I wrote a post last year about Locking down your kids’ iPad with Restrictions, and it turned out to be a big hit with The Google; still is. Well guess what, since I wrote that, Apple updated iOS to version 6 and introduced a really cool, but not well-known new feature called Guided Access. It’s a great new way to lock down your iPad, if you want to place it in a public place, or give it to a child or someone with special needs. Teachers of autistic kids already are going wild for it, but you can use it on your own iPad as well. Here’s how.
Turn it on, and you’ll be asked to enter a 4-number passcode. This can be the same, or different than the passcode you set for Restrictions, and for locking your iPad. It may make sense to use the same passcode you use for restrictions; but it wouldn’t make sense at all to use the same code that you lock your iPad with: you want people to unlock the iPad and use it, you just don’t want them to disable Guided Access!
Now, Guided Access is set up. It still isn’t enabled, but now you can enable it any time you like. Here’s how. First, open an app you want to “lock” someone into. My son loves watching videos on YouTube, but I don’t want him clicking on anything else. So let’s use the new YouTube app. Open the app, go to the page you want, then triple-tap the home button. A dialog will pop up, allowing you to enable Guided Access, or invert the screen. Tap Guided Access, of course.
Now the fun begins. When Guided Access is enabled, the home button is disabled: you won’t be able to click or double-click, only triple-click. And most kids don’t have the knowledge to try that, or the dexterity to do it. Even if they do, they won;t be able to disable without the passcode.
In addition to disabling the home button, you can disable motion, so the screen won’t rotate, disable ALL touch to the screen, or just disable certain parts of the screen. If my son is watching a movie, I’ll disable the entire screen, so he can’t tap anywhere.
Now tap Start on the top-right corner, and you’re all set! The iPad won’t respond to any touch in the areas you indicated, or the home button. To disable, triple-click the home button again, enter the passcode, and you’ll be able to change settings, resume, or end Guided Access.