Lockdown iPads into Kiosk Mode

Among various gadgets used for business today, iPads are quite popular, especially for their flexibility and powerful features. Be it for presentations or point-of-sale (POS), iPads provide enhanced user experience and with the right apps, serves as a complete business tool. For improving business productivity and data security, organizations enable iPad Kiosk Mode on devices.

This document covers the following

What is iPad Kiosk Mode?

Kiosk Mode is the provision available to lock down iPads to either a single app or a specific set of apps. Apple by default supports the Guided Access feature, which allows iPads to be locked down to a single app. While this helps in case of POS devices, many organizations require iPad Kiosk Mode provisioned devices to run a specific set of apps. With a mobile device management solution like Mobile Device Manager Plus, doubling up as iPad Kiosk software, it is possible to lock down devices to the required app(s), control device settings, and also restrict the hardware buttons. Furthermore, a large number of iPads can be remotely provisioned as single app or multi-app Kiosk Mode, from a central point of control.

Need for iPad Kiosks

iPads provisioned with a single app or multiple apps are extensively used in various sectors like retail, education and healthcare among others. Here's how iPad Kiosk Mode plays an important role

  • Retail
  • Retail stores are increasingly adopting self check-out counters as they reduce the chances of human error and provide better customer service. Devices provisioned in iPad Kiosk Mode are the perfect solution. The devices can be locked down to a single app to avoid misuse and features like Auto Lock and Screen Rotation disabled to allow better user experience.

  • Education
  • Schools are integrating with Apple School Manager and are adopting iPads to conduct classes and exams. In such cases, provisioning the iPads into Kiosk Mode is the obvious answer. Kiosk Mode can ensure students don't access browser, calculator and other apps that may cause distractions during classes.  

  • Healthcare
  • In hospitals, iPad Kiosks are used extensively for patient bedside monitoring, employee attendance, and even during surgeries. To ensure these devices are not misused and are used only for specified purposes, these devices are locked down into Kiosk Mode.

Benefits of using an iPad Kiosk Software

Locking down iPad in Kiosk Mode using an iPad Kiosk software, provides additional control and has the following benefits, over using the in-built Guided Access capabilities

  • iPads can be locked down to run a specific set of apps instead of just a single app.
  • Web resources can be distributed as Web shortcuts and added to Kiosk Mode.
  • Automate the installation of the apps not available on the device, when provisioned in Kiosk Mode.
  • Pre-configure various settings like Auto Lock, Screen Rotation, Volume Buttons etc., while provisioning devices into Kiosk Mode.
  • Provide access to basic settings like Wi-Fi and prevent users from modifying other settings on devices.

Steps to enable iPad Kiosk Mode with Mobile Device Manager Plus

With MDM, provisioning devices into iPad Kiosk Mode is a simple process

NOTE: As the support for Device Enrollment Program is discontinued by Apple from December 1, 2019, migrate to Apple Business Manager to continue managing devices.

Follow the steps given below to associate the Kiosk profile to the iPads in your organization.

  • On the MDM console, navigate to Device Mgmt->Profiles->Create Profile dropdown and choose Apple.
  • Provide a reference name and if required, a description and click on Continue.
  • Click on Kiosk from the list of policies. Choose the Kiosk type as Single app or Multi app, and in the next field, specify the app(s). Configure the device settings, and restrict the hardware buttons as required. Assusing a POS device is to be used as a self-service Kiosk, the Sleep/Wake button can be disabled to ensure the device is always on.
  • Click on Save and Publish the profile.
  • Go to Groups & Devices and click on the Devices tab.
  • To test the functionality of the Kiosk profile, select a particular iPad to be provisioned in Kiosk.
  • From the Action dropdown, choose Associate profile and select the profile from the options shown.
  • Click on Select to complete the process.

If the functionality of the Kiosk profile on the device is satisfactory, the profile can be associated to groups of devices.

The app(s) to be provisioned on the device, should be available in the App Repository. Both Store apps and enterprise apps can be provisioned in iPad Kiosk Mode. To silently install the app(s) on the devices in Kiosk mode, Store apps need to be purchased from Apple Business Manager. In the case of enterprise apps, the .ipa file has to be uploaded to MDM after which the apps can be silently deployed on the Kiosk devices, without requiring an account with Apple Business Manager. This also ensures the updates to these apps are managed easily. The advantage of using MDM here is that, app updates can be tested on specific devices before deployment to the iPads in the production environment, which eliminates productivity and security issues that might arise due to bugs in the updates.