If you’re like me, you probably hand your iPhone or iPad to your toddler from time to time. Maybe it’s a specific app, a video, or the photos app. Either way, it’s pretty frustrating to launch something for them only to have them immediately exit it by pressing the home button – or worse, tapping an ad banner.
In iOS 6, there is a solution for this: Guided Access.
In short, you can configure (among other things) the following measures to prevent exiting an app via home button or ads. You can even lock down intra-app functionality. An example might be the “Done” button in the Videos app to prevent exiting a parent-selected movie or show.
Let’s look at setting up Guided Access with a real app example.
First, launch the Settings app and go to “General.”
Within Guided Access, slide the slider to “On.”
Tap “Set Passcode.” This will be a four digit code you will use to exit “lock down” mode so you can actually exit the app when your child is done.
Now, we launch the app we’re wanting to lock down. For this example I’m demonstrating Guided Access with the
free formerly free, now paid and ad-supported app “Bell Ringer.“ My kids love shaking the phone to ring the bell, but my two year old frequently taps the eye catching ads.
See the ad banner? We want to keep little fingers off that for now.
To begin Guided Access, triple-tap the home key.
The Guided Access prompt appears. Now it is time to prevent access to parts of the screen we want to keep the user (in our case a child) from touching.
Draw a circle around areas of the screen you want to prevent touches. Here I circle the ad banner; I’ve also used this effectively on the Videos app on the “Done” button that exits a movie. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be perfect.
If you didn’t get a perfect circle earlier, use the dots to resize the rectangle Guided Access presents.
Once the size and position is where you want it, touch “Start.”
The app will resume full screen and you will now notice a couple of overlays – one announcing Guided Access; the other obscuring the screen area that is locked down.
Now, all hardware buttons are disabled. The Home key, when pressed, prompts us with the pass key prompt. If we enter the key correctly, the Guided Access menu reappears.
To re-enter Guided Access, tap “Resume.” To exit Guided Access (and get us where the Home key will now exit the current app), tap “End.”
Now we are back to normal and can exit the app or tap on those wonderful ads.
I used this technique on my two year old who is very well versed in iPhone buttons and app exit techniques. She fiddled with trying the home key and the Done button and after it didn’t exit a couple of times she gave up and just watched the movie she requested in the first place.
I hope you find this as useful as I have,