How to: Guided Tour of Guided Access


Earlier this week we showed you how Guided Access could be used to mute notifications while in an app (for example recording a video of a demo or just wanting to be focused). Then we realized that many of you might not even know about this awesome, hidden feature in iOS 6 that you can use to improve game play or just control how an app is being used.

If you haven’t heard of Guided Access (it arrived with iOS 6 as one of the Accessibility improvements) I don’t blame you. I hadn’t really played with it or tried it until this week either. In fact you might confuse Guided Access with Voice Over, and the two accessibility improvements have couldn’t be more different!

Here is how Apple describes Guided Access under iOS 6:

Guided Access helps students with disabilities such as autism remain on task and focused on content. It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button, as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.

This description really belies how versatile and helpful this tool can be for all kinds of other uses.

What Guided Access does is:

  • Effectively lock the iOS device so the app in use, is the only app that can be used.
  • Allow certain parts of the screen to be “blocked out” so they do not respond to touch (like settings, some control, etc)
  • Lock the Home Button so it won’t respond
  • Lock other hardware buttons and orientation so the app will stay as it is.

How can you use Guided Access today:

  • Let a child play a game, but the child can’t exit the game to do anything else (like mess up settings, etc)
  • When you’re playing a game keep you from
    • accidentally tapping the Home button and leaving the game
    • having notifications get in your way
    • pull down the notifications area by accident
  • Set up a device as a demo or kiosk showing an app or movie or slideshow

To help you get started with Guided Access here is a short video of how you turn Guided Access on, set up an app in Guided Access mode, and how to set things back to normal:

If you have some favorite Guided Access (or other tips using Accessibility settings), let us know in the comments or send us a tip.