How To Lend Your iPhone Securely with Guided Access in 2023

Guided Access elliminates the risk of losing your private data to an unexpected borrower! Follow these steps to securely lend your iPhone and have peace of mind the next time someone asks to use your device for a call or photo.

This past weekend, my daughter showed me a meme on her iPhone when a chat notification popped up at the top of her device. This got me thinking about how often I will show something on my screen to another person, and I would not want them to access another application or see a notification.

Furthermore, if you think of what the average smartphone now stores or has access to, showing and sharing your device with others can be quite a privacy and security risk. Stop and think about your social media profiles, stock trading apps, instant messenger/texting conversations, photos or videos that you would rather others did not see. Apple prides itself on the privacy of others and has built-in functionality to allow you to hand over your iPhone without worrying about what they might see or get into. The following demonstrates a few preventive measures before handing over your device.

Enabling Guided Access with Passcode in iOS 15.x

The setting I learned about on the iPhone is called Guided Access. To enable this privacy feature using iOS 15.x, navigate to your iOS Settings, select the Accessibility menu option, and finally, Guided Access under the General section. Click the Guided Access toggle switch on (it will turn green), and the feature is ready to go. I recommend you use Passcode Settings to set a passcode to protect the Guided Access mode when it is turned on.

What is Guided Access?

Guided Access is a feature available on Apple devices that allows you to lock your device in a single app and control which features are available to the user. It is particularly useful for lending your device to others or for staying focused on a specific task.

Guided Access is built into iOS. The screenshot is taken from iOS 15.6.

Does Guided Access work on all Apple devices?

Yes, Guided Access is available on all Apple devices running iOS 6 or later, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.

What happens if I forget my Guided Access passcode?

If you forget your Guided Access passcode, you can reset it by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. This will erase all of your device settings, including your Guided Access passcode.

Can I use Guided Access in conjunction with other accessibility features, such as VoiceOver or Zoom?

Yes, Guided Access can be used in conjunction with other accessibility features on your device. Simply enable the features you want to use and then enable Guided Access. Keep in mind that some features may be limited or disabled while in Guided Access mode.

Turning On Guided Access

Now that the feature has been enabled, it is time to check out how to turn Guided Access on. Once you are in the application you want to share, you need to triple-tap the side button to turn on Guided Access. Older devices will find that triple-clicking the home button, if your iPhone has one, will also enable Guided Access. So, for instance, if a stranger needs to make a phone call and wants to borrow your iPhone, you launch the Phone app, then triple-click the corresponding button. Doing so will lock them into the phone app only. To turn it off, triple-click the button again and enter the four-digit code you entered.

Once in Guided Access, you can then tap Options to configure how Guided Access is going to work: You’re able to restrict the volume buttons, side buttons, motion, and keyboards. You can even turn off touchscreen functionality and put a time limit on Guided Access mode. Finally, tapping Start will launch Guided Access.

Whoever is using the iPhone is now locked into the current app. As stated above, you need to open up the app you are sharing first—the Phone app, a particular game, etc.—before you triple-tap the button on your device to launch Guided Access. Then, you get out of Guided Access by triple-tapping the same button once again. Of course, you are prompted with the passcode first that you set at the start. Without it, you remain locked in the app.

Secure Your iPhone’s Privacy

The idea is that without the passcode, the person using your iPhone can’t get out of the app you’ve put them in—there’s no way to switch apps, open up the Control Center, or even turn the phone off. One extra option in the Photos app is to hide photos and videos by opening them, tapping the share button (bottom left), and choosing Hide. This hides these pictures and clips in a particular Hidden folder. They won’t be visible in normal view in the Photos app and won’t appear in searches, but the person borrowing your smartphone can still get at them by choosing Hidden from the Albums tab.

How do I exit Guided Access mode?

To exit Guided Access mode, triple-click the home or side button and enter your passcode. You can also use Touch ID or Face ID if your device supports it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Guided Access?

Guided Access is a feature on iPhone that allows users to limit access to a specific app and disable certain functionalities on their device.

Can I limit access to specific areas of the screen with Guided Access?

Yes, you can set specific screen areas as off-limits by drawing circles or rectangles around them.

Can I set a time limit for Guided Access?

Yes, you can set a time limit for Guided Access by tapping on the Options button and selecting Time Limit.

Is it safe to lend my iPhone to someone else with Guided Access enabled?

Yes, Guided Access allows you to limit access to your iPhone while keeping your personal data and information secure.

Can I use Guided Access for accessibility purposes?

Yes, Guided Access is a useful tool for accessibility purposes, allowing users to customize their iPhone’s functionality to meet their specific needs.

We hope this article has helped you learn how to lend your iPhone securely. Do you have any tips or tricks? Be sure to share them in the comment section below.

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  • Mike

    Drawing from almost 30 years of extensive experience as an IT executive leader in various verticals, including technology, energy, industrial, and food service, Mike Madole is now sharing his expertise through Madole Labs. Whether you're a seasoned IT professional or a tech hobbyist, Mike is dedicated to helping you achieve strategic direction, growth, and performance.

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