s great for quickly sharing addresses, phone numbers, and anything else you don’t want to type out manually.

Live Text works with typed and handwritten text, and understands English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. It’s available on any iPhone (or iPad) released in 2018 or later.

Here are three ways to use it.

How to use Live Text in the Photos app

First, you can use Live Text on any photo you have saved in the Photos app. This includes screenshots, saved photos, and pictures you’ve taken yourself.

1. Open the Photos app and find a picture with text on it.

2. When you open the picture, a small square icon will appear in the bottom-right corner. Tap it.

A picture in the iPhone Photos app. The picture shows a sign that says "Sprint St." The square Live Text icon is highlighted.
Tap the Live Text icon when it appears.

3. The picture will darken, except for the space around the picture’s text. You can now interact with the text by holding your finger down on it to highlight it. Once highlighted, you can copy, share, translate it, and more.

A picture in the iPhone Photos app. The picture shows a sign that says "Sprint St." The words are highlighted.
The text in the image is now selectable.

If you copy the text, you can paste it into any text field on your device.

You can also do this natively with pictures that appear on websites in Safari. Just tap and hold your finger on a photo with text in it to select that text.

How to use Live Text to type in any app

If you want to quickly scan text you’ve found in real life, you can use Live Text to type directly into any text box.

1. Open any app that you can type in and tap a text field.

2. In the black pop-up that appears, tap the Scan Text option. It might also just appear as the small square icon.

An iPhone's text messaging screen. The "Scan Text" option is highlighted.
You can scan text right into an empty text box.

3. Your iPhone’s camera will turn on. Point it at whatever text you want to use, and then tap Insert when it’s highlighted.

An iPhone text messaging screen, but the keyboard is replaced with a camera view that's being pointed at the text of this article. The "Insert" button is highlighted.
Hover over the text you want to import, and you’ll see it appear in the text box.

Depending on how the text you’re trying to scan is formatted, you might need to try this a few times.

How to use Live Text while taking a picture

This feature lets you grab text just by pointing your camera at it. It might not be available on some older iPhone models.

1. Open your Camera app and point the camera at some text.

2. When the square Live Text icon appears in the corner, tap it.

3. Your device will highlight the text. You can then hold your finger down on it to copy it, share it, or look it up.

An iPhone with its camera activated and pointed at a sheet of paper. The text on the paper is highlighted with Live Text.
You can select text right from the Camera app.

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How to update your iPhone to iOS 15, and troubleshoot any update issues

person using cell phone
Updating your iPhone can be done automatically or manually from Settings, or even from your computer.

  • You can update your iPhone to iOS 15 from the “Software Update” section of Settings.
  • It’s possible to set up automatic iPhone updates, so it downloads whenever a new iOS is available.
  • If your iPhone won’t update to the new iOS, it might be too old or not have enough storage space.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple releases updates for the iPhone pretty regularly. In addition to at least one major update to the OS each year, there are generally a few incremental updates throughout the year, often to fix bugs and perform security improvements.

You can set your iPhone to update itself automatically, or manually update it yourself. Here’s what you should know.

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How to update your iPhone automatically

The easiest (and most secure) way to manage iPhone updates is to let your device handle it.

Here’s how to make sure your iPhone is ready to update automatically:

1. Open the Settings app and tap General.

Screenshot of Settings app homepage on iPhone
Go to “General.”

2. On the General page, tap Software Update.

Screenshot of General page in iPhone Settings app
Select “Software Update.”

3. On the Software Update page, tap Automatic Updates.

4. To let the iPhone do everything automatically, be sure both the Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates buttons are turned on by swiping them to the right, turning them green.

Screenshot of Automatic Updates page in iPhone Settings app
Swipe the buttons to turn them green.

When both switches are turned on, your iPhone will download update files to the phone and then install them automatically overnight, when your phone is charging and locked.

How to update your iPhone manually

If you want to manage updates yourself, or the phone isn’t installing updates automatically for some reason, you can do it yourself.

