Tip: Use Guided Access As a Mute Switch For Notifications

Guided Access

As I’ve mentioned before, the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature is one of my favorite iOS 6 features.

But it doesn’t meet all my requirements as the calls and notifications are silenced only when the iPhone is locked, Apple has assumed that when we’re using your iPhone, we’re fine to be disturbed by the calls and notifications.

As Lex Friedman of Macworld points out, that’s not always the case, there are times when I don’t want to be disturbed and want to silence notifications and calls, say while I’m writing an important email or watching a video or maybe even while playing a game. I definitely need a mute switch not just when the iPhone is locked, but even when I’m using it.

Greg Pierce seems to have found a reasonable workaround to this problem at least for uses cases where you want to stay focussed on just one task. His solution is to use the Guided Access feature, which was introduced in iOS 6.

Even though Guided access is an accessibility feature and meant for teachers, parents or administrators 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, it can work as a decent mute switch for notification as it disables access to Notification Center and also silences the calls and notifications.

Here’s how to use the Guided Access feature for this purpose:

  • Launch the Settings app and navigate to General -> Accessibility -> Guided Access


  • Tap on the On/Off toggle next to Guided Access to enable it.
  • Now, exit the Settings app and open the app that you want to use without being disturbed
  • Triple click on the Home button
  • Then tap on the Start button on the top right corner to start a Guided Access session
  • You will prompted to enter the Passcode, if you haven’t set one before. Enter and re-enter the passcode. You will be informed that the Guided Access session has started. You will now be able to use the app without being disturbed by calls or notifications.
  • After you’ve finished with your task, triple click on the Home button again and tap on the End button, you will be prompted to enter the passcode, enter the passcode and then tap on the End button at the top left corner to  to end the Guided Access session. You will be able to access all your notifications that you have received during the Guided Access session via the Notification Center.

It may not be the most ideal solution, but it’s not very inconvenient either, as you can enable or disable it any app by triple-clicking on the Home button. Let’s hope Apple gives us a mute switch in iOS 7 as this solution doesn’t cover scenario where we want switch between apps etc.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.