So, you've set a filter, paused, or created a Focus Time for a profile, but the settings just aren't working. Is it just happening for one device in particular? There might be a filtering issue going on or something else. This article will help you identify the device having issues and give you steps that you can try to fix what isn't working. Note that these troubleshooting steps were written for device-specific issues in mind.
How does Circle filter and manage devices?
Requirements for managing your device with Circle:
At-home devices on your network:
- Create a parent account and some profiles.
- Set up your Circle device on your main network.
- Find and assign your devices to your profiles.
- When your devices are on the main network Circle will track their time online.
Mobile devices using data or on other networks:
- Create a parent account and some profiles.
- Add some mobile devices (only for Android, Chromebook, and iOS) with the kid app version.
- Assign your devices to your profiles.
- When your devices are connected using our app Circle will track their time online.
How does the Circle device manage devices?
Circle tracks your devices at-home using the Circle device. When you first set up Circle you pair it with your network. This allows it to communicate throughout the network with other devices through your router. It then identifies those devices by their MAC address and their device name that is communicated over the network. Circle then listens to your network for Internet activity and manages that traffic. When you set up profiles and assign devices you are telling Circle what devices to listen to, and how to treat them. If Circle can't hear those devices on your network, because of how they are configured or because they are misidentified in the Circle app, it won't manage those devices.
- Make sure you've got Circle set up: Setting up Circle Home Plus
- For Android, Chromebook, and iOS devices: Setting up the Circle Parental Controls "Kid app"
- Devices at home: Identifying and Assigning Your Devices
Which device is which?
First, we want to make sure we're looking at the right device in your Circle app. To do that, we will use your device's "MAC address." A MAC address is a unique ID number for the physical device. If you aren't sure how to figure this out, please check out this article about finding your device's MAC address.
Once you have the device's MAC address, you can follow the instructions found in this article for matching that MAC address with the proper item in your Circle device list. Once you're sure that you're looking at the right device in the Circle app, proceed on with the problem below that matches closest to what you're seeing.
Seeing many unknown devices? This may indicate an issue with one of your devices and create a situation where a device is not being managed by Circle. The unknown device may be a device you previously assigned to a profile and just needs to be removed or assigned to the correct profile. See here for how to resolve that issue.
Have the right profile?
Are you sure the device you're working with is assigned to the correct profile? Make sure the device is assigned to the correct profile so that the correct filters will apply.
Save your changes
After making a change to your profile's filter settings, make sure to save those changes by tapping the "Save" button in the top right. Otherwise, Circle won't change them!
It's always a great idea to try a restart of the application and device before digging in too deep: sometimes things just need to be restarted. Be sure to force close the application and reboot your computer or phone to see if that helps. You can also reboot your Circle via the Menu under Manage, and your router by powering it off and on.
Everything works except I can't open this website/app!
Is a particular service you're trying to use not loading? First, let's see if it shows up in your History as Filtered:
- Navigate to the assigned profile for the device.
- Tap History.
- Tap the Filtered tab.
Do you see websites listed here that you recognize and want allowed? Simply tap on the website and choose Set as Allowed or Set as Unmanaged to remove the restriction in place. You might need to set up a Custom Filter to make sure that site loads correctly. You can see what you need to allow under History and the Filtered section.
The website may be cached and is only showing previously saved data. Websites cache data to help your browser load faster. You can clear the cache on most browsers. After doing so, try to load the page again.
Check your settings!
Make sure your settings for the profile or device look correct and would filter what you mean them to. You might need to check your timing or the days you've set up for your Bedtime or Focus Time (and watch out for weekend differences). If you've set any categories, apps, or websites to Unmanaged realize those won't be Filtered even during a Pause! Check your Filter Level and make sure what you're trying to block is set to Not Allowed. Finally try making a Custom Filter.
Wait just a minute...
Circle's filter can take a few minutes to take effect, especially if you're changing the setting away from home or for devices with the Circle VPN installed. This is because the new configuration must be sent through the internet via our remote/VPN servers, which isn't as instantaneous as over your local Wi-Fi network. After tapping Save, give your device a moment to propagate those changes.
If your family is using devices outside the home or that have data access, make sure to install the Circle app and set up the Kid experience on their device to add the Circle VPN, otherwise you won't be able to manage them outside the home. For Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and iOS devices: Setting up the Circle Parental Controls "Kid app". You can always try uninstalling/reinstalling the mobile app to see if that resolves the issue.
Nothing is being filtered!
- Make sure that you've associated the device with the appropriate profile. See the section on "Which device is which?" above for help if you aren't sure.
- If you're certain that it's assigned correctly, try Pausing the profile next.
- If you are still able to access websites, make sure the websites you're testing are not "cached" (that is, already downloaded onto that device). You can avoid this by deleting cached data in your web browser or by visiting a website you know hasn't been entered before.
- Check if Pausing the specific device rather than pausing the entire profile makes a difference. If that's still not working, plug in Circle via Ethernet directly to your router and check out this article.
- For Android, Chromebook, or iOS devices make sure the Circle kid app is installed.
- Devices at-home need to be on your main network managed by Circle (they can connect to that network via 2.4ghz, 5ghz, or Ethernet). Make sure your device is on the same network you set up the Circle device on!
- You might also find that enabling Compatibility Mode helps with your network and managing devices. Set that up while connecting Circle Home Plus or later from your Circle app Menu.
- Check and see if the device can be managed if you change how Circle is connected (Ethernet versus Wi-Fi) or if the device is managed on your 2.4ghz versus 5ghz networks.
- Have a complicated network? Check out our article on Advanced or Unsupported Network configurations and work through the items there. Afterwards you can test if your devices are being managed correctly.