1. Open the Settings app and tap General.

2. On the General page, tap Software Update. Your phone will check to see if there’s an update available.

3. If there is an update available, tap Download and Install. Agree to the terms and conditions, and wait while the update downloads to your phone.

Screenshot of Software Update summary screen in iPhone Settings
Select “Download and Install.”

4. Finally, tap Install to complete the update.

Troubleshooting tips if your iPhone won’t update

If your iPhone won’t update either manually or automatically, try these troubleshooting methods.

Make sure your iPhone is compatible

The latest iOS software update, iOS 15, is available for the iPhone 6S and later, as well as the iPhone SE (both first and second generation) and the iPod Touch 7th generation.

This means that if you’re still using an iPhone 5S or earlier, you’re out of luck. You can view a full list of compatible iPhone versions here.

Check that you have enough available storage

iOS 15 will take up about 3.24 GB of storage space, but you’ll need more than that to successfully install the update. In fact, you’ll need a total of about 5GB of free space on your phone to download and install the update.

To see how much free space your phone has right now, open the Settings app, tap General, and select iPhone Storage. The amount of storage you have available will be listed at the top of the iPhone Storage page.

Screenshot of iPhone Storage page in iPhone Settings app
Your available storage space will be listed at the top.

Connect to WiFi and charge your battery

Sometimes it’s the little things that will block an iOS update. You should have a strong, reliable WiFi connection and your iPhone needs to have at least 50 percent of battery life remaining.

For the best results, perform the update at home or in the office, where you know you have dependable WiFi. And connect your phone to a dock or charger before starting the update.

Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone can solve any number of small glitches, including corrupted files or other bugs that can interfere with an iOS update.

For details on how to restart your iPhone, see our article on restarting and force-restarting any iPhone model.

Update your iPhone from your computer

On rare occasions, you might run into a glitch and find that your iPhone can’t install an update, either automatically or manually. If that happens, you can install it from a PC or Mac.

1. Plug your iPhone into your computer.

2. If you’re on a PC, open iTunes. If you’re on a Mac, open Finder and click your phone’s name in the sidebar.

3. If you see a message on the computer asking if you want to allow the computer to access your iPhone, click Continue. Likewise, tap Trust on your iPhone.

4. In iTunes, click Library and then click the iPhone icon on the left side of the toolbar. In Finder, click General.

How to update iPhone 2
When you switch to the Library view in iTunes, you should see an icon representing your iPhone.

5. Click Check for Update.

How to update iPhone 3
Click “Check for Updates” in your iPhone’s Summary info to start the update process.

6. If there’s an update available, click Download and Update. Leave your phone connected for as long as it takes to update.

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iPhone warranty: How to check if your device has standard warranty or AppleCare+, and what each warranty offers

hands touching a smartphone with a broken cracked screen
Before you buy a new iPhone to replace a broken one, you should first check if you’re covered under warranty.

  • You can check if your iPhone has a warranty via Apple’s warranty tracker or the Settings app.
  • You’ll need to enter your serial number to get full information on your standard warranty and AppleCare+ coverage.
  • AppleCare+ is an extended warranty program that users can purchase within 60 days of buying a new iPhone.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Having an issue with your iPhone, whether it’s a broken screen or a hardware malfunction, isn’t fun. What’s even less fun is paying hundreds of dollars to get it fixed.

Thankfully, Apple offers two types of warranties on new iPhones, and one of them is free. If you’re curious about what each type of warranty offers, as well as how to check your warranty status, you’ve come to the right place.

Types of iPhone warranties

There are two types of warranties that cover iPhone repairs: a standard warranty and AppleCare+.

iPhone standard warranty

What it gets you:

  • If you have a new iPhone, you are automatically covered under the standard warranty.
  • It covers one year of hardware repairs (at a low or no cost) and includes 90 days of telephone technical support from an Apple Advisor.

