Guided Access: How To Disable The Home Button on iPad

Guided Access is one of my favorite iOS 6 features. I can disable the home button and restrict touch input on certain areas on the screen when my 2-year-old plays on the iPad.

This is part of the Accessibility option and just one of the many new features I’ve been looking forward to seeing on the iPad since iOS 6 was previewed during the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

To see my insights on this conference read:OS X Mountain Lion Is A Social Cat, How Apple Is Using Social Media

In the following post I’ll explain why I see the advantage to disable the Home button on the iPad… as a good thing. And then proceed by walking you through a step-by-step guide showing how it’s done.

Why disable the Home button on iPad?

Let’s look at a few examples showing the benefit of disabling the Home button on the iPad, (or iPhone). But first, let me give you a short explanation of what is Guided Access.

  • Guided Access – allows any iOS device to be locked into one app until a preset Passcode is used to escape.
  • Touch access can also be restrict to certain areas of the screen.

From the above description it’s without a doubt that other parents like myself will find this new feature most helpful, but I also see this new addition to iOS 6 a plus for sales and marketing professionals who work at trade shows, conferences, fairs and department stores and use the iPad to promote their products and services to potential customers.

Plus it should also be beneficial to iPad presenters who use instructional media (such as video, audio and visual images) and want to lock their presentations.

Guided Access: How To Disable The Home Button on iPad

And in the classroom, the impact will be greatly appreciated by both students and teachers.

When you disable the Home button and limit access to areas on the screen teachers can reduce distractions in the classroom. Keeping students engaged in their current activity until they-are ready to move on to the next lesson. A tool I see not only helping students to stay focus, but also preventing them from easily getting distracted.

An illustrated example of how Guided Access works.

To give you one more example: why disabling the Home button on the iPad can be useful here’s a simple way how my wife and I use Guided Access in our home with our two-year-old.

Let’s look at this by using the example below.

Guided Access: How To Disable The Home Button On iPad

By enabling Guided Access you can see (via the image on the right) that the rewind, pause and fast-forward controls outlined inside the box are disabled on the app, along with the Home button on the iPad. This prevents our little one from wandering off to other apps and accidentally touching the controls on the screen. Reassuring that her experience will be uninterrupted and rewarding mom and dad with a smile.

How to disable the Home button on the iPad and restrict touch input on the screen

Below are the steps you’ll need to disable the Home button on the iPad, and for setting-up limited access to certain areas on the screen.

Please know that these instruction work on all iOS devices updated with iOS 6 and later. Older versions of iOS do not support Guided Access.

Step 1: Find and open the Settings app

Guided access screenshot 1 iPad home screen


Step 2: Then under Settings select General

Guided access screenshot 2 general


Step 3: Under General find and open Accessibility

Guided access screenshot 3 Accessibility


Step 4: Under Accessibility select Guided Access

Guided access screenshot 4 guided access


Step 5: Turn on Guided Access by swiping OFF, to the right

Guided access screenshot 5 swipe to turn on guided access


Step 6: After Guided Access is ON, select Set Passcode

Guided access screenshot 6 set passcode


Step 7: In Set Passcode—enter a 4-digit password

Then re-enter your Passcode a second time.

Guided access screenshot 7 set passcode

Step 8: Return to the home screen and open your app.

Step 9: To turn ON Guided Access within the app quickly tap the Home button 3 times.

Note: At the bottom of the screen you’ll now see the option to turn Touch or Motion ON/OFF. By default Touch is turned ON, enabling the option to restrict Touch input on one or more areas on the screen—this is done by taking your finger and outlining around the target area. Turning Touch OFF restricts all Touch input on the screen.

Step 10: Once you’re done, select start (on the top right) to return to your app.

Step 11: To deactivate and END Guided Access: Tap the Home button 3 times again and input your 4-digit Passcode and then select end (on the top left).

I made this video to help you follow steps 8 – 11

That’s it! You have now successfully disable the Home button and restrict Touch input on the screen by turning ON Guided Access on your iPad.

If you have questions about Accessibility and Apple products please visit the Accessibility Support page.

Hi there, thank you for reading and making this post one of the most popular page on this site. In continuing to bring you value—which is my goal. I need your help! I promise it will only take a second and it’s FREE!
A small request: below this post you’ll find a poll, it would mean so much to me to get your input. Thank you… for your time and consideration.

