The Premium service is a nightmare to set up.
Signing up for the FREE plan, and the $1.99 PLUS PLAN was pretty straight forward. In no time at all, I had my kid’s iPads and iPhones all logged in and paired to my iPhone so I could control their screen time. Wow, piece of cake I thought! So hey, why not go for the $4.99 a month PREMIUM Plan, I figured, so that I could get the extra features. But it turns out that if you upgrade to the $4.99 a month PREMIUM PLAN you have to actually download a special utility onto your MacBook or PC, and then navigate through a very cumbersome process, in which you are directed by screen prompts on your computer to go into the settings on your kid’s devices and jump through hoop after hoop, which included, turning their find my phone feature off, and even backing up the entire contents of your child’s devices onto your MacBook or PC. I got the spinning wheel of death on the first two tries, and on the third try (two hours of my day wasted) it finally made it through the backup. But then more prompts popped up, asking me to go back into my child’s iPad to turn off the encryption settings etc., etc., etc. At that point I said enough is enough, and decided that with three more devices to go, I was not going to spend the rest of my busy day navigating though this convoluted process just for a few more features that the premium service offered. So yeah, the premium subscription is probably not a good option for us folks who aren’t techies, or for that matter for us folks who don’t have a whole lot of time to spend—and I’m talking a whole lot of time.
Poor execution - lacks basic controls
This is my second attempt at using this app in the week trial phase. The horrible reviews on the Jr. side are funny and clearly an indicator that the kids hate this app, so that’s a positive for me. What we have struggled with is confusing and convoluted installation instructions for the Premier version. Product support only available by email. The latest incident? After 1 day(!) our 12-year old just deleted the Jr. app from her phone despite Restrictions turned on in iOS, despite the OurPact app being blocked on her phone. It’s that simple apparently. No, this app needs a lot more UX and functionality improvements before it ever becomes a useful tool for parents.
App and Customer Service Fall Short
This app has potential but fall short. I paid for the upgrade which I NEVER got! That does not include the fact I can’t access the website properly because there are errors in there system. I have tried contacting customer support and even messaged them on FaceBook, they told me that someone would be in contact with me and I never heard back.
Somewhat effective, but with many holes
The first iteration (now the free tier) left the News up enabled when in blocked mode. It took my 8 year old less than a day to discover that all he needed to do was find an article with a YouTube video, watch it to the end and be free to browse the rest of YouTube, all while the browser is supposed to be turned off. I was initially hopeful about the premium subscription version as it lets you remove the News app as well. It didn’t take long for my kid to discover that he can type the YouTube url in a document in the google docs app and open said url. What this service really needs is a customizable url blocker that allows parents to control what urls are blocked, with one set that’s always on and one set that’s linked to block/grant state.
We were hoping that the premium version would let us have a disabled mode that only allows homework activities, but the current implementation is inadequate for the purpose, at least for kids somewhat motivated to get past restrictions. Certainly not worth $5 per month as currently implemented.
Needs Work, REALLY Hoping to Change to 5 Star! 😬
First off, I really DO love this app and the entire concept behind it. It is SO valuable in teaching today’s technologically advanced kids, time management skills and responsibilities! I do understand just how difficult creating an app like this is for the iOS devise and getting a third party app access to control other devises. Apple security won’t really allow for apps to do that, it’s a security issue, people don’t want their devises hacked and controlled if they aren’t children! So I commend the developers on being able to find work arounds at ALL, when it seems they are being forced to fight Apple every step of the way. Apple really should have taken the initiative to create a native app for parental controls and time management of children, not just accessibility! So again, I commend these developers big time! 👏
With that said... there are still too many glitches that need working out with this app. The install and set up is UNREAL involved and confusing for premium members. I am not computer illiterate either. When I got my daughter a new iPad, trying to add and install this new devise took days and contact support for assistance.
The app scrambling is maddening, there is no other way to put it. Again, I respect just how difficult it is to find work arounds for all the random issues with iOS but sincerely, it’s maddening to deal with as a parent. Even trying to arrange all the apps in to folders in the OurPact Jr app is stupid time consuming. This also makes it difficult for adding and deleting apps. If you don’t want to pay for the premium app, forget about it! Having to deal with the app scrambling will be a huge deal breaker.
