The Best Parental Control Apps for Android and iPhone 2024

The best parental control apps for Android and iOS are essential resources for keeping an eye on your children’s online activities. Many of these apps not only show you what your child does on smartphones and tablets, but they also provide Windows and Mac software for your child’s computer.

You can easily keep track of your child’s whereabouts at all times by using one of the top parental control apps on their devices to track their location on a map. These apps also let you restrict screen time, create schedules, and filter offensive websites and content from being seen on their devices. Top-notch antivirus software is even accessible through some of the greatest parental control apps, helping to protect kids’ devices from hackers and guaranteeing their safety online.

These are the best parental control applications available right now, regardless of whether you’re a new parent making future plans or you’re just looking for more information about your kids’ online activities to keep them safe.

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THE QUICK LIST

Everything you require to quickly learn about the top parental control apps is provided below. There is something here for every budget, whether you want to keep a closer check on your kids in the digital world or you want an app with all the bells and whistles and only want something cheap or even free.

1. Net Nanny – The best parental control app overall

2. Kaspersky Safe Kids – The best parental control app for value

3. Qustodio – The best parental control app for monitoring

4. Norton Family – The best parental control app for big families

5. OurPact – The best parental control app for iOS

6. Google Family Link – The best parental control app for Android

The best parental control apps you can get today

1. Net Nanny –

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP OVERALL)

Our choice for the best parental control app is Net Nanny, which has a sleek, user-friendly interface and cutting-edge web-filtering technology that analyses websites rather than simply blocking them, letting users create custom filters.

When compared to other parental control applications that we have reviewed, Net Nanny provides almost the same features on both its iOS and Android versions. It provides location history, effectively tracks your child’s location and has solid time management and scheduling features across both platforms.

While Net Nanny allows blocking of all apps on Android, it only permits blocking of over 100 apps on iOS. You can be informed about new apps that need to be watched out for by the integrated App Advisor.

In addition, Net Nanny integrates content screening into well-known social media apps, such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, providing an even better option than just a block or allow setting.

The inability of Net Nanny to track calls or texts is its only drawback when it comes to smartphones. While some Android apps still allow it, this feature is not available on iOS.

2. Kaspersky Safe Kids

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP FOR VALUE)

Similar to Net Nanny, Kaspersky Safe Kids enables you to keep an eye on and control your kids’ online and mobile activities. With an unlimited number of child devices, Kaspersky’s paid subscription is reasonably priced at $15 per year. A free plan is also available, which offers screen time limits, website filtering, and app management.

Geofencing for iOS and Android devices, location tracking, and social network monitoring are all included in the paid subscription. Both iOS and Android support device scheduling and web monitoring. On iOS, however, app management is limited to age-restricted app blocking.

Furthermore, Kaspersky offers features that are unavailable on Macs, such as the ability to block particular YouTube searches and examine search history on Windows, iOS, and Android devices—including the YouTube app on Android.

A slow web portal, poor mobile app design, and possible problems with web filters on less widely used browsers are some minor drawbacks. In general, Kaspersky Safe Kids is a good option if you don’t mind reading the texts your children send and receive.

An independent German organisation that tests antivirus and security apps for Windows and Android just awarded Kaspersky Safe Kids its seventh consecutive AV-TEST Approved Certificate.

3. Qustodio

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP FOR MONITORING)

Qustodio works with Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, iOS and Android devices, and Amazon Fire tablets. You can use it to set time limits for particular devices and apps.

Both iOS and Android users can use its location tracking features, which include geofencing and a Family Locator that displays where you are of all your kids at once. Qustodio can handle all Android apps and about 6,000 iOS apps, but its web filtering performs less well on mobile devices.

Qustodio is one of the few tested apps that can see message contents, block phone numbers, and keep an eye on a child’s texts and calls—especially on Android. But in order for these features to work, you need to sideload a specific version from Qustodio’s website. Qustodio may be the app of choice if these features are essential to you.

The primary drawback is its expensive price, which can go up to $138 annually for 15 devices.

4. Norton Family

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP FOR BIG FAMILIES)

For families with several children who use Windows and Android, Norton Family is a robust and feature-rich choice. It is among the best options in this category because it provides extensive parental control features, including the most recent addition of geofencing.

The iOS and Android operating systems are compatible with the location tracking, time scheduling, and web filtering and monitoring features of the service. However, only Windows and Android devices are eligible for time allotments, and the iOS version lacks app management.

Norton Family has solid web filtering, which works well on iOS devices as well. It can also keep an eye on YouTube and Hulu content. Additionally, it has a function called School Time that is meant to help kids in maintaining focus when learning remotely.

