YouTube is a platform with content for everyone and everyone to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean every YouTube video is safe to watch. To make the platform safer for children and teens to enjoy, YouTube restricts certain adult or potentially dangerous content so that only adults can view it.
This is YouTube’s Restricted Mode feature in action, allowing parents and network administrators to block viewing of YouTube videos and channels containing potentially unsafe topics. Here’s everything you need to know about YouTube Restricted Mode, including how to turn it on or off on your account.
What is YouTube restricted mode?
To help you understand YouTube’s Restricted Mode, it’s important to learn a little more about the types of content that Google allows on its platform.
When a YouTube channel is created, creators must ensure that the content they are publishing meets certain guidelines, which means that they are safe for viewing by YouTube’s wide audience. This means that videos with sexually explicit, hateful or dangerous content, including bad language or adult themes, are generally not allowed.
Videos that violate YouTube’s community guidelines (as they are known) are at risk of having monetization disabled, blocked, or removed. These decisions are made through manual review or account-wide AI screening. Restricted mode applies even if the video isn’t bad enough to violate these guidelines but still contains questionable content.
This limits the video’s audience to logged in YouTubers who are old enough to view the content. Restricted videos usually won’t appear by search engines and may be removed (after manual review) at a later date. If your account has Restricted Mode enabled, you won’t be able to watch restricted videos like these.
This is a good (though not great) parental control feature that helps limit the display of dangerous or unsafe content to younger audiences. This feature is also useful in some work or public settings, such as on a PC at work, where viewing certain content may not be appropriate.
How to Enable or Disable YouTube Restricted Mode on PC or Mac
Restricted mode is a safety feature that you can only turn off if you’re signed in with your Google account. You need to be over 18 to turn off this feature because YouTube automatically restricts potentially unsafe content to underage users.
Along with blocking video viewing, it also blocks users from viewing or adding comments to that video. You can disable this feature in your Google account settings if you’re over 18. If you’re under 18, you won’t be able to turn off Restricted Mode because it’s restricted based on your date of birth.
- To enable or disable YouTube Restricted Mode on PC or Mac, open YouTube website in your browser. If you are not logged in, select Log in at the top right.
- Once you’re signed in, return to the YouTube home page if you weren’t automatically redirected. Your choice profile icon in the top right, then select Restricted mode from the list.
- To quickly turn YouTube Restricted Mode on or off, select Activate Restricted Mode scroll bar. The slider will be gray when this mode is disabled and blue when it is activated. This will only temporarily activate (or deactivate) the mode in your open browser — you (and other users) can easily disable it by repeating these steps.
- If you want to enable Restricted Mode permanently in your current browser, select the slider to enable Restricted Mode, then select Lock Restricted Mode on this browser link below it. This forces anyone using your current browser to provide your password to remove the key in the future.
- You’ll need to sign in again at this point, so follow the onscreen instructions to do this, using your Google account username and password to authenticate. Once you’ve done so, Restricted Mode will remain enabled and locked in place with the slider grayed out, meaning you can’t change the setting. You can disable it by selecting profile icon > Restricted mode > Unlock restricted mode on this browser and authenticate with the correct account password.
The steps above will help you enable or disable Restricted Mode in your browser, but these steps don’t apply to your entire account and you’ll need to repeat the steps on other devices.
How to enable or disable YouTube Restricted Mode on mobile devices
If you’re using the YouTube app on Android devices, iPhones, or iPads, you’ll need to make sure you’re signed in with the correct account before continuing. The steps will vary depending on whether you’re using an Android or Apple device.
On Android devices
- On Android, open the YouTube app and select profile icon at the top right.
- inside Account menu, select Setting right to buy.
- inside Setting menu, tap Shared right to buy.
- To turn Restricted Mode on or off, tap Restricted mode scroll bar. If the slider is gray, the mode is disabled. If the slider is blue, the mode is enabled. The setting will only apply to your current device.
On an iPhone or iPad device
- To turn YouTube Restricted Mode on or off on your iPhone or iPad, open the YouTube app and sign in. Once you’ve signed in, select profile icon at the top left.
- From there, choose Setting to access the application settings menu.
- inside Setting menu, select the slider next to Restricted mode option to enable or disable the feature. If the slider is grayed out, Restricted Mode is disabled on your device (but no other devices), while the blue slider means that Restricted Mode is enabled.
Protect yourself on YouTube
Even if you enable YouTube’s Restricted Mode, it’s not a perfect solution, and some unsafe videos can slip through the hole. If that’s the case, you may need to scrutinize some of the more protective YouTube alternatives, especially if you’re concerned about kids and teens viewing unsafe content.
However, there are plenty of YouTube tips and shortcuts that you can try to make better use of the platform if you’re an adult. If you want to remove ads, you should consider subscribing to YouTube Premium (as long as YouTube is working normally). If you get stuck, don’t forget that you can delete your YouTube account completely.