One simple, yet incredibly useful tool on the iPad is the ability to prevent users from leaving a specified app to use a different app. The iPad provides a way to do this with something Apple calls Guided Access. While the feature is simple to use, it may not be obvious how to enable the setting. Below are the steps to use Guided Access with the iPad (or any iOS device).

1. Begin by going to Settings > General and select Accessibility

iOS Settings General Accessibility

2. Scroll down to Learning and select Guided Access

iOS Accessibility Learning Guided Access

3. Toggle on Guided Access and set a Passcode (the passcode is required later to release the iPad from Guided Access)

Guided Access settings

4. At this point Guided Access is ready to use. Launch an App and triple click the Home Button to open the Guided Access menu. Select the options you wish to restrict at the bottom. Note: You can decide what, if any buttons will work, if touch will be turned off, provide time limits, and draw on the screen over places you want touch to be disabled.

Guided Access Menu Options5. Press Start to activate and at this point the iPad will be restricted as you set in the options.

6. At the end, triple click the home button again, enter your passcode, and select End. The iPad will return to normal operation at this time.

Guided Access End

A Few Things to Know

  • It is best to go to the Guided Access menu in Settings > General > Accessibility each time you want to enable Guided Access – especially if you have shared iPads that move from classroom to classroom. A passcode from a previous class may still be set with Guided Access and you will not be able to easily remove the device without the passcode.
  • If Guided Access is enabled and you cannot disable it (forgotten password, etc.), perform a Hard Reset on the iPad by holding down the Lock and Home buttons until the iPad turns off. Power on the iPad again and you should be able to use normally.
  • If you restricted the device too much, you can triple click the home button, enter the passcode and change the options prior to resuming Guided Access.

Ways to Use Guided Access in the Classroom

  • Guided Access can be used as a way to make stations more intentional. iPads can be locked to one app for each station. Students can then rotate between apps which are reinforcing certain skills at each station.
  • Help keep students at stations on task with Guided Access. It’s hard to be everywhere at the same time so having a device locked to one specific app can help teachers know that students have only one option on the iPad.
  • Guided Access can be a helpful tool for the student who cannot seem to stay on task with the app or project they are supposed to be doing in class.
  • Setting time limits is also another power feature of Guided Access especially for students who might react better to the device limiting their time instead of the teacher. Once time is up, the device is not usable until released from Guided Access.
  • You can disable all touch and make it a portable kiosk. Use Guided Access with an iPad that is displaying a video or presentation at a parent event. This is great for sign ups or check-ins for events too.
  • What other ways could you imagine using Guided Access in the classroom? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.
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