How To Lock Your iPad in One App [iPad Guided Access]

by Robert Burko
3 mins read

We have lots of customers who use their iPads in commercial/business settings.It’s just so incredibly practical for some many reasons. Specifically, we have many people who use their iPads by their cash register, checkout counter, or at events to get people’s email address and grow their opt-in mailing list. An app like OnSpotSocial, for example makes it easy to capture new emails and then import them into your Elite Email account.I’m always a big fan of having people type directly onto an iPad as opposed to hand-writing on a piece of paper because you get a huge jump in the accuracy of your data. I mean, there are times I can barely read my own hand-writing, let alone trying to decipher someone else’s scribbles where even one wrong character results in a bounce to an invalid address (…or worse yet, sending the email to a different person and getting a spam complaint).One of the main problems with an iPad in these commercial settings is that people can walk up to your iPad and exit the app you wanted it to be in. Worse yet, these sneaky individuals can then change around settings on your iPad… and surprise, your iPad is in Portuguese! On top of that, they can delete your apps or a whole bunch of other things you wouldn’t want them doing.So, the question becomes, how can I safely lock my iPad in my one desired app and prevent people from changing to something else?… great question!Previously I would have recommended purchasing an iPad case that locked out the “home” and “power” button. After all, preventing someone from pressing these buttons does a pretty good job of limiting what they can do. This is still a viable option that might be worth exploring. You can check out for a variety of choices.With the release of iOS6, we’ve got some new super convenient ways to keep your iPad locked in just one app. (…. thanks Apple!)The new feature is called “Guided Access” and I’ll walk you through how to set this up with a nice visual tutorial.One of the added benefits of guided access is that you cannot only lock out the hardware buttons (home & power), but also control what areas on the actual screen should be locked as well.One thing worth mentioning is that this is not only handy for us business-folks using the iPad to engage with our customers, but also for parents who are letting their child use an iPad and want to keep them in just one app. After all, I may give my daughter the iPad to play the latest & greatest Elmo game, but she certainly starts to cry the moment she hits the wrong button and Elmo disappears. Now by following the steps below, I keep Elmo front and center all the time…no more tears! :)Remember, you need iOS6 so if you’re using an iPad 1, you’re sadly out of luck.Step 1: Click SettingsStep 2: Go to “Accessibility” settings.Step 3: Select “Guided Access”.Step 4: Turn ON “Guided Access”Step 5: Click “Set Passcode”Step 6: Enter a 4 digit passcode.Step 7: Go into your desired app. (In my example, I’ll load Kayak.)Step 8: Triple tab the iPad home button. (Press the button at the bottom of your iPad three times very quickly.)Step 9: You will now see the special “Guided Access” options appear. (Make sure at this point you are in your desired app!)Step 10: Use your finger to draw a circle or rectangle for the areas of the app that you want to disable/lock. Whatever you select will NOT be clickable/selectable by anyone using your iPad. This is often useful if you want to prevent people from accessing the “Settings” of an app or (in my example below) prevent accessing the navigation menu. You can skip this step if you do not need to restrict access to certain parts of the screen.Once you are done, click “Start” to get things rolling!Step 11: Give yourself a pat on the back because you successfully enabled “Guided Access” on your iPad and locked everything down (including specific areas of the screen) to just one app. The “Home” and “Power” buttons will also be disabled.Step 12: To EXIT “Guided Access” mode, simply triple click the “Home” button. Enter your passcode and you’ll be back at the “Guided Access” setup screen you saw before. Simply click the End button on the top left corner. Now everything will be back to normal.I hope this helps make using your iPad just a little easier!

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