I write a monthly column over atÂ AlliOSNews. Itâ€™s a techie site â€“ extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) Iâ€™m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.
(Iâ€™m well aware itâ€™s Friday. I was traveling this week – at an honest-to-goodness TechNerd Conference. If you want TechMom Tuesday on Tuesdays, head on over toÂ AlliOSNewsÂ for all things Apple. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, wellâ€¦go on.)
â€œMommy? Can I play Jake on the iPad?â€
I prefer the iPad to the television. There really are some very nice learning apps for TechTots, such as Wheels on the Bus and Jakeâ€™s Neverland Pirate School, based off the Disney Jr. show (YOHO!). The games are interactive and less likely to drive TechMom nutty.
But even as much excitement as the apps provide, the allure of pushing buttons is often much greater.
The majority of our iDevice time is usually spent saying, â€œGood job matey! You found the monkey and earned a gold dubloon. No, donâ€™t push that button. No! <sigh> Would you like me to start the game over? Absolutely not. Thatâ€™s Mommyâ€™s app. Stop pushing that button or Iâ€™m taking the iPad away.â€
With iOS 6, Apple introduced Kid Mode â€“ ability to lock a device into an app. And the angels sang.
Head to the â€œSettingsâ€ app and choose â€œGeneral.â€ Scroll down and select and tap on â€œAccessibility.â€
Under the â€œLearningâ€ subsection, click â€œGuided Access.â€
Toggle the switch to â€œON.â€ Tap â€œSet Passcodeâ€ and (this will shock you) set a passcode. (This is the secret access youâ€™ll use to escape out of Guided Access mode.
You can also decide if you prefer to â€œEnable Screen Sleep.â€ I highly recommend turning it â€œON,â€ because this will help sustain battery life but making your iDevice go dark if itâ€™s left inactive for a period of time.
You are now all set to provide hours of entertainment IN A SINGLE APPLICATION to a TechTot. Feel free to commence blinking without fear that the wee one has navigated to your Mail and managed to delete all.
Now that Guided Access is configured, you can use it to lock the iOS device into any app you want.
Launch your desired app and triple-click the Home button to summon the gods of Accessibility.
Set the Guided Access rules by deciding if youâ€™ll allow touch or motion (flipping from portrait to landscape). I always turn off Motion to prevent freakouts due to an unexpected screen flip.
Second star to the right and straight on â€˜till morning. Youâ€™re in Neverland for the long-haul mateys!
Sooner or later, youâ€™ll feel the need to escape. Which means youâ€™re going to want out of Guided Access.
Triple-click the Home button again and enter your chosen passcode. This time click â€œEndâ€ when the Accessibility menu appears.
Warning: Although itâ€™s never happened to me, I have heard rumors of a bug that causes third-party apps to get stuck, rendering your escape route unescapable. If the bug has not yet been addressed and you find yourself in the unfortunate loop of â€œSay the pirate passcode!â€ force a reboot by holding Home and Power buttons together for 15 seconds.