Our team of educators and parents spend their days managing devices, apps and kids. They have come across many of their own struggles and often field questions about apps and devices from the greater KinderTown community. This series of blog posts contains their answers to frequently asked questions, plus tips for maximizing time and limiting issues when dealing with apps and devices. (While these tips are written for Apple users, much of the advice can be adapted to apply to Android devices.)
Tips for Configuring Your Devices
Questions answered below:
- How can I better organize all of my apps? I have a lot and it’s starting to get messy.
- How do I prevent my child from making unintended purchases?
- How do I turn off or adjust my notification settings?
- How do I permanently delete an app?
How can I better organize all of my apps? I have a lot and it’s starting to get messy.
Few people know better how to organize apps than our education experts. In order to find the 600+ apps in KinderTown, they’ve had to download thousands more (that’s because most apps don’t get approved.)
Here’s what they suggest for making it easy for you and your kids to find the app you’re looking for.
Don’t keep all of your apps on your device – Apple knows what apps you own, even if they’re not on your device. What this means is, you can delete apps you’re not using from your iPad, and download them again if you happen to need it later. To re-download an app, just search for it again in the App Store.
If you just want to browse all of the apps you’ve ever purchased, there’s a way to do that too. Launch the App Store. On the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen you will see “Purchased.” On iPhone or iPod touch, tap “Updates” from the bottom navigation bar, then tap “Purchased.” If you’ve downloaded a lot of apps, it might take awhile for your Purchased apps to load.
Connect to your computer for faster organizing – Connect your device to your computer and launch iTunes. (These directions are for users of iTunes 11, the latest version of iTunes. You can do this on other versions too but the directions might be slightly different). In the upper right-hand corner, just beneath the search bar you will see “iPhone” or “iPad” depending on what device you plugged in. Click this button.
In the next screen, you will see “Apps” across the top. Click on it. In this screen, you should see the different pages on your device and the apps on each page. You can click and drag the apps around to move them. When you’re done, click “Sync” at the bottom and your device will now reflect your new organization.
Create folders and organize apps by subject or category – You create folders by dragging one app on top of another. Folders can hold up to 12 apps. You can name your folders after subjects like “Math” or “Letters.” You might also try unique labels such as “In the Car,” “Quiet Time,” or “Group Play.”
Create a folder for each child – Unless you have multiple children using the same app, you might also organize your folders by child.
Group related apps on the same page – Instead of creating folders, you can also designate a specific page for different categories. Again, maybe page 2 has all your “Language” apps and Page 3 has all your Science apps. Each page holds 16 apps and folders.
Use “Search,” also known as “Spotlight” – The fastest way to find any app that’s not on the first page of your device, is to go to the home screen and swipe from left to right (like you would to go to a page to the left). A search bar will appear. Type in the name of the app you’re looking for and watch it show up.
How do I prevent my child from making unintended purchases?
Apple has become much more thoughtful about giving you the power to prevent unintended purchases (maybe because they were recently sued by a group of parents for accidental purchases made by their children.)
Here are the steps you can take:
Change the time limit for “Require Password” – You can make it so you must enter a password every time an app is downloaded or updated or an in-app purchase is made. Go to Settings > Restrictions. Tap “Enable Restrictions.” Scroll down and tap “Require Password.” Select the option “Immediately.”
Now you just need to keep your password from your child. They seem to be great at watching and memorizing the buttons you tap…
Turn off in-app purchases – Similarly, you can turn off in-app purchases altogether. Again, go to Settings > Restrictions. Tap “Enable Restrictions.” Scroll down to “In-App Purchases” tap the toggle so it switches to “OFF”
Getting a refund – What if your child makes an accidental purchase anyway? Unfortunately, getting a refund is difficult. The iTunes App Store sales policy explicitly prohibits refunds, but sometimes they make an exception. What you need to do is locate your email receipt with the purchase and click the “Report Problem” link. Follow the directions to report the problem of “I inadvertently purchased this application.”
How do I turn off or adjust my notification settings?
Notifications are the messages, sounds, and red circles that appear on your device from time to time. Developers love notifications because they are the best way to send a message to a user. Users love them too when they’re useful; however, they can often be annoying. A developer can’t tell who wants them and who doesn’t, so it’s up to the user to turn notifications off if they don’t want them. Here’s how you can do that:
1. Don’t turn them on in the first place – an app must ask your permission to send you notifications. Usually, you’re asked the first time you open an app. You might want to get in the habit of saying no every time and then turning them on later if you want them.
2. Turn off notifications for each individual app – Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t offer a central “kill switch” for turning off all notifications, but you can turn them off for individual apps. Go to your “Settings” app and then tap “Notifications.” Here, you will see 2 lists of apps broken up by those “In Notification Center” and those “Not In Notification Center.”
When you select an app you’ll be shown a lot of options (again, it’d be nice if it were simpler.) Here’s what those options mean:
Notification Center – The Notification Center is what you see when you pull down the top menu bar on your phone. All notifications are stored here until you read or delete them or until they expire. Do you want to see messages from the selected app here? If not, turn the slide to “Off”
Alert Style – This controls what happens when an app tries to send you a message while you’re using your phone. Selecting “Banners” means they’ll appear at the top of your device. Selecting “Alerts” means they’ll appear as a rectangular box in the middle of your device’s screen. If you don’t want to see anything, select “None.”
Badge App Icon – A Badge App Icon is the red circle with a number that appears on the corner of an app icon. You’re probably accustomed to seeing these on your App Store app when you have updates to download. Turn this to “Off” to hide them.
Sounds – Perhaps you’re okay with the above messages but you don’t want to receive any sounds that may wake you up in the middle of a nap or interrupt a conversation. If that’s true, turn this to “Off.”
View in Lock Screen – Maybe you just don’t want to see the messages in your Lock Screen. That’s the screen you see first when you’re phone is in sleep mode. Again, turn this to “Off” to prevent notifications appearing here.
Turn all of these options to “Off” or “None” to completely turn off notifications for an app. And remember, you must do this for each app to truly turn off notifications altogether.
How do I permanently delete an app?
We get it. You’re one of those people. You just can’t stand the thought of extra clutter in your life. There’s no such thing as “out of sight, out of mind” as far as you’re concerned. In other words, just deleting the app from your device is not enough. You want that app GONE.
(In case you didn’t know – deleting an app from your device doesn’t delete it from your account. That means the app can show up again if you sync your device to iTunes or it can show up on another device.)
Here are the steps:
1. Open iTunes on your desktop. Make sure you’re connected to the internet so that your account is populated with any apps you may have downloaded recently that you may want to remove.
2. (Assuming you’re in iTunes 11) Near the upper left hand corner you will see a small drop down button. Select “Apps”
3. Now you’ll see all of the apps you have downloaded for this iTunes account across all of your devices. Find an app you want to delete and right click on it (hold “control” + click). Select “Delete”
4. When prompted, choose “Move to Trash”
The app is now gone from your account. If the app is on your device, it will automatically be deleted the next time you sync your device to iTunes.