Enable “Kid Mode” on iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with Guided Access in iOS

Sep 25, 2012 - 15 Comments

Kid Mode on iPad with Guided Access

The iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone make excellent toys and learning tools for kids, but if you’ve seen a youngin’ with an iOS device you know it’s only a matter of time before the inquisitive mind of a child escapes the current application and ends up elsewhere. That inevitable sequence can be stopped in its tracks thanks to Guided Access, a great new feature brought to iOS in 6.0 that basically functions as “Kid Mode”, whereby any iOS device can be locked into an application with the hardware buttons disabled. This is one of those must-have features for teachers and parents, and using it is easy.

Enabling “Kid Mode” in iOS with Guided Access

As mentioned already, you will need iOS 6 or later to have this feature.

  • Open “Settings” and tap on “General”
  • Navigate to “Accessibility” and under the Learning section tap on “Guided Access”
  • Flip the switch to ON, then tap “Set Passcode” to set a password you’ll use to escape out of Guided Access mode
  • Choose whether or not to Enable Screen Sleep, turning it ON will help sustain battery life when the iPad, iPod, or iPhone is left inactive

Enable Guided Access in iOS

Now that Guided Access is configured, you can use it to lock the iOS device into any app you want.

Using Guided Access to Lock Into an App

  • Launch any app as usual, then triple-click the Home button to summon the Accessibility menu
  • Tap “Guided Access” from the menu
  • Set the Guided Access rules and swipe areas on the thumbnailed screen to disable certain areas of the screen, choose whether touch input is on or off, and whether motion works
  • Tap “Next” to enter Guided Access mode

Turn On Guided Access in iOS

The iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch is now effectively locked into the current application, and pressing the Home button will no longer leave the app. Sooner or later you’ll surely want to escape out of this mode though, but only those with the passcode set earlier can do so.

Escaping Guided Access in iOS

  • Triple-click the Home button and enter the passcode chosen during setup of Guided Access to unlock the device

You’ll now be back to the usual behavior of iOS.

If you’d like to turn off Guided Access completely, just go back to Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access > and flip the setting to OFF. You’ll need to enter the passcode again to do so.

Though the Mac doesn’t have the same features to lock into an app by default, there are some simple tips to make Macs more kid-friendly too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

15 Comments

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  1. Dr Hicks says:

    Reminds me of Atease

  2. Tarsier says:

    It should be noted that sometimes, changing the orientation of the device is enough to place buttons in an unprotected area of the screen, thereby allowing the user to escape a lot of restrictions. Until Apple fixes this, it is much too easy for children to snap out of the reserved screen or feature(s), even completely by accident.

    • Mike says:

      Yes this is true, but if you use screen orientation lock it won’t be a problem. Most of the time you just put a game or book with a kid and they stay in landscape mode.

      The only potential issue I noticed is you can still reboot the iPad/iPhone by holding Home + Power for 15 seconds, though that probably must stay in place for a variety of reasons.

  3. Alex says:

    Well there are some bugs with this, some apps are getting stuck in Guided Access and you can’t get out. Great. Apparently not enough beta testing with third party apps!

  4. I hit this problem when I was testing the feature with iOS Notes app, so it is not just 3rd party apps. However having hit the problem and use the reboot work around I have not been able to recreate the problem.
    Can anyone recreate the problem consistently if so can it be reported to Apple?

  5. Venryx says:

    Yes, the bug is very annoying. Note to readers that it’s a genuine bug: in some apps, sometimes, triple clicking the home button and power button fails to do anything, while in Guided Access, so you cannot even enter the password.

  6. Sarah says:

    OMG I did this and now it is stuck! It says to triple click the home button to get out, but when I do nothing happens! My iPad is stuck on the Sprout app and I can’t turn it off or anything! WTF do I do???

  7. Ali says:

    This is awesome!! Fantastic to now know how to use this for my 14 month old loves hitting the home button on the iPhone and iPad, closing her Fisher Price Apps.
    THANK YOU!!!!

  8. fritz says:

    my mine is ipad mini, i am stuck on viber..
    any one can help me back to original settings..
    thank you so much

  9. Maria says:

    Like it

  10. Jake says:

    my ipad is stuck in a guided access mode, and wont work, as it will only reboot and I will enter my password only to be locked to my homescreen. I can touch the screen and nothing happens. the words “Guided access app unavailable. Please contact your administrator” are in the middle of my homescreen, and will not go away. this is a school ipad, so respond ASAP because until this is fixed it is useless.

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