Android/iOS: Sometimes when you show pictures to a friend or relative, they start rudely swiping to other pictures. We have a hack for that. But what if they start opening other apps? Good Lord! I was shocked to hear people do this. But you can stop them. Here’s how to enable the Guided Access shortcut and easily lock people into one app when they borrow your phone. You can even use it to entirely freeze your phone on one screen.
“Mum, what are you doing. Why are you touching it. Mum.” Photo: malcolm lightbody
Guided Access (“screen pinning” on Android) is a kind of demo mode that prevents the user from leaving the current app without a passcode or fingerprint. It’s great for lending your phone to:
- Strangers taking your picture
- Your immature friend who’s only supposed to use the maps app while you drive, but who will definitely try to text your boyfriend “I can’t do this any more, I’m tired of the lies”
Turn on a shortcut
First, enable a shortcut ahead of time. On Android, enable screen pinning:
- Open Settings
- Scroll to Fingerprints & security
- Toggle Screen pinning on
On iOS, enable Guided Access:
- Open Settings
- Go to General > Accessibility and scroll to the bottom for Guided Access
- Toggle Guided Access on
- Toggle Accessibility Shortcut on
Now whenever you’re in an app, just click the home button two (Android) or three (iOS) times, and you’ll be locked into the app until you enter a passcode. This way, you can discreetly lock up your phone before you hand it over. The borrower will only notice it if they try to betray your trust.
Extra features in iOS
On iOS, the first time you enable Guided Access on each app, the app will ask which features you want to limit. (Guided Access always blocks notifications.) With app-specific controls, you can:
- Disable certain parts of the screen
- Disable keyboards, volume control and other hardware buttons
- Lock the phone into vertical display
- Disable touch entirely
- Set a time limit
Disabling all touch controls essentially locks the phone. It’s a great way to show a single photo or video to a child or a rude adult.
And if you want to use it to lock yourself into a “good habit” app such as Kindle, you can also adjust your Passcode Settings to exclude Touch ID. Then you’ll have to enter your passcode before switching over to Twitter. I’ve found that this little bit of friction helps cut down on the temptation. Because sometimes, you are the snooper.