Microsoft launches new family security app for iOS and Android

Microsoft is launching a new family security app for iOS and Android this week. The software giant has been testing the app for the past few months, and it is designed to allow families to manage screen time and usage of the app. Parents can use the Family Safety app to receive reports on app usage and overall screen time, and even set app time limits with the ability for children to request extensions.

Microsoft Family Safety also syncs on Windows, Xbox, and Android, so time limits for games and apps will sync across multiple devices. This prevents kids from swapping devices to get some extra hours to play Minecraft or Fortnite. Specific apps can also be blocked entirely.

Content filters in the Microsoft Family Security app.

Microsoft has also added web and search filters to limit browsing to kid-friendly sites. These filters work in Microsoft’s Edge browser on Windows, Xbox and Android. Most of these screen and content filters are limited to Android on the mobile side, but Microsoft says it is also working to bring them to iPhones. There’s even a chance to block surprise spending on accounts with purchase request emails, helping to prevent thousands of dollars of credit card bills.

Family security can also be used to share location between family members. Microsoft has added a new location grouping feature during the beta phase, which allows people to see when multiple family members are in the same location. Microsoft also plans to add notifications for when family members arrive or leave a location, but this will be a premium feature for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Share location in Microsoft Family Security app.

A new drive safety feature is also on the way for Microsoft 365 subscribers. It is designed to help people develop better driving habits and provide “insight into driving behavior.” Microsoft doesn’t say exactly when it will arrive, but this unit security feature will be released in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.

If you’re interested in trying out the Microsoft Family Safety app, it’s now available on the Google Play Store and will be available on the Apple App Store later this week.

Update, Jul 28 12:35 ET: Microsoft plans to launch the app on iOS later this week.