Now I have run in to a NEW issue. Everything was working fine for weeks and this morning, all iPads are now showing “Grant Pending” claiming that none of the iPads either have good WiFi/internet signal OR were on airplane/sleep mode; neither of which was the case for all these iPads. Tried turning them off and on... no luck. The OurPact Jr app on each devise is showing that they DO have access, but clearly they don’t, because besides OurPact and Settings, there are no apps on any devises now. Ummm... what the heck happened!? We didn’t even do a system update on these devises and now this!?
I will say this... the customer support from the developers IS really good and prompt! But the fact remains that premium users should NOT be having this many problems, this consistently. I have used the paid app for 2 months on a daily basis. When it’s working, it’s hands down the app I own! But when it’s not, it’s maddening and hours upon hours are wasted trying to work out kinks and get it back to normal. So my rating stands... IT NEEDS WORK!
Kid figured out loop hole
By Cajun gambit
If the kid knows what time it locks, then he or she can just stay on it. It will stay unlocked until they lock their phone and when they go to use it the the parent lock starts to work. No good!
Love everything about this app except setting up
Spent 6 hours setting up 3 devices. No live chat for support. The process was complicated and didn't work every time. Had to start over many times. Very frustrating, but worth it in the end.
This should be #1 app installed on your kids phone!!!
I truly cannot boast enough about this app...if I could give it 10 stars I would!!!
I have been using this app for several years and have never looked back! I have also been paying for premium services since it started and it’s money well spent.
The upgrades this app has gone thru since first using has been amazing. Now, Touch ID (my daughter would go into my phone and turn her schedules on thru parent phone). Fantastic....because I was just telling myself this about a month ago they needed Touch ID and now here it is!!
Setup is a bit tricky and I always cross my fingers when I have to download it onto a new phone. Patience is a virtue...
I haven’t played around with the web content blocker. So I’ll review that later.
The OurPact “follow me” doesn’t get a lot of use because truthfully “find iPhone and find friends” on iOS works much more seamlessly (sorry OurPact developer). It always says she is somewhere that is totally different from where “find friends” sad she is. So, not a big deal to me.
The app scramble works but I think it could be worked on some more. For instance page 1 is really all she uses. If it could mimic the way iOS groups their pages, apps and folders my daughter would use it more.
Despite those very small tweaks it is still by far the best app for monitoring my daughter’s phone!
THANK YOU OurPact for your hard work and continuing to give OurPact better upgrades!!
I went ahead and gave it 5 stars anyway. I am an iOS developer myself, and I know the incredible amount of thought and work that goes into creating something like this. I have read some of the other reviews and I have to say that most of the negative reviews are just silly. Of course you need an internet connection. How else is the device going to receive commands. Of course the installation is involved.
Honestly though, the installation took me less than 5 minutes - and wasn’t difficult at all. I can understand that some people may get confused - but honestly - you must realize what the developers at Our Pact have created is no easy feat. We have tried just about every parental control app available all to our dissatisfaction. Our Pact accomplishes 95% of what we were looking for.
Having said that, the reason this review is entitled “Almost Perfect” is because there is one thing this app is missing. That is the monitoring of which web sites the child goes to as well as the monitoring of text messages and whatnot. However, the reason I gave this app 5 stars is due to the fact that this app’s purpose isn’t to monitor, but rather to teach children good device habits and accountability as well as personal responsibility. Well done! Thank you for all of your effort and hard work!
1) Setup is overly complicated and takes way too long. It involves several steps and 2 different apps.
2)The app completely destroys your kids folders and makes a mess of their phone. They tell you to prevent this "app scrambling" bug, you have to buy the premium version. I call that ransomware.
3)The solution in the premium version involves using their app to redo all the organization the app just undid. Its very tedious.
4)The app leaves many of my child's apps still available for them to use when locked. Again, in order to block them all you have to buy the premium subscription.
5) The app only works if your child has an internet connection. By putting the phone on airplane mode, he can shut it off effectively.
6) In order to "unlock" the premium features, you have to plug your child's phone into a computer and save a backup of it on the computer. As I only use the icloud for backups, this took a very long time and significant hard-drive space.
There are better options currently available. I'm mad I wasted so much time setting this up and the first time I tried to lock my child's phone remotely it said "lock pending" for hours as his internet connection wasn't good enough for the app...however, it was good enough for minecraft. After all the work of setting it up, I ended up using the low tech solution of taking it from him and hiding it. Ourpact needs to make a pact to improve this nonsense.