What it does not cover:

  • The iPhone standard warranty does not cover battery related issues, normal wear and tear (like scratches and dents from dropping your phone or repeatedly placing it on rough surfaces), or if your iPhone is stolen.
  • Defects due to accidents (dropping your iPhone in water, breaking your screen) or another product (like a case) are not covered.
  • If you jailbreak your iPhone or get it repaired by someone that isn’t an Apple-authorized provider, your warranty is void.
  • This warranty does not apply to used Apple devices.

AppleCare+ extended warranty

What it gets you:

  • AppleCare+ is an extended warranty program for iPhones, Apple Watches, and iPads.
  • An AppleCare+ plan can only be purchased within 60 days of the original purchase date of your device.
  • AppleCare+ extends the standard warranty to two years and covers up to two accidental damage incidents (like dropping your phone and breaking the screen) every 12 months. Each incident is subject to a service fee ($29 for screen damage, $99 for any other type of accidental damage), plus taxes.
  • You can get your iPhone’s battery serviced if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity.
  • You also get 24/7 priority access to Apple experts via chat or phone to help troubleshoot any issues.

What it does not cover:

  • If you lose your iPhone or if it’s stolen, unless you purchase AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss ($149 fee per incident of theft or loss).

How to check if your iPhone is under warranty

If you’re having an issue with your iPhone or simply want to check whether or not you’re still covered under Apple’s standard warranty or AppleCare+, follow these steps:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap General.

3. Tap About. On the About page, you should see your serial number as the fifth item listed.

4. Press down and hold your finger over the serial number.

iPhone screenshot of the About page in the Settings app with the Serial Number highlighted
Locate your serial number to check your iPhone’s warranty.

5. Once the Copy bubble pops up, tap on it to copy your serial number.

6. Open up your preferred browser and go to Apple’s warranty tracker.

7. Tap the text box located under Enter your serial number.

iPhone screenshot of the Apple Warranty tracker page
Paste your serial number directly into this box, so you won’t need to write it down and type it in manually.

8. Double tap the text box and a Paste bubble should pop up. Tap on it to paste your serial number into the text box.

9. Type the security code into the text box under Please enter the code and then click Continue.

10. You’ll be taken to a new page that will tell you if your iPhone is still covered by Apple’s limited warranty program and if you still have telephone support.

iPhone screenshot of the Apple Warranty Service and Support Coverage page
On this page you’ll find information about the types of coverage and support your iPhone has.

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How to make a group chat on iPhone and customize your name, members, and more

Senior woman texting on smartphone on park bench
You can start a group chat on iPhone just like you’d start a regular text.

  • To make a group chat on iPhone, add multiple recipients to the address line of a new message.
  • Once a group chat is created, you can add members or edit the name.
  • There’s three types of group messages: group iMessage, group MMS, and group SMS.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Group chats can be a useful tool in both your professional and personal life. Whether you’re planning a happy hour or a surprise baby shower, or you want to text hilarious memes to your besties, a group chat is a great way to relay information to multiple people at once.

Depending on the settings and types of phones people have, group chats will look different and have different capabilities. And if a group chat is getting to be too much, you can silence notifications or leave a group chat entirely. Here’s how to do it all on an iPhone.

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How to make a group chat on iPhone

Make sure you have both iMessage and MMS turned on in Settings > Messages.

1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone. It looks like a white chat bubble inside a green box.

2. Tap the Compose button in the top-right corner of the screen.

3. Begin entering the names of the people you want to include in the group chat in the To: section. You can also tap the plus + button to select people from your contacts.

Phone screenshot of a new Message
Start a group chat by entering two or more names into the address bar.

4. Type out your message, then tap the Send icon. It looks like an arrow pointing up.

iPhone screenshot of a new group iMessage
When you’re ready to send your message, tap the blue arrow.

How to add members to a group chat

New roommate? Coworker? Add them to your group chat with just a few steps. However, this only works on iMessage group chats, if everyone in the group has an iPhone.

