Using Guided Access


Accessibility features have begun to take off with the new iOS 6 update, partially because they are becoming more specific and useful.  The new Guided Access feature is in the Accessibility section, but acts more as a restriction that can limit the type of use the device has.  This is different than the basic Restrictions, which blocks content or apps that may be inappropriate.  Instead, Guided Access restricts specific functions within an app or the iPhone as a whole.  Here is a look at how to set and customize Guided Access on the iOS 6 so that it will restrict exactly what you want.

Begin by going into Settings and choosing General, which is at the top of the third block of options.  Head to towards the bottom and select Accessibility, which will have a number of options for people with special needs.  Under the Learning heading will be Guided Access, and inside there will be an On / Off switch that you will set to On.  Below it will be a message that indicates the primary function of Guided Access, which is to limit the use of the iOS device to a single app.

When you turn it on there will be a button to set a passcode, which is similar to the passcode you can set in the Security features.  This passcode, however, will simply be to get around the very restrictive Guided Access functions.  Once you set the passcode you can begin to set Guided Access on apps since you will have a way to exit the restrictions you set.  Below that will be an On / Off switch to enable the screen to be able to sleep, and if you keep it off then it will just stay active even when it is not being used.


Once you have set Guided Access, go ahead and go into an app you want to secure use on.  When in the app you will tap the Home button three times, which will bring up the general Guided Access interface around the app.  Hit the Start button and then Guided Access will be initiated, and will not allow the user to leave the app.  This is perfect for younger children who may want to play a game on the iPhone or iPad, but who you do not want having unrestricted access to the Internet or iTunes.  If you want to then leave the app you will press the Home button three times again, and enter the passcode you set at the prompt.


If you want to limit specific parts of the app you can do this when you first initiate Guided Access with the three home button clicks, but before you hit Start.  First, hit the Options button in the lower left hand corner.  This will give you On / Off buttons for both the touch screen functions and the motion readout, which could restrict changing from portrait to landscape view.  You can also choose to keep the hardware buttons off when it is in this mode, which will mean that they cannot do things like change the volume.


The most interesting and involved part of Guided Access is the ability to visually determine parts of the app you do not want the user to have access to.  This is done by physically circling a part of the app, such as the search bar in Safari.  It will then read your circle, conform it to a square, and give you the option to remove that function.  You could, theoretically, do this to every function in Safari if your intent is to make a student stay on a particular page.  From there you will be able to go through the app within the restrictions set, and when you are done you can simply press the Home button three times and enter the appropriate passcode.

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