How to put an iPad in Kiosk Mode to lock it with single/multi apps?

With iPads gaining popularity as point-of-sale (POS) devices, iPad Kiosk Mode turns iPads into Kiosks by allowing devices to run a single app in the foreground with Single App Mode, to enhance user experience, business productivity and data security.

What is iPad Kiosk Mode?

iPad Kiosk Mode is a restrictive mechanism that enables iPads to be locked to a single app or a specific set of apps. Once iPad Kiosk Mode is enabled on the device, the users will be restricted from accessing other apps, settings and device functionalities.

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 into iPad Kiosk Mode with single app or multi-app Kiosk Mode, from a central point of control using the iPad Kiosk software/app.

This iPad Kiosk Mode guide covers the following

How to setup Kiosk Mode on iPads?

To setup iPad Kiosk Mode using an iPad Kiosk software, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: On the MDM console, navigate to Device Mgmt->Profiles->Create Profile dropdown and choose Apple.


Creating iPad Kiosk Mode Profile


Step 2: Provide a reference name and if required, a description and click on Continue.


Providing a name to iPad Kiosk Mode Profile


Step 3: Click on Kiosk from the list of policies. Choose the Kiosk type as Single app or Multi app, to enable iPad Kiosk Mode with multiple apps and in the next field, specify the iPad Kiosk app(s). Configure the device settings, and restrict the hardware buttons as required. Assuming 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 while the provisioned in iPad Kiosk Mode.

Step 4: Click on Save and Publish the profile.


iPad Kiosk Mode Configuration


Step 5: Distribute the Kiosk profile to a single device to test it, before deploying it to your production environment.

While enabling Kiosk Mode on iPad:

  • Ensure the app(s) to be provisioned on the device, are available in the App Repository.
  • Both Store apps and enterprise apps can be provisioned in iPad Kiosk Mode.
  • To silently install the iPad Kiosk 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.
  • 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.

Pre-requisites to configure iPad Kiosk Mode

To configure iPad Kiosk Mode using an MDM solution like Mobile Device Manager Plus or an iPad Kiosk app/software, ensure the following pre-requisites are met:

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.

Benefits of using an iPad Kiosk Software to enable iPad Kiosk Mode

Using an iPad Kiosk software/app such as Mobile Device Manager Plus (MDM) or any other Apple MDM to lock down Apple iPads in to Kiosk Mode provides additional control and has the following benefits over the built-in Guided Access capabilities

  • iPads can be locked down into iPad Kiosk Mode with multiple apps instead of just a single app.
  • Multiple devices can be configured remotely without any user intervention
  • Web resources can be distributed as Web shortcuts and added to Kiosk Mode.
  • Temporarily lock the device into a specific app, preventing users from accessing other apps for a particular duration
  • 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.
  • With home screen customization, define the apps' position on the home screen and add frequently accessed apps to the Dock, restricting users from rearranging or removing the app icons.

Need for iPad Kiosks

iPad Kiosk Mode allows organizations to turn iPads into Kiosks by locking them to a single app or multiple apps. iPad Kiosk Mode enabled devices are finding extensive use in various sectors such as 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, putting 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.

How to put an iPad into Kiosk Mode manually?

By default, Apple allows iPads to be put into a temporary Kiosk Mode with the Guided Access feature. It is usually considered as a parental control feature to lockdown iPad to one app.

To manually enable iPad Kiosk Mode, follow the below steps:

Step 1: Enabling Guided Access

    1. On the iPad to be provisioned in Kiosk Mode, navigate to Settings -> Accessibility -> Guided Access.

Enabling Guided Access for iPad Kiosk Mode

    1. Enable Guided Access and tap on Passcode Settings to set a passcode to be provided while entering or exiting Guided Access

Providing a Passcode for iPad Kiosk Mode

Step 2: Configuring app in Guided Access

    1. Open the app to be locked into iPad Kiosk Mode using Guided Access
    2. Triple click the Home button and select Guided Access.

Manually adding an app into iPad Kiosk Mode

    1. Select the areas of the screen to be disabled, and device functionalities to be disabled. Click on Start to initiate the Guided Access session.

Disabling device functionalities in iPad Kiosk Mode

Step 3: Exiting Guided Access Mode

    1. Triple click on the Home button
    2. Enter the Guided Access password or authorise the exit using TouchID or FaceID, if configured.

Disabling iPad Kiosk Mode

    1. The Guided Access session will be ended.

Ended iPad Kiosk Mode

Disadvantages of Guided Access

While Guided Access can allow organizations to enable a Kiosk like setup on iPads, it has a few drawbacks when compared to Kiosk app for iPads:

  • The iPads can only be locked into single-app Kiosk Mode.
  • The provisioning process is tedious and must be manually performed on all the devices.
  • Guided Access session can easily be ended by triple clicking the Home button or by rebooting the device.

 Refer for more details on iPad device management capabilities of Mobile Device Manager Plus.