1. Open the Messages app and navigate to the group chat you want to add someone to.

2. Tap the names at the top of the group chat, then tap info in the drop-down menu.

iPhone screenshot of an iMessage group with the info button highlighted
You can add a new member to an iMessage group chat at any time.

3. Underneath the names of the people already in the group, tap Add Contact.

iPhone screenshot of an iMessage group menu with the Add Contact button highlighted
Tap the + button to add a contact to an iMessage group chat.

4. Type in the name of the person you want to add, then tap Done.

iPhone screenshot of an address bar to add members to a group chat
Type in the name(s) of the people you want to add, or select them from your contacts list using the + button.

How to silence notifications from a group chat

1. Open the Messages app and navigate to the group chat you want to silence notifications for.

2. Tap the names at the top of the group chat, then tap info in the drop-down menu.

3. Scroll down to Hide Alerts, then tap the toggle on the right to silence notifications. It will turn green when on.

iPhone screenshot of an iMessage group menu with the Hide Alerts button highlighted
The toggle will turn green when notifications are silenced.

How to leave a group chat

1. Open the Messages app and navigate to the group chat you want to leave.

2. Tap the names at the top of the group chat, then tap info in the drop-down menu.

3. Tap Leave this Conversation. Then, tap Leave this Conversation again in the pop-up to confirm your decision.

iPhone screenshot of an iMessage group menu with the Leave this Conversation button highlighted
If you accidentally tap “Leave this Conversation,” tap “Cancel” to remain in the group chat.

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How to set up parental controls on your child’s iPhone or iPad to restrict screen time, explicit content, or purchases

Father and daughter relaxing on couch, dad looking at phone
There’s a wide range of parental restrictions you can set on your child’s iPhone.

  • iPhone parental controls can keep your child away from sensitive content and regulate screen time.
  • You can also control purchases and set content and privacy restrictions.
  • Parental controls can all be accessed via the Screen Time section of your Settings app.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

When it comes to keeping your kids safe, technology is an important consideration. If you have Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads, in the house, you have access to a robust set of resources for controlling what your kids can do on their own devices. You just have to know how to set them up.

Here’s what you’ll need to do.

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Set content and privacy restrictions using Screen Time

Before you can start, you must have Screen Time for Family set up on your device.

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Tap Screen Time.

Screenshot of iPhone Settings main page
In Settings, go to “Screen Time.”

3. Tap Turn on Screen Time.

4. After reading a summary of what the Screen Time feature can offer, tap Continue.

5. If you’re setting up parental controls on your kid’s iPhone, select This is My Child’s iPhone.

Screenshot of Screen Time page asking if this is your child's phone
Select who’s phone you’re using at the bottom.

6. Tap Downtime, then configure the hours you want your kid’s iPhone to be offline. For example, you might want to prevent them from playing games or using social media after dinner. Regardless of what hours you choose, calls and text messages will still get through.

Screenshot of Screen Time page in iPhone Settings
From the Screen Time page, select “Downtime.”

7. Tap the back button, then select App Limits. From there, you can choose how long your child can use various kinds of apps. For example, you can limit social media apps and games to two hours a day, then tap Set App Limit.

Screenshot of Screen Time page with "App Limits" highlighted
In “App Limits,” you can set a time limit for certain apps.

8. Tap the back button again and select Content & Privacy Restrictions. Then toggle on the Content & Privacy Restrictions option and create a passcode so that you have access to the Screen Time parental controls, but your child does not.

Screenshot of Content & Privacy Restrictions page in iPhone Settings
Toggle on the button at the top of the page.

Control iTunes and App Store purchases

Prevent purchases and downloads

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Tap Screen Time.

3. Select Content & Privacy Restrictions. You might be asked to enter your passcode at this point.

Screenshot of Screen Time page in Settings
Go to “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”

4. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.

Screenshot of Content & Privacy Restrictions page in Settings
Select “iTunes & App Store Purchases.”

