iOS 11: How to Use Guided Access on iPhone, iPad

Thanks to Tinkerbrad and Flickr

Have you ever experienced a moment where you let someone hold your iPhone to take a look at something on it and they then proceed to open up your Mail and Messages app and flick through your photos? Or do you sometimes lend your device to a child to use? In both these cases you need to use Guided Access.

Guided Access

Apple has baked a way to protect the contents of your iPhone from prying eyes, Guided Access. You’ll find this at the bottom of the Accessibility Settings (Settings>General>Accessibility). You can use this to control what people who get hold of your device can do with it, and lock it to only a single app. Here is how it works in iOS 11 and earlier versions of the OS.

Here is how to set it up:

  • Toggle it to on (Green) in Settings
  • Set a passcode you will remember
  • Open the app you want to give your friend access to on your device
  • Triple-click the Home button to enable Guided Access
  • Select Guided Access in the item that appears
  • Now you can set up how you want the app to behave and which features you want to enable or disable when you loan your device
  • At the bottom of the set up page you’ll find an Options button. Tap this and you can enable or disable your Sleep/Wake and Volume buttons, Motion sensitivity, Keyboards, Touch usage and set a Time Limit for the session.
  • Tap Start

To leave Guided Access mode you must press the Home button three times, you’ll be asked to enter your new passcode.

  • In the next frame you can edit the controls you allow to be usable, restart the session, enable or disable Options, or end the session completely.

Photos tip

Another super-fast way to kind of protect yourself when you pass your iPhone over to someone to take a look at a photo you can do something really clever to buy yourself just enough time to grab it back if they start being too intrusive:

Open the image you want to show them and zoom in just a little bit. What happens then is if they try to scroll through your other images they will have to un-zoom the image first, which should give you the second you need to regain control.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

3 Responses

  1. Angelina says:

    My only question to this is the previous version of IOS, the alarm sounded with the guided access active; however, this version seems to lock out that option. I cannot locate where to reactivate the feature if locked in guided access. If you could please advise how to set this, I would appreciate it. Our child has his phone locked to phone only with 911 being the only numbers available on the screen; however, uses the phone for the alarm. Make sense? If you have a solution, I would appreciate it. I’ve been trying to figure it out for days…

  2. Syl says:

    Is there a way to edit the area selected already on a particular app? I had selected an area in whatsap with guided access feature. Now i dont see an option of editing that area. Please help

    • ER says:

      Yes, just triple click the side button again while guided access is already running and after typing in your password, the options menu will show up. Hope this helps

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