Thinking about getting a new iPhone and not sure what to do with the old one? Why not give it to the kids? Basically, what you’re really doing is turning the iPhone into an iPod touch that’s kid-friendly, which is a great way to put old tech to constructive use.
Resetting the iPhone
Whenever you hand over an iPhone to someone else, it’s always a good idea to remove all data from the device and reset it back to its original state. There are two ways to reset your iPhone. The first is to restore your iPhone through iTunes. I’ve found that resetting the iPhone from the General Settings menu on the device itself is much faster, and cleaner. But before you perform this operation, be absolutely sure that you have synced and backed up your device one last time to ensure that you have everything from your iPhone that you want to keep. Once you’ve done that, here’s how to erase the iPhone’s content:
- Launch the Settings app on the iPhone.
- From General, select Reset (its at the bottom of the list).
- Click on Erase All Content and Settings.
- Click on Erase iPhone and confirm.
This will return the iPhone back to its initial state. At this point you’ll need to activate your iPhone again by connecting it to iTunes (once iOS 5 arrives, you can skip this step). Be sure not to restore the iPhone when you connect it to iTunes again for the first time. Once activated, your iPhone will be initialized for use by its new user.
Which Apple ID to sync with iTunes
You can most certainly use one iTunes account on all of your iOS devices if you like. This will allow you to install all of the games and apps you’ve already purchased onto your child’s device without having to re-purchase them. Then you can set up a separate mail account on the device specifically for your child. You may want to consider setting up a specific MobileMe account to for the device so you can find the iPhone, should they lose it. They probably will lose it, after all.
Control App Store spending
Keeping tabs on the in-app purchase habits of your kids on an iOS device can be challenging if you don’t know how. There are several different ways one can manage their family’s iTunes spending, like creating a an iTunes account without a credit card or establishing iTunes allowances through Apple’s gift card program. The most effective way is by controlling things directly on the device. By enabling Restrictions, you can stop rampant spending before it starts.
- In your device’s Settings app, go to General > Restrictions.
- Tap “Enable Restrictions” and enter a passcode. Write it down somewhere so you won’t forget.
- Disable the options you’re concerned about and adjust the content settings to your needs (e.g. turn off “iTunes,” “Installing Apps” and “In-App Purchases”).
Get a rugged case
For younger kids, I would recommend getting a protective case like the OtterBox Defender ($49.99) or the OtterBox Impact ($19.99). Don’t expect them to be bullet proof, but OtterBox has a good reputation and does offer a high level of protection. A good alternative to the OtterBox is Ballistic’s Hard Core ($29.99) case.
Stock it with fun apps
The iPod touch is the new Gameboy, plus a whole lot more. I’ve found that loading up the iPhone with a ton of games and educational titles will provide your kids hours of discovery. Plan on adding apps every so often to keep things interesting. Consider create a specialized folder of “New” apps so your kids can immediately check out your latest addition, or a “Favorites” for perennially popular titles.