5. Choose Don’t Allow where desired.

Enable ‘Ask to Buy’

This process must be done on your device – not your child’s device. Once set up, you, acting as the family organizer, are able to approve or deny requests from your child to make purchases, like buying a new app for their phone.

1. Open your Settings app.

2. Select your name at the top of the screen.

3. Tap Family Sharing.

Screenshot of Apple ID page in Settings
Go to “Family Sharing.”

4. Select Ask to Buy.

Screenshot of Family Sharing page in Settings
On the Family Sharing page, select “Ask To Buy.”

5. Tap the name of your desired family member.

6. Use the toggle button to turn on or turn off Ask to Buy.

Specify which websites your child is allowed to visit

1. Open the Settings app and then tap Screen Time.

2. On the Screen Time page, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. You might need to enter your Screen Time passcode.

3. If it’s not already turned on, swipe the button for Content & Privacy Restrictions to the right.

4. Tap Content Restrictions.

Screenshot of "Content Restrictions" button in Settings
Select “Content Restrictions.”

5. In the Web Content section, tap Web Content.

Screenshot of "Web Content" section in Settings
From the Content Restrictions page, go to “Web Content.”

6. Depending on how restrictive you want to be, tap Limit Adult Websites or Allowed Websites Only. Once you make that selection, you can fine-tune the controls by adding websites to the list of allowed (or not allowed) sites.

Prevent explicit content

1. Go into your Settings app.

2. Tap Screen Time.

3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Screenshot of Screen Time page in Settings
Go to “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”

4. Select Content Restrictions.

5. Choose the settings you want.

Screenshot of Content Restrictions page in Settings
Choose what content you’d like to restrict or allow.

From this screen, you can restrict:

  • Ability to play music, music videos, podcasts, and news containing explicit content.
  • Ability to find and view music videos.
  • Ability to share what they’re listening to with friends, and see what their friends are listening to.
  • Movies, TV shows, book content and apps with specific ratings.

Disable built-in apps

1. Go into your Settings app and tap Screen Time.

2. Select Content & Privacy Restrictions.

3. Enter your Screen Time passcode, as directed.

4. Select Allowed Apps.

Screenshot of Allowed Apps button in Settings
From the Content & Privacy Restrictions page, go to “Allowed Apps.”

5. Toggle off the apps that you want to disable.

Note: Disabling these apps doesn’t delete them, it simply hides them from your child’s home screen.

Restrict Siri web searches

1. Go into your Settings app.

2. Tap Screen Time.

3. Select Content & Privacy Restrictions.

4. Tap Content Restrictions.

5. Scroll down to Siri, then choose your settings. You can prevent Siri from searching the web when you ask a question, and prevent Siri from displaying any explicit language from within this setting.

Screenshot of Siri restrictions section in Settings
In the Siri section, choose what kind of content you want to allow.

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How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort

charging iphone close up
If your iPhone or iPad’s technical issues aren’t solved from a reset or restore, you can try using DFU mode.

  • DFU mode is a way to recover your iPhone or iPad using a computer.
  • To put an iPhone or iPad into DFU mode, you’ll need to use either iTunes or Finder.
  • DFU mode works differently on iPhones and iPads with Face ID, compared to older models.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Your iPhone or iPad can sometimes run into technical issues, requiring the device to be reset or restored.

However, if it can’t be recovered through its settings, this can complicate efforts and require the use of iTunes or Finder to restore the device’s operating system and firmware.

Here’s how you can use DFU mode and a computer to restore your iPhone or iPad when it cannot recover itself.

What is DFU mode?

Device Firmware Update mode – or DFU mode for short – is a state that an iPhone or iPad can be put in to get your device back into working order.

DFU mode is similar to the BIOS on Windows computers or Recovery Mode on a Mac. It exists “below” the operating system level – iOS – but can still communicate with iTunes or Finder on a Windows or Mac computer.