Certain Norton antivirus suites, such as Norton 360 Deluxe, which is frequently available for as little as $50 a year during promotions, come with Norton Family for free. This makes, unless your kids use Macs exclusively, combining Norton Family with Norton’s dependable antivirus protection an appealing option.

5. OurPact

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP FOR IOS)

Once the most popular parental control app for iPhones, OurPact came across difficulties because of Apple’s limitations, resulting to its temporary removal from the App Store. It can still control or ban any iOS app, though, just like its Android comparable.

OurPact is excellent at scheduling and involves kids in properly allocating their daily screen time. Users can block messaging apps without obtaining message content and receive screenshots from their child’s iOS device with its Premium Plus plan.

Its time management UI is a little complicated, and its website filtering only bans adult content. OurPact doesn’t track past locations, but it does offer geofencing and location tracking tools to keep an eye on a child’s arrivals and departures from particular areas.

OurPact has a well-designed interface and user-friendly features despite these drawbacks, making it especially useful for parents of young iPhone users.

6. Google Family Link

(THE BEST PARENTAL CONTROL APP FOR ANDROID)

The only free option on this list is Google Family Link, which provides extensive control and usefulness, especially if your kids use Android devices. The app offers a special feature not present in other parental-control apps: it lets parents control the system permissions for each app on their child’s Android device. It also gives parents the authority to decide what kinds of apps their children can download from Google Play.

The Google Family Link child app does not currently have an iOS version, but parents can still monitor their children’s devices on an Android or iOS device. Android is a recommended platform for children’s apps because of its greater insight and control.

Google Family Link does, however, have certain restrictions. For “mature sites,” it has just one web filter, which isn’t very good. YouTube is filtered using the same method. Basic location tracking is available, with no geofencing features. All the same, the time-management features work well.

For parents who are mainly worried about keeping an eye on their kids’ app usage, Google Family Link might be adequate. It can also be used together with other apps listed on this page to provide parents with even greater parental control.

How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for Your Family

How to Choose the Best Parental Control App for Your Family

Your needs for a parental control app primarily depend on your children’s ages. It’s important for parents of kids under 12 to be able to filter out unwanted websites, so it might be worth looking into an app that works with Amazon’s Fire tablets.

It may be necessary for parents of teenagers to allow their children to access certain online content under strict supervision as long as they are aware of their location. Additionally, it’s essential to keep an eye on their messaging apps and follow where they are, particularly at night. It’s also a good idea to think about a service that manages both your teens’ smartphones and Windows and Mac computers.

Especially for Android devices, the best parental control apps usually include basic features like scheduling screen time, location tracking, website filtering, and app blocking.

Geofencing is a useful add-on feature that alerts you if your child’s phone leaves a specified safe area, such as school or a relative’s house. The majority of these apps allow you to monitor from your computer or smartphone via a web interface.

Certain applications can even log and block calls and texts, and in certain situations, they can even read text messages—though there are some extra steps involved. However, it is illegal to listen in on phone conversations, and none of the top parental control apps allow for this.

How We Test the Best Parental Control Apps

Our focus was on parental control apps that go beyond simply monitoring a child’s usage of a smartphone to include filtering and limit setting before the child even opens an account. During our comprehensive examination, we took into account the following factors:

Cost: How much does the service cost, and how many kids or gadgets are included in the coverage?

Installation: How simple is it to install and configure the application on various devices?

App management: How much control is provided by the app to keep an eye on, prevent, or limit smartphone usage? Is it possible to see every app that is installed on the child’s device?

What features does each app offer for filtering? To what extent does it weed out content that you deem unsuitable?

Time management: What resources does the app offer for controlling the allotted screen time?

Message management and texting: Is it possible for you to see what your child texts you? Can you block particular contacts or impose rules? Does it send you updates on new connections? Is it possible to allow or ban third-party messaging apps completely?

Tracking your location: Can you find your child in an emergency using the app? Does it record where they were before? Can geofence areas be established?

We recently tested the Google Pixel 4XL running Android 11, the iPhone 12 running iOS 14.2, and the Lenovo Yoga C940 running Windows 10.

Every supported platform was tested twice, from installation to uninstallation, for every app. The Lenovo Yoga C940 was mainly used for monitoring, and an iPhone was used to test features that were relevant to smartphones.

The best parental control apps for Android typically have more features than their iOS equivalents; the only app that offers comparable features on both platforms is OurPact.

Although we are aware of the functional variations between the platforms, we did not give the iOS and Android versions of each app separate ratings and reviews.

Apple and Google have limited the functionality of text and call monitoring. Qustodio provides a modified version of its Android app for sideloading, and MMGuardian uses a PC or Mac to analyse iOS phone backups and replaces the stock SMS app on Android.