Troubleshooting the Bark Phone™

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Paola
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First-Time Activation

When first setting up your Bark Phone, you'll have to do some minimal amount of work to get it activated. Learn more here: How To Set Up the Bark Phone™

You can tell if you've activated the Bark Phone under your child if...

  • When opening the Bark Guard Dog app bark parent app.webp, you see their assigned number
  • When opening the Bark Kids app bark kids app.webp, it's already logged in and associated with the child
  • When opening your parent dashboard, there is a Bark Phone tile under the child 

Due to network speeds, your first-time setup of the Bark Phone may take a few minutes to sync up with our servers. To speed that along...

  • Connect the child's Bark Phone to a Wi-Fi network
  • Wait a few minutes
  • Navigate to phone.bark.us again on a parent device
  • If you're still not seeing the phone is activated, please reach out to us for further assistance.

Multiple Children

If you ordered multiple Bark Phones but are seeing they're associated with the wrong child, you'll have an opportunity to select the correct child when first activating each phone. Learn more here: How To Set Up the Bark Phone™

However, if you went through the first-time activation and accidentally selected the wrong child there, then please reach out to us with the IMEI and correct child you'd like associated with that Bark Phone.

Number Porting

If you'd like to port over an existing phone number to the Bark Phone, click here to learn more: Number Porting / Number Transfers

Error Encountered When Signing In with Child's Google Account

If you enable the App Store access for your child, Google will require the child to sign in with a Google account to be able to download apps from the Google Play App Store. 

Some Google accounts will run into trouble signing into the Bark Phone, like supervised Google Family Link accounts and school-issued Google accounts.

  • If it's a school-issued Google account, it usually ends in something other than @gmail.com
    (e.g. yourchild@bigredschool.org) 
  • To check whether their Google account is a Supervised Member of Google Family Link, navigate to to g.co/yourfamily on your parent device or computer. If it shows your child's Google email is a Supervised Member, you can get around this by either...
    a) stopping supervision of the Google account (if they're over 13 years old)
    b) creating a new Google Account that uses your parent birthday and using that with Bark Phone

If the above is not the issue, then it may be that you've accidentally blocked the App Stores and/or Collaboration categories in your Screen Time rules for the child.

Settings App Access

Though it's optional, we suggest you regularly suspend access to the phone's Settings ⚙ app.

Access to the Settings app may allow the child to make changes that interfere with Bark's ability to manage the device. The good news is, we block it by default and give you the ability to allow access on-the-fly when needed (for example, to change the wallpaper or add new Wi-Fi networks).

To allow or block the Settings app on the Bark Phone, click here.

All Bark Phone Apps are Greyed Out / Suspended

If all the child's apps get greyed out (except for the Dialer and Bark apps), there's a couple of reasons this may be happening:

  • You've blocked all of their apps: You can make adjustments to their app rules by following this guide.
  • Their apps have all reached their daily time limit: You can make adjustments to their app time limits by following this guide.
  • You've "paused" the device: You can undo this by following this guide.
  • You've granted the child Settings app access and they removed a permission Bark needs: If the child ever disables a setting we need for the Bark Phone, they will notice that all of their apps become greyed out except for the Dialer and Bark apps. Reach out to us for help fixing the settings we need for the Bark Phone to function as intended.
  • The device has poor internet connectivity: If the cellular service or Wi-Fi connection is poor, it may be taking a bit longer than normal to sync up with your rules.
  • Your account time zone is incorrect: Verify you've set your time zone in your Account Settings.
  • The Bark Phone time is incorrect: If the phone is showing the wrong time, the network may be picking up on the wrong time zone. On your child's phone, open Settings > tap General Management > tap Date and Time > enable Set Time Zone based on Location.

App Approval

If you've enabled app approval, it means that the child's device will be unable to use any newly installed apps until you allow them in the Bark dashboard. The child will still see the app got installed, but it will be greyed out / inaccessible until you decide whether it's okay or not.

If you've approved an app, but it's still greyed out, there's a couple of reasons this may be happening:

  • The app was accidentally blocked: You can make adjustments to their app rules by following this guide.
  • The app has already reached its daily time limit: You can make adjustments to their app time limits by following this guide.
  • The device has poor internet connectivity: If the cellular service or Wi-Fi connection is poor, it may be taking a bit longer than normal to receive the app approval request.
  • Your account time zone is incorrect: Verify you've set your time zone in your Account Settings.
  • The Bark Phone time is incorrect: If the phone is showing the wrong time, the network may be picking up on the wrong time zone. On your child's phone, open Settings > tap General Management > tap Date and Time > enable Set Time Zone based on Location.

