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How to put an iPad in Kiosk mode

iPads may have started out as consumer devices but they’ve become incredibly powerful since the first iPad was released. They are excellent tools for drawing and lower end models tend to end up replacing POS stations in many places. To make all this easier, the iPad has a kiosk mode which basically allows the iPad to show only one app that the user can interact with. 

iPad in Kiosk mode

iPad kiosk mode

The iPad kiosk mode ‘locks’ one app on the screen. The user can freely interact with this one app and use all its features but cannot switch away from it to a different app. The feature ensures that users do not accidentally ‘close’ the app that is meant to be used at a kiosk. For parents, it prevents children from accessing apps that are not meant for them or tampering with important account and device settings.

Enable iPad kiosk mode – Single app mode

Single app mode is a little complicated to set up. You need access to a Mac, and you must connect the iPad to the Mac before you can put it in Single app mode but this is the correct way to do it. If you’re looking for a quicker solution, you can use the Guided Access method in the next section.

  1. Make sure the app you want to use in kiosk mode is installed on your iPad.
  2. On your Mac, download the Apple Configurator 2 app from the App Store.
  3. Connect the iPad to your Mac.
  4. Open Apple Configurator 2.
  5. Select the device and on the menu bar go to Actions>Advanced>Start Single App mode.

  1. Select the Supervise mode (this can be undone but you will have to factory reset the device and not restore it from a backup taken after the device was put in supervise mode.
  2. Select the app from the list.
  3. Click Select app.
  4. You can exit Single App Mode by connecting the iPad to your Mac.
  5. Open Apple Configurator 2.
  6. Go to Actions>Advanced>Stop Single App mode.

Note: the iPad will still be in Supervise mode even if you exit Single App Mode.

Enable iPad kiosk mode – Guided Access

Guided Access is meant for use by parents or teachers. It’s easier to set up. You do not need a Mac and you can set it up on the iPad.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Accessibility>Guided Access. 
  3. Turn the Guided access switch on.
  4. Enable a passcode/Touch ID/Face ID for exiting Guided Access.
  5. Open the app you want to put in kiosk mode.
  6. Press the Home button three times or the Side/Wake/Sleep button three times.
  7. Tap Start on the Guided access bar at the top.
  8. To exit Guided access, press the Home button or the Side/Sleep/Wake button three times.
  9. Enter the passcode.
  10. Tap End at the top left to exit Guided Access.

Conclusion

If you’re going to use the iPad as a POS or an actual kiosk, go with the Single App mode method. It’s best and built for this purpose. If you only need to put the app in this mode occasionally, Guided Access is the way to go. It’s easier to undo and you don’t need a Mac to turn it on.

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