Prevent Someone From Exiting an iPad App

It's possible with Guided Access

Did you know you can "lock" an iPad app, which keeps the user from leaving the app? This is a great feature for kids or those with special needs who may otherwise accidentally exit an app. The Guided Access feature is located in the accessibility settings of the iPad.

Information in this article applies to all iPads and to iPadOS 14 through iOS 11, as indicated.

Turn on Guided Access

Guided Access is one of the iPad's Accessibility features. It keeps the iPad in a single app. You have to turn on the feature before you can activate it. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on the iPad Home screen.

    iPad Home screen with Settings icon highlighted
  2. Tap Accessibility in the sidebar in iPad 13 and later or tap General in the sidebar followed by Accessibility in iOS 12 or iOS 11.

    iPad settings sidebar with Accessibility selected
  3. Select Guided Access at the bottom of the Accessibility settings.

    iPad Accessibilty settings with Guided Access highlighted
  4. Move the Guided Access toggle to the On/green position to activate the feature.

    iPad Guided Access setting with slider in the On position
  5. Apple recommends using Passcode Settings to enter a passcode for turning the Guided Access feature on and off, but it is not required. The other options are also optional.

    iPad Guided Access settings options

Using Guided Access to Lock an App

After Guided Access is activated, open to the app you want to lock. Triple-click the Top button (on iPads without a Home button) or the Home button (on iPads with a Home button).

The first time you do this, you are presented with a screen where you mark out any portion of the screen you want to disable. This is handy if you want to disable the Settings button or any other button on the app. You can also disable touch within this initial screen. Once you have the options enabled, start Guided Access by tapping the Start button.

Disable Guided Access by triple-clicking the Top button or Home button, depending on your device.

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