Your iPhone is not a pacifier

…or maybe it is.  Whatever.  I’m not judging.  I too have been known to hand it over to a child while we’re waiting for our entrées to arrive… or while they’re screaming in the back seat when we are not even close to “there yet.”  My iPhone (and iPad) are also stuffed full of “Disney Junior Appisodes,” “Grandpa’s Workshop” and the like.  Compelling stuff.

What is really scary though, is the idea of turning over the keys to your contacts, email, linkedIn and Facebook to a 5 year old.  What if Jake and the Neverland Pirates gets boring… and deleting emails is more fun.  Sending weird photos to clients.  Moving all of your money into the 529.  Setting the thermostat to 800 degrees — there are apps for that. And the the list unfortunately could go on and on and on.  As an attorney, for me, there’s stuff on there that could be confidential or privileged.  No dice.

Lock it down!

Thankfully, there’s a (apparently little known) feature built into iOS that can trap your kids in the app of your choosing, thus protecting your email, Instagram, Nest or whatever, from errant taps and greasy peanut butter finger swipes of your kids.

feature child laughing

IMG_0676The feature is called ‘Guided Access” and it lives in your Settings App under “General” – and then “Accessibility.”  It will allow you to easily lock your phone into a single app mode that will keep your kids out of your email… or anything else.  From that screen, you’ll need to turn it on and set a PIN (remember this!) that will allow it to be unlocked after dinner arrives… or you’re finally “there yet.”

Once it’s turned on, you access it by first launching the app you’ll allow the kids to have access to and then triple-clicking the home button.  That enters you into a special set-up screen where you can restrict a few (not so useful, usually) things like swiping and touch input – or even block out areas on the screen where touch input is shut off.  I found this last feature interesting, but useless – since while it was initially compelling to remove, say, the ability to tap the “store” icon in an app when that’s in the upper left corner of the screen – if the button doesn’t stay there, or if other things the kids need to tap appear in that corner – it’s not that helpful to block that out from tap input.  YMMV though, by all means give it a try and let me know for which apps you find that actually useful.

The iPhone or iPad is now locked in that app – and no amount of mashing the home screen will undo that without your PIN number (I told you that one is important!).

For more info on “Guided Access” – checkout Apple’s knowledge base article on it.

You’re welcome.

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