Using Guided Access and Screen Time to Prevent Exiting an App + preventing deleting apps, installing apps and in-app purchases + info for those using Android, Amazon Fire and Windows devices (updated 11/23/22)

If you will be using an iPad with kids, then Guided Access and Screen Time are your new BFEs (Best. Features. Ever!). They can be used to disable the home button (or swiping to exit on devices without a home button), lock the child into an app, prevent access to specific apps, etc.. Especially critical if you will be using the iPad as an AAC device or using it in therapy with kids with poor impulse control.

Apple’s video:

Also see this written info from Apple for the most current info and step by step directions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612

And info at:

How to Lock Into a Single App on iPhone & iPad with Guided Access

Nice tutorial from The TalkLink Trust about Guided Access: https://youtu.be/FlQODNugXxA

Unfortunately Guided Access automatically turns off when the iPad gets low on power. Even when it’s on it’s not hack-proof. So it’s important to backup any customized programming: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2021/03/21/backup-aac-customized-programming/


How to Maximize Battery Life on an iPad or iPhone: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2022/08/24/how-to-maximize-battery-life-on-an-ipad-or-iphone/


What to do if you’re stuck in Guided Access:


And there are a few important settings to adjust in order to prevent the AAC app (or any other apps) from being deleted. This is also where you need to toggle off the ability to download apps and the ability to make in-app purchases. Be sure to set a strong password.

Use Screen Time alongside Guided Access to provide even more control.

Apple – Use Screen Time on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208982

Nice tutorial from The TalkLink Trust about Screen Time. It’s more complicated that Guided Access but not hard to do once you get the hang of it. https://youtu.be/8EWNVcWWWVM

What happens after failed Screen Time passcode attempts: https://www.softwaredive.com/what-happens-after-10-failed-screen-time-passcode-attempts/

How to block deleting an app: https://osxdaily.com/2020/06/13/how-stop-deleting-apps-iphone-ipad-screen-time/

How to block installing apps: https://osxdaily.com/2020/07/13/how-prevent-app-installation-iphone-ipad-screen-time/

How to block in-app purchases: https://osxdaily.com/2020/05/22/how-turn-off-in-app-purchases-iphone-ipad-screen-time/

How to disable Safari browser: https://www.mobicip.com/content/how-do-i-disable-or-enable-safari-my-childs-iphone-or-ipad Note: iPads on a “managed” system will have even stronger ways to lock down the device. Check with the IT department in charge of that managed system to determine the options.


Android: Screen pinning (similar to Guided Access): https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-use-guided-access-android-4689158. The exact steps may look different or vary depending on your exact model of Android device.

How to pin the screen on an Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite: https://www.devicesfaq.com/en/pin-screen/samsung-galaxy-tab-s6-lite-2022

If you have a Samsung Android tablet, also look at Samsung Kids as a way to create a secured area where you can add any combination of apps: https://youtu.be/9154zJmOxis. Can use the included My Camera to take pictures and videos and then view them within My Gallery. The included Bobby’s Canvas app has a fun drawing area. Exiting Samsung Kids is secured with a PIN. More info: https://www.samsung.com/us/apps/samsung-kids/

The YouTube Kids app (https://bit.ly/3O0FpIT) or the Video Collections app (https://bit.ly/3zEuW1k or on Samsung Galaxy Store: https://bit.ly/3zGG7q7 ) can be used as a way to save links to specific YouTube videos or channels. Adding one of these apps within the secured Samsung Kids area would allow Gestalt Language Processors to access videos as part of their communication system in a secured way.

Amazon Fire tablet: Amazon Kids can be used as a way to create a secured area with just the app(s) and access to device features that you choose: https://amzn.to/3Pfz2BN. You can also use Screen Pinning to lock into a single app: https://www.devicesfaq.com/en/pin-screen/amazon-kindle-fire

Windows: Set up a single-app kiosk on Windows 10/11: https://bit.ly/3Ocxdo3 (applicable for Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education & Windows 11. Unfortunately you can not set Kiosk mode for Windows 10 Home edition (the operating system on my AWOW AiBook 10 Windows tablet / mini laptop: https://bit.ly/3IJRBf8).


Important Note: Decisions about when and how to secure devices need to be made based on individual needs, age of the user, how long they have been using AAC, etc… The needs of a young child first learning how to use AAC are very different than the needs of an older teen or adult who uses tech to multitask.

I would never hand a young child a totally unlocked / unsecured iPad or tablet that then could access all of the internet. There are several reasons why that could be very risky.

As you can see above there are ways to choose how secure a device needs to be by using a combo of options. It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”.

See “Game Apps & AAC: why these need to be on separate devices” for a real life example and considerations: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/07/31/game-apps-aac-why-these-need-to-be-on-separate-devices/


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

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How to use Guided Access to prevent exiting an app – Best. Feature. Ever!

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Sharing this again since many SLPs, teachers & parents may have received a new iPad for Christmas. If you will be using the iPad with kids, then Guided Access is your new BFE (Best. Feature. Ever!). It can be used to disable the home button and lock the child into an app. Especially critical if you will be using the iPad as an AAC device or using it in therapy with kids with poor impulse control. Here is the PDF guide that I share with families. It shows how to set it up step by step: http://schools.nyc.gov/documents/d75/technology/assistive/Quick/iPad%20Update%20-%20GUIDED%20ACCESS%20(PDF).pdf

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Updated for 2020: That handout from 2015 is no longer available. See this info from Apple for the most current info and step by step directions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 25 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is a kids book reviewer with a focus on great picture books, a kids toy / product reviewer with a focus on those that are helpful for kids with special needs & an app beta tester for educational and therapeutic app developers. She loves sharing info about great things to use with kids of all abilities.

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