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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
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
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.