There is a switch in the ParentShield Portal that you can use to prevent your child’s mobile phone number being associated with iMessage or FaceTime. We set up all new accounts with this switch in the “ON” position so this protection is enabled immediately even if you have not had chance to log into the Portal for the first time.
iMessages are like WhatsApp messages in that they are encrypted and impossible to monitor, so iMessages will NOT appear in your ParentShield Portal. Unrestricted access to iMessage and FaceTime is generally not recommended for younger children.
Disabling iMessage to/from phone numbers is also a very Good Thing for any mobile phone that does not have permanent access to Mobile Data as this will provide a more stable connection. It will also mean that message threads are easier to read as they will all use the same channel. SMS.
iMessage is not SMS
iPhones are equipped with a ‘unified messaging’ platform they call “Messages”. Imaginative. This application can send regular SMS – that are send and received over the cellular network asynchronously, and iMessage which is an encrypted, synchronous, internet-based instant messenger.
In their wisdom Apple have made the two virtually indistinguishable from each other – as a rule, save the colour of the message bubble. A blue bubble for sent iMessage and a green bubble for sent SMS and a fetching ambivalent grey for incoming messages. Because Apple knows you probably don’t care much what it is apart from what it says. They are so alike it’s not unusual for new Apple users to be unaware that there is even a difference.
iMessage to a Phone Number or an Email Address
Unlike an SMS, iMessages can be sent either to an Email Address or to a Phone Number. This means that anyone who knows your child’s phone number can potentially reply with picture or video messages – which may not be what you want.
De-registering an iPhone Number from iMessage
If your child’s mobile number is receiving iMessages and you want to limit this behaviour, so all messages are SMS and monitorable, it is still possible.
Under Settings –> Messages on the phone you will find, just under the iMessage switch, the link to the list of addresses that can be used for iMessage.
It will almost always include an email address as setting up an iCloud account is obligatory on every iPhone as it’s activated but may also show a phone number.
If the list includes the Phone Number and you would like to remove it. then first make sure the “Block iMessage Activation” setting is turned on in the Portal, and then uncheck the phone number.
This will be effective immediately but it’s quite like likely that the news will not have reached every other device. To speed this process up, we recommend also using the tool that Apple provides for the purpose at: https://selfsolve.apple.com/deregister-imessage/
You will need to retrieve the code that apple sends from the Portal as that will have been blocked.