In DFU mode, your iOS device is accessible to iTunes or Finder at a more privileged level. This allows for more to be changed than normal. However, going into DFU mode on its own does not change anything on the iPhone or iPad.

Put an iPhone or iPad in DFU mode

To put an iPhone or iPad into DFU mode, follow the instructions based on which model you have.

iPhone or iPad with Face ID

iphone
iPhones X generation or later and iPads 11 Pro generation or later support Face ID.

1. Turn off your iPhone or iPad and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

3. Press and hold the side button on your device for three seconds.

4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold volume down. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release the side button but continue holding volume down for another five seconds.

6. Release volume down. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

To exit DFU mode, quickly press the Volume Up button, then quickly press the Volume Down button, then hold down the Side button until the device reboots.

iPhone 7

iphone 7 and 7 plus
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Pro have a different process for entering and exiting DFU mode than other iPhone models.

1. Turn off your iPhone and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

3. Press and hold the side button of your iPhone for three seconds.

4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold down the Home button. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release both buttons. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

To exit DFU mode, hold down the Side button and Volume Down button until the device reboots.

iPhone 6s or earlier

iphone 6s
To enter DFU mode on iPhones generation 6S or earlier, you’ll use the Home and side buttons.

1. Turn off your iPhone and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

3. Press and hold the side button of your iPhone for three seconds.

4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold down the Home button. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release the side button but continue holding down the Home button for an additional five seconds.

6. Release the Home button. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

To exit DFU mode, hold the Home button and the Lock button until the device reboots.

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How to unlock your phone to change carriers

woman using laptop and phone at home
If you’re switching cell phone carriers, you may want to unlock your current phone.

  • When you unlock a phone, it means that you alone own the device and can use it with any cell phone carrier.
  • Every major cell phone carrier allows you to unlock a phone, and a standard requirement is that you’ve paid all of your bills.
  • The steps to unlock your phone differ by carrier, but usually involve calling your current carrier or using a special website.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you bought your phone from a cell phone carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile, there’s a good chance that you don’t actually own that phone. If you’re still paying monthly bills for it, or just have it locked to the network, the phone carrier has some say over it.

That’s where unlocking comes in. When you unlock your phone, you get full ownership of the device. This means that you can then switch cell phone carriers without having to buy a new device.

Although every carrier has a slightly different unlocking process, they’re all similar. Here’s how to unlock your phone, no matter which carrier you’re signed up with.

How to unlock your phone

Meet the prerequisites

Before you can unlock your phone, you’ll need to fulfill a few terms.

  • If you bought your phone on an installment plan, you need to pay off the entire device (the only carrier that explicitly doesn’t require this is Verizon).
  • Your phone can’t be reported as lost or stolen, and your account with the carrier needs to be in “good standing.”
  • You’re current with all of your phone bills, and don’t have any past-due balances.
Young man at home, paying bills online
Make sure that you’ve paid your phone bills before requesting an unlock.

Additionally, most carriers require you to have kept the phone locked on their network for some period of time, ranging by carrier from 40 days (for T-Mobile) to one year (Boost Mobile).

Request the unlock

If you’ve met all the terms and conditions required by your carrier, you can ask for the unlock. Again, every carrier makes you go through a slightly different process – for example, AT&T has an online portal you need to fill out – but you can’t go wrong by calling your carrier’s customer service line. Worst case scenario, they point you in the right direction.

If you call and they tell you that you’re eligible for an unlock, request it. It might take a few days, but once your request is processed, you’ll receive a confirmation email or letter. While you’re waiting for that confirmation, keep your SIM card in your phone.

For further detail on the requirements and processes of major carriers, see our guides on unlocking phones from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Boost Mobile.

Once you’ve unlocked your phone, you can feel free to cancel your carrier contract and move to another company. All you’ll need to do at that point is switch out the SIM card in your phone.

SIM card being inserted into Android phone
Your phone’s SIM card contains your cell phone carrier account information.

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