How to lock attention to a specific app with Guided Access for iPhone and iPad

How to restrict access to a specific app with Guided Access for iPhone and iPad

Guide access is an Accessibility feature that lets you lock the iPhone or iPad to a single app. For as long as guided access is enabled, only that one specific app can be used, and there's no way to exit it for the Home screen or any other app. Guided Access can be extremely useful in education settings, to help kids focus for learning math, language, and other skills, and for working with people on the autistic spectrum. Whether it's a writing app, drawing app, music app, math app, or a story, video, or reading app, guided access helps make sure that all attention remains on that app.

Note: Guided access can also be used by kiosks, restaurants, store, and other businesses to create a dedicated information or transaction device, and it can even be used to create a "guest mode" so you can hand your device to someone and let them use Safari, iBooks, Video, or a game without having to worry about them snooping through your personal information.

How to enable Guided Access

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Accessibility.
  4. Tap on Guided Access under the Learning section.
  5. Toggle Guided Access On.
  6. Tap on Set Passcode and choose a passcode that only you will know.
  7. Toggle Accessibility Shortcut to On so you can triple-click the Home button to enter Guided Access from wherever. You only have to complete this step if you choose.

How to use Guided Access

  1. Launch the app you'd like the intended user to have access to.
  2. Triple click the Home button to launch Guided Access.
  3. Circle any areas of the screen you wouldn't like to be accessible, if any.
  4. Tap on Options in the bottom left to choose whether or not you want to grant access to the Sleep/Wake button, Volume buttons, touch screen, and motion. Tap Done to save your selections.
  5. Tap on Start at the top of the screen to begin Guided Access.

Once Guided Access is enabled, anyone trying to leave the specific app you've locked it to will receive a banner message telling them to triple-click the Home button to exit. If they don't know the passcode, they won't be able to exit Guided Access unless and until you enter the passcode.

If you've used Guided Access on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, what do you think of it and why do you use it? Are there any improvements you think Apple could make that would allow it to be even more useful for you?

How to get more help with accessibility for iPhone and iPad

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to lock attention to a specific app with Guided Access for iPhone and iPad


Use with Caution: I experienced loss of Wi-Fi connection, app freezes & the inability to turn off the restricted access. (*iPad2)

I tried this for a client, the iPad was for the Crestron control system of their custom AV system. I got tired of people switching the Wi-Fi from the sandboxed Crestron network to the corporate Wi-Fi with Internet, then wondering why they couldn't control anything.

In about a week (maybe the long time was the problem) they couldn't control anything, and the app was basically frozen and I couldn't triple click out of the guided access settings.

I had to hard reboot the iPad.

I'm sure this is a rare example, and this feature is more intended for locking on a game for your kid so he can't go messing up other stuff.

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I assumed as much. GA probably isn't intended for extended use. I looked into the iPad configurator to accomplish the 1-app lockdown, but it wouldn't work for my situation due to varying account from client to client. It also wouldn't allow lockdown of Wi-Fi, which is all I really needed.

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@durfmobile Hi, I am also facing the same problem i think iOS 7.x.x having this bug mine is iPad 3... I also had to hard reboot the iPad. Please don't go for guided access.

I just got an iPod touch for my son. Now I give him limited access and blocked apps he shouldn't use but what about volume control?

Anyone know how to set a time limit on an app for a child (Mindcraft) as well as limit them to one app as described above? Can both be done simultaneously? Thanks!

I can't find anything in the settings on my iPhone. Maybe just set an alarm for the time you want him to turn it off, but there's nothing to stop him from turning it off that alarm.

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Here how can i disable the triple click on home button and how can i set Guided Access enable if i restart my iphone.Please help me..Thank You