Microsoft announced the Family Safety app back in March when it rebranded Office 365 subscriptions to Microsoft 365. The Redmond firm began taking sign-ups for a preview and the preview became available to those users in May. Now, after a couple of months in testing, the company has announced that the service is being made available to Android and iOS starting this week.
The app – as the name suggests – lets users keep a tab on family members and their digital usage. It lets users set screen limits, restrict access to certain websites for children, and even keep a tab on members’ whereabouts through location sharing. In addition to these, parents can also choose to receive weekly activity reports to monitor not just usage stats, but also the content that they are consuming.
In addition to the usage reports, as mentioned earlier, parents can set app limits for children, limiting the time that they spend on games and the like. The firm has also added the ability to block certain apps. As for web browsing, parents can also ensure that adult content is blocked, and web search filters are applied for searches using the Edge browser. This works on Windows, Xbox, and Android.
Along with content moderation and usage limits, the Family Safety app also lets parents avoid accidental and unwanted purchases since they can enable purchase requests. The feature allows for parents to approve requests that are served via email when family members or children initiate a purchase.
Lastly, location sharing in Family Safety lets users “stay connected in the real world” when it is safe to go out. Users can also set favorite locations such as Home and ensure that members are “safe and sound”. The company is also working to bring location alerts to the app, a feature that alerts users when a family member enters or leaves a specific location. Another feature that will also be making it to the tool is ‘drive safety’, a functionality that will “help to build better habits behind the wheel with insights on driving behavior”. Not much else is known about the feature.
While most of the features are available for Android, Windows, and Xbox users, the ability to set app limits and search filters will make it to iOS in the future. It must also be noted that SafeSearch and other web controls can be enforced on the Microsoft Edge browser on Android, Windows, and Xbox and will need users to be logged in to their Microsoft account.
While you can head to the Play Store on Android to download the app, the iOS version is still not live and should be made available soon.
Update: The iOS version of the app is now available on the App Store here.