iOS 6 – Guided Access

The best new feature in iOS 6 is Guided Access!

What is guided access?

Well, one way to explain it might be kiosk mode.  What I mean is that when you enable guided access, the user of the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch will not be able to switch apps.  You essentially lock the device into one app.

How to use it:

First you need to enable it in settings.  Lunch the “settings” app -> “General” -> “Accessibility” -> “Guided access”

To use Guided Access you need to set a passcode.  This does not need to be the same as your passcode lock!

Now that you have enabled it in settings you can use it.  It does not work on the home screen so you need to launch the app that you would like to be locked on the screen.  Once the app is running press the home button three times in a row.  It is not a video game so you do not need to press it as quickly as possible.  I usually hit it in a slow steady rhythm.

On my iPhone I am presented with multiple options.  This is because I have other Accessibility options set.  Now I have the option for guided access.

On my iPad I was presented this screen:

There are cancel and start buttons in the top corners.  Along the bottom we can see that “Hardware Buttons” are “Always OFF”.  This means all buttons, including volume controls!  You can disable touches and motion using the switches on the bottom.  The other important feature is that you can draw a shape around an area of the screen that you do not want the user to access.  This can be used for a number of reasons.  You can block touches to buttons that buy in-app purchases, change settings, prevent users for using certain features of an app.

The touch blocking features seem to be limited.  When screens change the app continues to block that area on the screen.  I have played with it a bit and had trouble operating apps properly.  Please test this before you give it to someone to use!

When you are ready, hit start!

In the above screenshot you can see that I have blocked the “Help” button.  This screen makes it clear that it is blocked by greying out that area of the screen.  This is useful if you are diagnosing configurations to make the app most useful.

Any attempts to press the hardware buttons will be met with a popup that explains that Guided access is enabled.  This dialog is not interactive and will fade off the screen.

To unlock the screen, or stop using this feature, you simply tap the home button three times again.  This will pop up the passcode screen.


When you enter your password, you will not be immediately out of this feature.  You will be presented with a screen that is similar to the start screen for Guided Access.  The big difference with this screen is that the top row buttons now read “End” and “Resume”.  On this screen we can block / unblock more touches and change settings.

I am a teacher in a private school.  I like to use my iPad in school as much as I can.  The students in my school range from 3-80 years old and most students seem to be drawn to the iPad.  I have some apps that help kids study and I used to love letting them play but they almost always pressed the home button and then snooped around.  Some students just didn’t know what to do and started pressing buttons.  I have locked them into an app and let them play.  I was worried at first that they would get angry because they could not switch apps but they played and were happy.  The seemed more focused on the study app because they could not play games or erase my email.  haha.

I am pretty happy with this feature.  I have used it a few times quite successfully.

One note:  I did have a problem getting out of Guided Access on my iPad.  I could not do anything with the hardware buttons so I was getting worried.  I pressed and held the lock button and home button to reset the iPad.  This did reset the iPad and when unlocked the app that was running was still locked in Guided Access but this time I was able to unlock the screen.  I hope this bug is fixed in future iOS releases.

The app I was running in the background is one of my apps.  More details can be found here: N5 Kanji or search the iTunes store for “N5 Kanji”.  Thats the name of the app.

I hoped you enjoyed this!


3 Comments to “iOS 6 – Guided Access”

  1. YokohamaMama 26 September 2012 at 4:58 am #

    I heard about this feature but I was having trouble setting it up.
    My daughter got a little frustrated that she could not close the app but she gives up trying to change apps and studies.

  2. Zara Tretyakova 24 October 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    I always like to have a read about such things, my blog is related if you want to have a look round it please feel free. I have added yours to my bookmarks.

  3. rodney gomez 4 March 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    fix my ipod because i used guide code and now i cant go back anywhere