Guided Access: Saving Parents’ Sanity One Screaming Child at a Time

Guest post by Kelly Googe Lucas, bbr marketing

Guided Access on iPhone for parentsMy first child took to my iPhone like a duck to water. At nine months old, she understood how to swipe to move between screens, knew the home button would get her back to the main screen and could do basic navigation in some apps. She was a pro and never lost her cool if she hit the wrong prompt, just moved on.

When we had our second child, we assumed he would be much like his sister with regard to device use. We were wrong, so very wrong. If he happens to hit an incorrect option and closes out the app, the screaming starts, toys within arms-reach are flung and the iPad gets beaten. Or if an ad pops up in an app and he clicks it and redirects away from the app, heaven help us all. He doesn’t understand the tech and throwing a fit is the only way he can communicate his frustration. This then creates new problems, as his frustration causes him to accidentally close the app entirely, making him even more upset.

After a recent nuclear incident, I thought that there had to be a way to keep him in an app so that he can’t click out of it or hit an ad or get prompted to buy anything. Surely I’m not the first person to need this! I did a Google search and sure enough, there was my answer – Guided Access. In the settings on your iPad and iPhone, this nifty little option basically locks down your device so that you can’t get out of an app. For parents of young kids and toddlers who like to randomly hit and click on touch screens, this is an amazing thing.

To set up Guided Access, go to: Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Switch on Guided Access, then customize the options as you deem fit. I enabled the passcode option in each of my devices so that if my son somehow manages to get to the disable screen, a passcode will still be required to completely exit. You can also enable your shortcuts during Guided Access and set time limits.

Once everything is ready to go, here’s what you do each time your children want to play:

  • Open the app you’ve chosen and get it going
  • Triple click the home button
  • Depending on the current OS and device, you will either see a notification that Guided Access has started or you will be prompted to click “Start” to initiate Guided Access
  • When they’re done playing and you are ready to disable, triple click the home button again
  • If you opted for the passcode version, you’ll need to enter your passcode
  • You are then given options to either “Resume” or “End”

While the children are in the app, no matter what they tap or swipe, they will stay in the app. They can’t exit, won’t be able to go to the app store, nothing. I no longer have to worry about my son accidentally exiting out of an app and losing his mind. I can put the app on, lock it down, hand him the iPad and have a breather.

There aren’t dramatic enough words in the English language to describe how wonderful it is to not have to keep logging a one-year-old back into an app every few seconds. Sometimes it’s the little things in life, and this seemingly little thing can make a big difference to the sanity of a parent. Now go ahead, hand the iPad to your little one and enjoy the couple extra minutes you’ve just bought yourself; you’ve earned it.


Kelly Googe Lucas bbr marketing professional services marketingKelly Googe Lucas

Kelly serves as client marketing director for bbr marketing, a firm that specializes in providing marketing strategy, planning and implementation for professional services firms including accounting, technology, legal and more. Learn more about Kelly and her firm by visiting or contact her via email at


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