*Photo credit: Brad Flickinger (CC BY 2.0)


  1. momoftwins says

    Thank you for this post, I was going crazy cause I wanted to keep my twins busy and make dinner, but they kept pressing the home button and other things and would run back to me to help them to play the same thing again. In the meantime they are fighting about who gets to hold the ipad as well so it was a very frustrating situation. This has helped me keep my sanity and let them watch something in peace while I can make dinner:)

  2. Leslie says

    Hi! Thank you for the article! I tried it with my 8 year old son but he was able to get around this by turning off the ipad with the button on the top right. When you turn it on again the ipad goes to the home screen. Is there a way around this? Maybe diabling the on/off button on the top right of the ipad? Thank you!!!

    • says

      Hi Leslie,
      Welcome to the site, and thanks for the awesome question! I don’t believe there’s a way to disabled the power button on top of the iPad. But what my wife and I did when our daughter was doing the same thing, was to buy an iPad case by Fisher-Price. We found that their child proof cases was the perfect solution for this problem. I’m sure any case will work as long as it covers the power button on top.

      I hope this helps. If you have any other iPad questions I would love to hear them.

      Cheers, R.Miguel

  3. says

    Awesome! Thank you so much for your precious help. Now we can finally let our little daughter play with the ipad without constantly holding our breaths!

    Great explanation! Super friendly site!


    • says


      Thank you for visiting. I felt the same way when Apple made this feature available. My daughter is 3 now and has developed a knack for figuring out my passwords so she keeps me on my toes. I guess that’s the price you pay when you teach coding to a little one.

      BTW: Your studio looks great. Reminded me of my own, before I changed my career path.

      Cheers, R.Miguel

  4. Chris says

    Great stuff… thanks Reinaldo! This is just what I was looking for. I forsee a little less disruption in my classes from this point on! :) Thank again.

    • says

      Thank you so much for all the kind words and I apologize for the confusion with the name. But I have to admit, it was fun reading your comments. If you’re looking to do other things with the iPad in your classes, I’m here, would love to help out.

      Cheers, Reinaldo Miguel Aka–Michael.

  5. James says

    I thought Guided Access would be a great solution to allow students to use our pad to search our library catalogue. The problem is that reentering the incorrect password enough times locks the ipad down permanently, requiring it to be taken out of the ipad stand (that I bought specially for this) and hooked up to itunes. This seems like overkill – surely it can just keep prompting for the password until the user gets fed up?!
    Anybody experienced this or know a way to get around it?

    • says

      Hi James,
      If the iPad is stuck in Guided Access the only way I’ve been able to unlock it is by doing a hard reset. This may not sound like the best solution but it works and has gotten me out of trouble. You can read the instructions below on this thread. I also started keeping the password handy inside Evernote, just in case. Also if you’re on Google+ there’s a great community that I follow of teachers using the ipad. Maybe you can find help there also. Here’s the link:

  6. Kelly says

    Hi Michael,
    This is wonderful! I have it set up on my phone, but am trying to set it up on my Ipad. I have the original Ipad and the software is IOS5.1.1. When I go to update software it says I am up to date. Is this because my Ipad is older? Can I not get 6.0? I haven’t been able to locate the Learning section on guided access. Any help is appreciated!

    • says

      Hi Kelly,
      I’m sorry to say that yes 6.0 is not compatible on the iPad model 1 and that’s why you’re not able to see the Guided Access feature. My only suggestion in this case is to find-out if there are any similar apps like Guided Access if you jailbreak the iPad. That’s if — you’re okay with jailbreaking. I apologize for not being more helpful. Please keep the questions coming if you have more. Hope you find a solution. Michael.

  7. Tracy Eitner says

    My 6 1/2-year-old son is Autistic and he loves his iPad 2. He watches videos on it, but he has a habit of messing with buttons and hits the Edit button and the x’s on the videos, ending up deleting the videos. We can still download them, but he gets very upset when they’re not there.

    Is there any way to lock the Edit button? Thanks for your attention.

