Use Guided Access To Safely Hand An iPhone To Your Kids [iOS Tips]


Guided Access

We’ve all done it. Passed our beloved iPhone handset to a young child, in hopes that they’ll play a game for a bit and let the grownups continue drinking talking. Then the youngester in question ends up hitting the Home button, dropping into that secret stash of photos, or looking at your web history. Or even worse, playing some splatter-horror game that you forgot was even on the dang thing.

Guided Access is part of iOS 6’s accessibility options, but it can be useful for folks without the need for that specific adaptation. Here’s how to enable it for use.

First, head into the Settings app, and tap on the General tab. Then scroll down to Accessibility, and drop into that with a tap. Scroll down to the Learning section, and tap on Guided Access to, well, access those preferences.

Toggle Guided Access to ON at the top there, and you’ll be asked to set a Passcode. Use something different than your device passcode, unless ou haven’t given that to the children you’re passing the device to. If nothing else, it will freak them out when they get too precocious and try to hop out of Guided Access with your iPhone password. You can also enable Screen Sleep here, to put it to sleep on a different schedule than otherwise.

Tap the Accessibility arrow in the upper left to back out to the Accessibility preferences, and scroll down to Triple Click Home. Tap there and set Guided Access as one of the options that will pop up when you hit the Home button three times in rapid succession.

Now pop into any app you want to have the children in your life use. One of my kids’ personal favorites is Duckers, by Retro Dreamer. Triple click the home button, and the image will shrink down and give you some options. Tap–obviously–the Options button, and then set Hardware Buttons to OFF, Touch to ON, and Motion to ON, so that they can play the game, at least. If you’re using an app that has buttons or areas of the screen you don’t want the kiddos to be able to touch, draw a circle around that area on the screen with your finger.

Then, and this is the important part, tap the Start button at the top right of the screen. You’ll enter a passcode if you didn’t do the step above, and then the game will start. The parts of the screen you circled will be greyed out, covered by diagonal stripes.

To get out of Guided access, triple-click the Home button again, enter the passcode you created, and you’ll be out and using your iPhone as per usual. This works for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, so have at it!

  • FriarNurgle

    Being able to hand your phone to your child knowing they are responsible enough to use ranks right up there with when they stopped needing diapers.

  • jonwhitlock

    This is amazing! thanks so much for this, I had a feeling i had heard something like this before but hadn’t looked into it. I wont feel as bad now giving my ipad to my 2 year old

  • einnid

    This is useful, considering how often parents will hand off their iPhones to a kid during car rides to keep them entertained.

  • Patrick Perusse

    What a great feature for anyone with kids. This will keep our 2 year old from leaving his learning apps to watch Phineas and Ferb on Netflix.

  • mobilecasedirect

    I agree. You start your kids off on educational apps only find them getting into Netflix watching cartoons minutes later. Great tips will definitely come in handy.

    Do you think graying out some of the screen would also help avoid ads on the kids free apps?