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iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, settings for hard-of-hearing or deaf users, settings for individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and settings for individuals with learning difficulties.

In this accessibility segment, I will be discussing how to use Guided Access.

Guided Access is an accessibility feature that came out with iOS 6. Guided Access enables you to set up the iOS device so that you cannot leave apps, and you are able to control which features of the app you are allowed to use or not use. There are a lot of great benefits and applications for this (listed in no particular order):

  1. Schools. Schools are starting to use the iPad more throughout the classroom. Teachers are able to ensure that their students are not doing anything else on the iPad, except for what is told to them. They are also able to restrict certain areas of the screen as being not usable. Whether they are reading a textbook, using an educational app, or taking a test on the iPad, Guided Access prevents the students from going online, playing non-educational games, or cheating on tests.
  2. Autism. Helps autistic children and students to stay focused on their task. With Guided Access turned on, an autistic individual might not accidentally get out of the app that they need to be using, such as Proloquo2go, (standard AAC, Augmentative and Alternative Communicator)
  3. Parents. Parents are now able to give their child their iOS device without having to worry about their child, going into things they shouldn’t be accessing.
  4. Businesses. A lot of businesses are starting to incorporate iPads. For example, sometimes these iPads are used for checking in dinner reservations using OpenTable, or sometimes these iPads are used with the Square Stand. The business owner, happens to be not at work, but they want to make sure that their staff members are not fooling and messing around on the iPads, other than for the purpose they were supposed to be used for. Now the business owner is able to set up Guided Access, which puts them at ease, knowing that they cannot do anything else on the iPads.
  5. Museums. Using Guided Access, museums are able to give out the iOS devices, so their visitors can take the tour and follow along using the museum’s app that is available in the App Store.

To enable Guided Access you are going to want to open up Settings. Then tap on General and then scroll all the way down towards the bottom of the screen until you see Accessibility.

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Tap on Accessibility and scroll all the way down towards the bottom until you see Guided Access, located under Learning.

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Then tap on Guided Access. You will see a switch to toggle on and off Guided Access. It also tells you:

Guided Access keeps the [iOS device] in a single app, and allows you to control which features are available. To start Guided Access, triple-click the Home button in the app you want to use.

When you turn on Guided Access you will be able to see options to Set Passcode, which enables you to actually use Guided Access. You also have a switch to toggle on and off for Enable Screen Sleep. When Guided Access is used, it also disables the Lock Button. If you turn that on, you can override that.

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To set up the passcode, press the Set Passcode button. It then has you create and confirm a four-digit numeric passcode which you will use just for Guided Access.

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To use Guided Access, you first want to be in the app that you would want to enable Guided Access. For this example, I am going to use iBooks. It will work with any app. Triple click the home button to start Guide Access.

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For example, I only want the child to read Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne and no other book in my iBooks Library. I can draw a circle around the word Library, so that way they cannot access any other book.

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If I press on Options down at the bottom, I have the option to turn off any Touch or Motion. I’m going to leave those turned on. You might want to turn these off if for example, you do not want them to Shake to Undo when typing, or if you are using the iOS Device as a gallery for displaying pictures or a keynote and do not want people to be able to move ahead with the slides

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To start Guided Access, I am going to press the Start button in blue in the upper right hand corner.

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I can swipe right to left, to read pages in the book, and the Library button is grayed out and I cannot tap on it. If I try pressing the home button one time, like one would normally do to get out of an app, it pops up with an alert saying:

Guided Access is enabled. Triple-click the home button to exit.

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To end Guided Access triple click the home button. Then it asks you to enter in your password. Go ahead and enter it. Then press the End button in grey in the upper left hand corner.

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4 Responses to “How-to: Use iOS’s Guided Access feature”

  1. djmexi says:

    Why are you guys doing these how-to’s? Apple already has these covered on their site!

  2. I have used Guided Access with a family member’s iPad who has a disability and needs to use their iPad for educational purposes only at times. My main issue with it is that if they triple-press the Home button on the iOS device (not necessarily knowing that this gets you to the passcode screen, but merely in an attempt to get out of the app), they are then stuck on the passcode screen unless they press the small “Cancel” button on the bottom of the numeric keypad displayed. Because my family member cannot read, they do not understand how to get out of this screen and get extremely frustrated. I have contacted Apple multiple times asking that they just make it so that if you touch anywhere outside of the numeric keypad area (on the gray background), you would go out of the keypad and into the App again. I know I am just one person, but as it is a rather simple fix to a rather frustrating problem, and as Apple likes to market their iOS devices to disability/educational settings, I am hoping this is resolved in iOS 7.

  3. Thnx. Its nice to get those infos!

  4. great, thanks for this. now our son can use a spare iphone we had without closing the video player.