    • says

      Hi Tracy, that’s a great question. Right within the Guided Access feature there is an option to limit access to selected areas on the screen. All you have to do after activating Guided Access is to select the area you want to disable. This is done by outlining with your finger the area you would like to disable. For example, in your situation what I would do is to draw a circle around the X’s and the Edit button, you’ll notice then that the area becomes shaded to indicate the selected area has been blocked and no longer accessible. If you would like to disable all touch gestures on the screen, just turn the slider under “Touch” to off. I hope this helps, and by the way I would also be very upset if this was happening to me. Please let me know if there’s anything else that I can help you with. BTW: as soon as I get the opportunity I will probably be doing a video showing how this is done and adding it to this post. Thanks for the idea, cheers Michael.

  8. Justin says

    Hi Michael, I did what you asked and voted in your survey :)
    Thanks for the tutorial, this is exactly what I was looking for, as I was looking for a way to let my son play with the ipad, without me having to supervise him all the time. Guided access really is a great feature.

    • says

      Hi Justin, thanks for stopping by and for taking part in the survey. I’m glad to hear the information helped. The guided access feature has helped us too. Maybe too much — that now my daughter has her own.

  9. nima says

    Hello Friend
    I forgot the password guid access the iPhone 5 have a solution for you tell me?
    Please answer,

    • says

      Hi Nima, you can try doing a hard reboot to exit Guided Access. You can find the instructions to doing this here (below) in the comments section. Hope this helps.

  10. Amy says

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been fortunate to have a class set of iPads in my classroom and want to use it as often as I could, but kids beings kids, they easily get distracted with all other things they could do with it and it was so frustrating! I actually stopped letting them use the iPad because of this but now I can have them focus on the app I actually want to use! Thanks again!

    • says

      Hi Amy, Thank you! And I agree. trying to capture a child’s attention can become challenging. It’s why I was also very happy to discover this information myself. I want my two-year-old to have fun playing and learning with the iPad, but I didn’t want it to become a stumbling block. Cheers, Michael.

      • Amy says

        I am also (sort of?) paranoid about kids messing up the settings. Other than guided access, is there a way to lock the settings?

        • says

          Hi Amy, in the General page under Restrictions, there are some settings you can choose to turn off. Go to Settings – scroll down to Restrictions – turn it on by enabling restrictions on top, (you’ll be required to add a 4 digit password very similar to guided access) and select the settings you would like to turn off below. I hope this helps and by the way thanks for the great-question. For the record, I like to enable “don’t allow changes” under the accounts settings. Cheers, Michael.

          • says

            Hi Vernon,

            You can reboot or perform a hard reset… by pressing down the “home button” (on the front) and power button (located on the back right inside) together at the same time for a few seconds. It all was done correctly you should see the Apple logo when the unit turns on.

            Cheers, Michael

    • says

      Hi MLN, Awesome! Thank you for your visit and kind words. I’m glad the info came in handy. If you need any other help on your iOS journey we’re here to help… Cheers Michael.

  11. Cara says

    Thanks so much for this! I have been trying to find a solution for ages to lock our customers completing surveys into an ap so that they cant play around in notes, saphari etc.

    This is perfect!

    • says

      Hi Cara, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I understand, my wife uses the iPad at trade shows to demo her companies products to visitors and this feature comes in handy. I’m glad I was able to help. Cheers Michael.

      • Kareem says

        Help me please. My sister was on my iPod and now my thing is stuck on guided access and I never remembered putting in any pass word. I don’t want erase anything. And I have assistive touce

        • says

          Hi Kareem,

          I suggest trying to do a hard reboot to exit Guided Access.

          1. Hold down the home and power button, (until you see the Apple logo appear.
          2. Just as the screen is rebooting (or opening) quickly press the Home button. (This keeps the display on the home screen.)
          3. follow the directions on the post to enter Guided Access and turn it off.
          Note: if this doesn’t work the first time – try steps 1 and 2 again, but this time… enable Guided Access – and enter a new password.
          Then repeat the reboot and disable process one more time.

          Hope this helps, let me know how it worked out.

  12. Jan says

    I have put in a password and have Guided Access but am still on the settings page. I now can’t take off the Guided Access – pressing home button 3 times isn’t working – help.

    • says

      Hi thx for leaving a comment. I’m trying to understand your situation, are you stuck in Guided access mode in the settings page?


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