App Time Limits

If you've enabled daily time limits for particular apps, the app becomes greyed out / inaccessible after they hit their daily time limit. 

The next day at 3:30am in your local time, the app time limit will reset and the child will be able to use the app again. If you'd like to prevent them from using an app that late, schedule a Bedtime!

Contact Approval

If you've enabled contact approval, inbound texts and calls from unapproved contacts will automatically generate a contact approval request.

Whenever the contact is approved, the child can then communicate with them via calls or texts.

Any previous calls or texts received while the contact was blocked are not recorded in their call or text message history.

To adjust your child's current contact approval settings, check out this guide.

Camera

If you've blocked the camera, they are unable to use any app's picture features that rely on the system camera, including Instagram and Snapchat. 

Some apps, like Instagram, let you use other features that don't need the camera, like browsing the feed or sending direct messages. Other apps, like Snapchat, rely on the system camera and will not let you use other parts of the app until the camera app is enabled.

To adjust your child's current camera settings, check out this guide.

QR codes

You can add a shortcut to the built-in QR code reader by doing the following:
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to access the quick-access tiles.
  • Then scroll to the right and tap on the ➕:

bark phone quick access tiles top menu add shortcut plus.png

  • Press and hold on Scan QR code then drag it down to the grouping below:

bark phone quick access scan qr code.png

  • Then tap on Done. After that, when your child taps on Scan QR code, it will bring up the camera and the ability to scan those codes.

Texting

If you've blocked texting, the orange messages app.png Messages app is greyed out and inaccessible. 

If you've allowed texting and the Messages app is accessible, but the child is unable to send or receive particular text messages, check the following:

  • Check for updates to Carrier Services: You can find this on the Bark Phone by opening the
    mceclip0.png Play Store app > search carrier services.png Carrier Services > update if applicable.
  • Check for updates to the Samsung operating system: You can find this on the Bark Phone by opening the ⚙ Settings app > scroll down to Software Update > update if applicable.
  • Ensure that Mobile Data is enabled: You can find this on the Bark Phone by sliding your finger down from the top of the screen twice and making sure Mobile Data is blue, as seen below.

mobile_data_enabled_-_bark_phone.png

If you've allowed texting, but the Messages app is still greyed out, there's a couple of reasons this may be happening:

Monitoring Alerts

Bark goes beyond blocking access -- it analyzes content on texts, photos, videos, and more. If it detects instances of depression, bullying, drug use, suicidal thoughts, or anything else that may be alarming, it will alert you.

If you are feeling like most alerts you receive are too mild, you may wish to re-evaluate your alert sensitivity settings for that child.

If you received an alert that you think was a false positive (in other words, one where you don't think an issue exists), or if you're not sure if the alert is a false positive or not, reach out to us!

Location Alerts

We've put together a guide that can help you troubleshoot Location Alerts. Please note that you may need to allow the Settings app temporarily to adjust some of the settings discussed in this guide:

Calibrate Location

Review Bark Phone Data Usage

We have a few cellular data plan options. To track how much data has been used by a particular Bark Phone in a given month, you can navigate to your Account Settings and review the Device plans section:

bark phone - device plans account settings.png

(optional) Enable Data Limits

Bark comes with a few different data plans. If your child would like to minimize their data usage in light of their plan, they can use Samsung's settings to enable Data Saver and/or set a Data Limit Warning. 

  • If applicable, enable the Settings App access for your child.
  • Grab hold of your child's Bark Phone™.
  • Open the ⚙ Settings app > tap on Connections > Data usage.
    • If you'd like, enable Data Saver.
      (Bark apps are automatically exempt from being affected by Data Saver)
    • If you'd like, you can also set a Billing cycle and data warning.
  • Once you're done, disable the Settings App access for your child.
mceclip0.png mceclip3.png mceclip2.png

(optional) Add an SD Card

The Bark Phone comes with 32GB of internal memory storage (not including the storage taken up by the system). However, if you'd like to add more storage, you can add an SD card to the device. Learn more below:

Does the Bark Phone™ have expandable memory?

Need help or have additional questions?

We are happy to assist! Reach out to Bark Support, and we'll help every step of the way.