The Easiest Way to Inspect Your Child’s iPhone

by Barry Crutchfield ( Parents often tell me they have no idea where to begin when it comes to  inspecting their child’s phone.  In this post, I will discuss one of the easiest inspections anyone can do on their child’s iOS device. It begins with the Settings button.



I love the Settings button. Think of it as the Holy Grail of your kid’s iOS device.  It’s no secret among programmers that Apple iOS is a closed operating system, and it simply does not allow developers to do certain things like create an app that takes photos without using the native iOS camera software that is built into the device.  Apple has been incredibly successful with their closed system because it prevents developers from creating apps that don’t work well or crash the device.   Because of Apple’s closed system, it is easy to find suspicious apps, even when they don’t appear on the home screen.  As a parent, I really appreciate Apple’s closed system because it allows me to perform quick inspections on a regular basis.

Want to know if you child has Snapchat, even though you don’t see the yellow app button on any of the home screens?

Go to the Privacy Settings!

Want to know which apps are tracking your child’s location?

Go to the Privacy Settings!

Want to know if your child has a decoy app (an app that typically looks like a calculator but is actually used to store photos not intended for parents to see)?

Go to the Privacy Settings!




How to Access Privacy Settings: 

Select Settings > Privacy > Location Services or Photos or Camera


Location Services: Here you will see a list of all installed apps that use the built in GPS features of the device:



Photos: Here you will see a list of all installed apps that access the built in photo albums.  Be on the lookout for calculator apps on this list as they are likely decoy apps where kids store photos they don’t want partners to see.




Camera: Here you will see a list of all installed apps that access the iOS camera.  If the app takes a picture, it’s on this list.



The Privacy Settings method is a very easy was to spot suspicious apps on your child’s iOS device.

About Me:

My name is Barry Crutchfield and I live in Austin Texas with my wife, three boys and a dog.  I am cofounder of Toxic Apps LLC, a company dedicated to keeping children safe in today’s digital world.  For more information please visit

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The descriptions of and warnings related to the various Apps discussed herein are based on opinions of Toxic Apps, LLC, and have been developed in a good-faith effort to educate parents of minors and to  define risks for children. Others may have wholly different opinions.

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