Technology NewsHow to use Guided Access on iPhone

How to use Guided Access on iPhone

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Guided Access for iPhone is a useful tool for those who want to focus on the task at hand, as well as for parents.


These days, it’s easy to get distracted by the various bleeps, bloops, dings, and swooshes that come from your phone. When you’re trying to stick to the task at hand, or simply want to watch a movie without interruption, the Guided Access feature on iPhone can help. It’s also a good parental control tool if you ever decide to hand your phone off to a child.


This feature, put simply, restricts the phone to only a single app, and even lets you decide which features of said app will work while you have Guided Access actively running. It’s sort of like a customized Do Not Disturb mode that helps you focus on what you’re doing without being tempted to play your mobile game because you just earned some coins or check the Instagram follows and likes when you should be working or studying. With Guided Access, parents can prevent young kids from accessing anything on their personal devices but the app they are permitted to use for screen time. You can set up a Guided Access profile ahead of time and then start a session whenever desired.

Using Guided Access is simple with any of the best iPhones from iPhone X and later, including the iPhone 14. It requires just a few steps.

  1. Go to Settings, Accessibility, and Scroll down to Guided Access.
  2. Turn Guided Access on by moving the slider to the right until it turns green.
  3. Set a Guided Access passcode. You can use your iPhone passcode if you want something easy to remember, or even use Face ID.
  4. Set a Time Limit if desired, choosing a desired sound that will play and audible indication of the time remaining in the session.
  5. You can choose to turn the Accessibility Shortcut on or off while a Guided Access session is in progress. With it on, a triple-click of the side button will display the Accessibility Shortcut.
  6. You can also adjust the Display Auto-Lock to change the time that passes before the iPhone automatically locks while you’re in the middle of a Guided Access session from 30 seconds up to 15 minutes, or never.

  7. Once these parameters are established, open the app you want to use during a Guided Access session.
  8. Triple-tap the button on the right of the phone and in the pop-up, choose Guided Access.

  9. You can draw a circle around the areas of the app you want to disable, then select Start at the top, right and these areas will be shaded out and unusable.
    iphone guided access block section

  10. Under Options, accessed on the bottom, left, you can also do things like lock the volume button and set time limits for from one minute up to as long as a full 24-hour period.
    iphone guided access options

  11. The app will now be the only one that can be accessed until you turn Guided Access off or the time limit has elapsed. If you selected a section to disable (for example, the top-right corner where you can switch profiles on the Netflix app), this particular function within the selected app will be inaccessible as well.
  12. To turn Guided Access off, triple-tap the right-side button again, uncheck Guided Access, and enter your six-digit passcode.

Why would you use Guided Access? First, Guided Access is a good way to help you focus on a task at hand. If you’re working on a document or reading an eBook on the iPhone, for example, and don’t want to be disturbed, you can turn on Guided Access. The phone then effectively becomes an e-reader. You won’t learn of any incoming social media tags or notifications, e-mails, mobile game app rewards, phone calls, or other distractions.

Second, as noted, Guided Access is useful for parents who hand their iPhone over to a child from time to time to keep them occupied for a short period. This way, they can’t dig around and access private information. Young children could easily (and accidentally) send a message, view inappropriate content, or even delete important information from your device. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to always back up your iPhone to iTunes or another source. But Guided Access can help prevent this from happening in the first place.

In my screenshot above, I ran Guided Access in the Netflix app and circled the Profile icon at the top, right. This would allow a child to choose and watch an approved movie from their kid profile while you tend to an important phone call, for example, but not allow them to switch to your adult profiles to access content that isn’t age appropriate.

Guided Access is handy in many ways, and with some set-up and a few clicks, you can easily turn it on and off with ease.

An image showing the front and back side of the Apple iPhone 14 Pro in Space Black color.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro

The iPhone 14 Pro brings a new front design, upgraded cameras, and a new all-powerful Apple silicon for the most premium iPhone yet.

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