Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guided Access on Your Student iPads

If you've updated to iOS6 on your classroom iPads, there may be a few features of which you are unaware. The option below is particularly handy when you need to control what a student accesses on an iPad.

Here's the situation: You plan to spend the day working with your students using an App, but a student is in ISS and the office has requested work be sent down. How comfortable would you feel sending an iPad to ISS? What are the chances that the student actually does the work and avoids other temptations?

Solution? Guided Access in the Accessibility menu found in the General Settings. This feature allows you to set up your iPad in a vendor-like situation. Students can use an app and all its features, but cannot leave the app. You have a number of options, from blocking out areas of the screen to disabling the home button. Enable "Guided Access" for these features.

The Accessibility menu is near the bottom of the General Settings screen.

Allow "Guided Access"

Set a Passcode.

Once enabled, students cannot leave the app or access features you do not want them to use.
After Guided Access is turned on and a passcode is set, open the app you need to use and triple click to start Guided Access mode. Set any and all restrictions here (for my situation above, simple disabling the home button is enough. You can also draw a box over parts of the screen, and any features within that zone are disabled while Guided Access is on.

To exit Guided Access, all that is required is to triple click the home button and type in the passcode. Simple!

Now the iPad can be handed to the student, and you can be confident that they will only have access to the app where you need them to complete their work.


  1. I love the fact that this is possible on iOS 6, but I'm still trying to figure out how useful it would be in a 1:1 classroom. In my opinion, it would be too time consuming for teachers to set up all of their students on guided access before an assessment. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. In a 1:1 setting, it isn't really practical for the reasons you mention. I would only use GA if a student specifically needed to focus (i.e. they continue to leave the directed app after repeated instructions to not do so).

    However (and this is important), I recently learned that you can override the GA passcode. Holding the power & home buttons until the apple logo appears resets GA. I found this out the hard way - I had two iPads stuck in GA last week. Savvy students will find this workaround. So again, it comes back to good instruction, keeping the students on task.