Configuring Parental Controls in iTunes Mac

July 20, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If your family owns an Apple Mac, you might be concerned over the amount of time your children spend on the computer. They might be interested in games, word processing, the web, watching movies and listening to music – or all of the above.

The truth is it can be difficult managing who does what on the family computer, which is why the family safety tools in Mac OS X are so useful. We’ve already had a sneak peak at these on DeviceMAG recently when we looked at creating a new user in OS X, and these controls can be extended to other applications, such as iTunes.

Configuring parental controls in iTunes Mac

Designed to allow you to control the playback of podcasts, radio, movies, TV shows and access to the iTunes Store, iTunes’ parental control tools are easy to find and straightforward to use.

Setting Parental Controls as in iTunes

In order to take full advantage of these settings iTunes, you will need to be signed into your Mac as the user whose access you wish to control, before loading the app and making the required changes.

After launching the software, go to File > Preferences > Parental to find the list of available options. In the top half of the screen you have the option of disabling Podcasts, Radio, iTunes Store, Ping and Shared Libraries, and these – like everything else on this screen – need to be unlocked via the padlock icon and the administrator password entering before changes can be made.

For instance, if you wish to block access to the iTunes Store you would put a check in that box.

In the lower portion of the screen, meanwhile, you can restrict content based on ratings. These can be set to ratings in your local territory, for instance the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc., and restrictions can be applied to TV shows, movies, apps and any explicit content that might be available.

Note that this doesn’t apply to any adult material that you might have in your library that has been ripped from CD or DVD.

Finally, you can use these parental controls to share specific playlists with other users on your Mac – a useful means of controlling what music is listened to or movies are viewed.

You can set this up via Preferences > Sharing, where you can opt to share you library on the local network and either share the entire library or just selected playlists. With a playlist selected, these movies, tunes or TV shows will be available for other users on your Mac to share when they next login!

It is not difficult to take control of your Mac in this way and ensure the safety of your young family members when using iTunes. Don’t forget that by blocking access to the iTunes Store that you could also be ensuring the safety of your credit card!

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