How to Set iTunes Parental Controls on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

Do young children use your MacBook? A large amount of content in the iTunes Store, including audio, movies, and even apps, may need some parental supervision. And what about the media that others in the family may decide to share? Such is the world today, and the good folks at Apple recognize that you may not want to inadvertently allow your kids to have access to explicit content.

Luckily, you can use the Parental settings in iTunes to build a secure fence around content that’s for grown-ups only. Heck, you can even banish items from the Source list entirely.

You must log in with an Administrator account to change these settings, just like with the Parental Controls in Mountain Lion’s System Preferences dialog. If the settings are locked — the padlock icon at the bottom of the dialog is closed — click the icon and supply your administrator password to unlock the settings.

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To enable parental control, follow these steps:

  1. Choose iTunes→Preferences.

  2. Click the Parental tab.

  3. Select any of the Disable check boxes to prevent access to those features.

    You’ll notice that any features you disable disappear completely from the Source list at the left side of the iTunes window after you click OK at the end of these steps.

  4. Click the Ratings For pop-up menu and choose your country.

    Because Apple maintains separate iTunes Stores for different nations, you can choose which country’s iTunes Store to monitor. If you like, you can disable the display of content ratings in your iTunes library by deselecting the Show Content Ratings in Library check box.

  5. To restrict specific content in the iTunes Store, select the check box next to the source, and then make choices from the corresponding pop-up menu to choose the restriction level.

    Note that these restrictions apply only to content in the iTunes Store and media shared with your MacBook. Content in your iTunes Library is never restricted.

  6. Click the padlock icon at the bottom of the dialog to close it and prevent any changes.

  7. Click OK.