How to Monitor an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch


This article is for compatible iOS devices on the Bark Premium plan. For monitoring iOS devices on the Bark Jr plan, click here

When you set up up an iOS device for monitoring, we can alert you to potential problems like bullying, depression, child predators, and anything else that may require a conversation with your child.

To monitor texts, iMessages, photos, videos, notes, Chrome browsing, and voice memos for potential problems, you will need to install our Bark computer application on your home laptop or computer. 

This is because of Apple's stringent security on their devices, which prevents third-party mobile apps (not just Bark) from monitoring device activities. The good news is, we've created the Bark Desktop App to help.

The Bark Desktop App analyzes your children's iOS devices by creating a backup. These backups take snapshots of everything on the device (those previously mentioned texts and photos, for example) so that they can be analyzed by Bark. 

After the first-time setup, the iOS texts, photos, videos, and more will be analyzed wirelessly and automatically over Wi-Fi whenever your child and their devices are home and sharing the same network as your computer. 

Let's get started!

What kind of computer will you be using?



NOTE: Chromebooks use a different operating system, so they don't support the Bark Desktop App at this time.

How do I set up Screen Time management for my child's iOS device?

To set up Screen Time & Web Filtering on your child's iOS device, download the Bark Kids app onto your child's iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. For instructions, click here: Set up Screen Time on iOS

NOTE: The Bark Kids app only does web filtering & screen time -- it does not monitor text messages, photos, or videos. The Bark Desktop App is what allows you to monitor text messages and more on iOS devices.

How do I monitor the messages, documents, photos, etc on social media?

On your dashboard, you can connect your child's email and social media accounts for monitoring with your child's login credentials. These will be monitored at the account-level and in real-time. This means that if your child engages in worrisome activity on those platforms on an unmonitored device ⁠— like their friend's phone ⁠— Bark will still alert you

What if my child doesn't have email or social media accounts?

That's okay! You can still set up Screen Time & Web Filtering on your child's iOS device. You can then manage access to particular apps and sites: Managing Screen Time & Web Filtering Rules

In addition, your child's Apple ID email is a perfect email to connect for monitoring, since Bark can alert you if your child creates new accounts using that email address, in addition to alerting you to worrisome content in emails sent and received to that email address.

Often, this is an iCloud email address, which has unique connecting steps:
Monitor iCloud Emails

If it's a different type of email address, like Gmail or Outlook, check out the connection instructions here: Monitor Other Emails and Social Media

Is the Bark Desktop App related to iCloud backups?

Because of Apple's security over their iCloud system, we do not monitor your child's iOS device from iCloud backups. Instead, we monitor iPhones, iPads, and iPods with the help of the Bark Desktop App that you will be installing on a Windows or Mac computer.

Is my child's iOS device compatible with Bark?

Bark is able to monitor iOS devices with Apple's iOS 11 or later. 

Unsure which version your child's device is on? 

  • Tap on their Settings app > General > Software Update
  • If the version is 11 or later, then Bark can monitor your child's device!
  • If it's older than version 11, then we may still be able to monitor the device, but we won't know for sure until you give it a try by following the steps above.

NOTE: At this time, Bark is not compatible with Beta versions of iOS.

Will I have to plug in my child's device to my home computer every time?

No, but you can always do that if it's easier or if you have a slow Wi-Fi day! After the first-time setup, if your child's device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the computer, and it's been longer than 6 hours since the last analysis, your child's device will be analyzed wirelessly and automatically. You can also force a backup to occur at any time. If you're having trouble with this, check out our troubleshooting guide.

What if my computer is connected via ethernet / CAT5 cable to the router, will it still be able to do wireless analyses of my child's device?

Yes, as long as they are sharing the same internet network (e.g. both connected to a network named SmithFamily), the wireless analyses of your child's device can still take place.

What if I have a Chromebook or Linux computer, will that support the Bark Desktop App?

Because Chromebook and Linux are different operating systems from Windows and Mac, the Bark Desktop App is unable to be installed on those computers at this time. You can still take advantage of monitoring email, social media, and screen time management!


Need help?

Check out our iOS Troubleshooting solutions. Bark Support also has your back. Please reach out to us!