Prevent Students from closing iPad Apps with Guided Access

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If you’re using an app like Ready to Print on an iPad with students, and would like to prevent them from being able to press the home button to exit the app, a feature that is built into your iPad can help you do this. The feature is called “Guided Access”.  It’s super easy to use and just requires a quick one-time setup.

One-Time Setup

To use it, first set a special passcode using these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap on General.

  3. Tap on Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down to near the bottom of the page and tap on Guided Access.

  5. On the Guided Access settings page, turn the slider to ON.
  6. Below the slider, tap Passcode Settings.
  7. Tap “Set Guided Access Passcode”

  8. Enter a passcode that you will use to re-activate the home button when you have the iPad locked to an app.  This may be the same as or different than the passcode you use to unlock your iPad.   If your students know the main unlock passcode, consider making this one different, but make sure others who use the iPad know what it is.

Starting an App in Guided Access Mode

This is the easy part.   Open the app, then press the home button quickly three times.  The Guided Access screen shown below will appear.  There’s some settings you can change here, but the defaults will probably be what you need for most apps.   Tap “Start” in the upper right corner to start the app.

That’s it.  When Guided Access mode is active, pressing the home button won’t close the app, but will instead briefly display a note on the top of the screen.

Exiting Guided Access Mode

To close Guided Access mode and return to the home screen, triple-click the home button again, and enter the pass code you set up in step 8 above.   The Guided Access settings screen will appear again, where you can tap “End” in the upper right corner to quit.

Other Notes

If you exit and re-enter Guided Access mode for the same app without switching apps, the settings screen will be skipped.   Another triple click will bring it up again.  Read more about Guided Access at Apple’s website.