Guided Access is an accessibility feature in iOS and iPadOS that allows you to limit access to your iPhone or iPad to a single app such that all its other apps and features are locked behind a password or Face ID/Touch ID and accessible only upon re-authentication.

how to use guided access to limit what others can do on your iphone/ipad - guided access iphone ipad

If you often need to give access to your phone to your kids or someone else—perhaps to show them an image you took or allow them to use an app—you can use Guided Access to restrict their access to your device so that they don’t get off track. Not just that, but Guided Access can also come in handy when you want to limit distractions while you’re working on an app on your iPad.

Follow along as we list down the instructions to set up Guided Access and use it on your iPhone and iPad.

How to Set Up Guided Access on iPhone/iPad

Follow the steps below to set up Guided Access on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Accessibility.
    iphone settings accessibility
  3. Click on Guided Access under GENERAL in the Accessibility settings, and on the following screen, toggle on the button for Guided Access.
    turning on guided access on iphone
  4. Click on Passcode Settings and select Set Guided Access Passcode. Enter your preferred passcode, and then re-enter it to confirm. While you’re here, toggle on the option for Face ID or Touch ID to use biometrics instead of the passcode.
    setting guided access passcode

Additionally, you can also set a time limit for a Guided Access session by tapping on Time Limits and selecting an alarm sound on the following screen. And similarly, set how long it takes your device to automatically lock during an active Guided Access session by clicking on the Display Auto-Lock option.

How to Start a Guided Access Session

Once you’ve set up Guided Access on your iPhone or iPad, you’re now ready to use it. Here’s how:

  1. Open the app to which you want to limit access.
  2. If you’re on one of the newer iPhones or iPads (i.e. the ones with no Home button), triple-click the side/power button to bring up the Guided Access menu. On older models (iPhones/iPads with a Home button), triple-click the Home button instead. Unless you’ve configured the Accessibility Shortcut to some other actions other than Guided Access, triple-clicking the side or Home button should bring up the Guided Access menu.
    starting a guided access session on iphone
  3. In the Guided Access window, tap on the Options button in the bottom-left corner to bring up a list of all the iPhone/iPad features you can enable/disable in Guided Access mode. Toggle on/off the switch next to the feature to enable/disable it. Hit Done to confirm.
    guided access options
  4. If you want certain parts of the screen to stop responding to touch—perhaps because you don’t want the other person who’s going to use your phone to access a specific menu or hit a particular button inside an app—you can disable it by circling out those areas on the screen using your finger. You can also move or resize the area, if you want, or tap the X on it to remove it.
  5. Tap the Start button in the top-right corner to start a Guided Access session and restrict your device’s access to that particular app.

Once the session is turned on, you can hand-off the device over to your child or the other person without having to worry about them poking around on your phone.

While in Guided Access mode, their access will be limited to the app you locked them into and the features you’ve enabled in the Guided Access settings. Similarly, if you’re using Guided Access to improve your focus, you will only be able to use the allowed app and allowed features during the setup.

If you want to save the hassle of triple-clicking the Home or side button every time you want to start a Guided Access session, you can use the Control Centre to do so more efficiently. For this, you first need to add Guided Access to the list of controls in the Control Centre. To do this, go into Settings > Control Centre. Here, scroll down until you find Guided Access, and then, tap on the plus (+) button next to it. Now, to turn on a session in an app, simply swipe up from the bottom (for iPhones with Home button) or the top-right corner (on iPhones X or later) to access the Control Centre. From here, tap on the control for Guided Access, and it will begin the session.

How to End a Guided Access Session

When you want to end a Guided Access session, triple-tap the side or Home button on your iPhone or iPad (depending on its model) to bring up the Guided Access window. Enter the Guided Access passcode or use Face ID /Touch ID to authenticate and tap on the End button in the top-left corner to end the active session. Make sure that the person you’re handing off your device to doesn’t know this passcode.

ending a guided access session on iphone

Easily Share Your iPhone/iPad’s Access Without Stressing Out

Apple’s Guided Access feature in iOS and iPadOS makes it really easy to share your iPhone or iPad with your kids or someone else. It ensures that once you’ve locked your device to a particular app—and set limitations on features—the other person is limited to only access it and can’t wander around looking at your personal information, photos, or other sensitive content on the device.

We hope this guide simplifies the processing of setting up and using Guided Access on iPhones and iPads, so you can easily share their access with others without stressing out.

FAQs About Using Guided Access on iPhone/iPad

In case you forget your Guided Access password, you can try force restarting your iPhone or iPad using the steps listed in the previous question. While this works almost every single time, in case it doesn't for some reason, you can reset your iPhone/iPad through Finder (on Mac) or iTunes (on Windows).

If you want to lock your iPhone/iPad's screen while watching YouTube to prevent accidental touches, you can use Guided Access mode. For this, while you're setting up Guided Access, make sure to disable Touch from the Options menu.

After you're done watching videos, triple-tap the side/Home button to bring up the Guided Access window and hit the End button in the top-left corner.

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