What is an iOS kiosk lockdown software?

Emily Brown

Jun 1, 2020

12 min read

iOS Kiosk Lockdown Software is a security software that converts your iPhone/iPad into a kiosk device. The iOS devices can be locked down into a set of required applications or even a set of whitelisted web pages. 

Customers are used to interacting with a touchscreen on a daily basis. So, it is no wonder that iOS devices are becoming a great favorite for customer-facing kiosks. Easy deployment and increased security of the Apple devices are just two of the features which contribute to the popularity of iOS Kiosk Lockdown software. Restricting your publicly placed iPhone/iPad into a singular app or a set of custom business apps would remove the element of unnecessary interference, increasing the security for the kiosk devices. iOS Kiosk Mode helps in automating time-consuming and redundant processes leaving the employees free to use their time in a more efficient way. The kiosk devices are often placed outdoors and are unattended. These devices have to maintained and secured properly even after setting them up initially. Choosing the appropriate iOS Kiosk Lockdown Software is crucial for the implementation of your business use-case.  

iOS Kiosk Lockdown Software

Kiosk lockdown for iOS devices without using any kiosk software 

Apple provides ways to lock down your iPhones/iPads into a kiosk-style device without any kiosk lockdown software.  

  1. Guided Access Mode: The Guided Access Mode succeeds in converting the iOS device into a makeshift temporary kiosk. Guided Access is a feature found in all iOS devices which restricts the OS options for user access. 
  2. Single App Mode using Apple Configurator: Single App Mode is a more advanced feature that locks down the iOS device into a complete kiosk. The iOS device has to be supervised for achieving Single App Mode. It can be done using a Mac tool called Apple Configurator. 

Guided Access mode 

Student learnng alphabet in iPad locked to Guided Access Mode
Student learning alphabet in iPad locked to Guided Access Mode

Guided Access is the simplest way to limit your iOS device into a specific app. It is an Accessibility feature that prevents the user from switching to another app or returning to the Home Screen. Originally introduced as a parental control feature, Guided Access Mode has been successful in preventing the students from tampering with the device settings and helping them focus on the learning at hand. Another use of Guided Access is the “Guest Mode”, which allows you to handover your device for temporary usage without worrying about anyone snooping into your private data. 

Setting up Guided Access 

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Turn on “Guided Access”. 
  2. For configuring the Passcode Settings, tap on Passcode Settings > Click the “Set Guided Access Passcode” option. 
  3. Enter a passcode and confirm it. 
  4. Go for Touch ID/Face ID as a means to end the Guided Access Mode. 

Starting Guided Access mode in your iOS device 

  1. Open the app the device is to be locked down into. 
  2. If it is an iPhone X or later, triple-click the side button. For iPhone 8 or later, triple-click the Home button.  
  3. Circle areas on the screen using one finger to disable touch in those areas. 
  4. Tap on “Guided Access” > “Start”. 


  1. Open the app the device is to be locked down into. 
  2. Tell Siri to “Turn on Guided Access.” 

Guided Access Mode is a simple shortcut for restricting the users to single app. Additional features can be controlled with the Guided Access. If you know the passcode for Guided Access, you can manage the following features: 

  • Hardware buttons such as Sleep/Wake button and Volume buttons can be disabled during Guided Access Mode. 
  • Turn off the screen rotation.  
  • Disable the touch for the display while the Guided Access Mode is turned on. 
  • Restrict users from accessing the Keyboard. 
  • Choose a time limit for the Guided Access session. 

Exiting Guided Access 

  1. Triple press the Home/Side button to bring up the password prompt. 
  2. Enter your Guided Access Passcode to end the Guided Access Session. 
  3. If Touch ID/Face ID was previously configured, double press the Home/Side button and exit the Guided Access Mode. 

Guided Access Mode has proven a great asset for temporarily restricting the device to a single application. However, for enterprise or business purposes, this makeshift kiosk mode would fall short of the mark. For that, we need to move on to more advanced methods for locking down the iOS devices into Kiosk Mode. 

Single App mode using Apple Configurator 

Configuring iPhone using Apple Configurator
Configuring iPhone using Apple Configurator

Apple Configurator is a free Mac OS X tool used for configuring and deploying iOS devices using a physical USB connection. It allows the IT administrators to configure the settings and configurations in the devices before they are rolled out for the end users in enterprises. The Single App Mode is a complete lockdown feature for iOS devices. The iPhone/iPad needs to be supervised for enabling the Single App Mode. It can be enabled using an MDM or Apple Configurator. Single App Mode is preferred when the iOS device is to be converted to a single-purpose kiosk device. Such devices can be used as information kiosks, a digital display for advertisement purposes, or as a POS (Point of Sale) kiosk device. Unlike the Guided Access Mode, the end user would not have the option of exiting the Single App Mode with a passcode.  

Setting up Single App mode using Apple Configurator 

  1. Download and install Apple Configurator from App Store.  
  2. Connect your device to the Mac using a USB cable. 
  3. Supervise your iOS device using Apple Configurator. 
  4. When the device is supervised, select the connected device > Click on “Actions” menu > Tap on “Advanced” > Select “Start Single App Mode”. 
  5. Select the application from the list of installed applications. Click on Options on the same screen to configure advanced options such as touch, sleep/wake button, volume buttons, or auto-lock 
  6. The iPhone/iPad would be locked down into the selected app.  

Exiting Single App mode using Apple Configurator 

  1. Open the Apple Configurator application on your Mac. 
  2. Connect the kiosk device with Single App Mode to the Mac using a USB cable. 
  3. Control-click the device displayed on the screen > Click “Remove” > Tap on “Profiles” > Select the profile responsible for the Single App Mode on the device > Delete the selected profile. 

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Drawbacks of not using any iOS kiosk software

While Guided Access and Single App Mode using Apple Configurator are very useful tools, they have their disadvantages compared to iOS Kiosk Lockdown Softwares. These shortcuts are useful for deploying a small number of devices. Using an actual Kiosk Software for locking down your iOS devices would give you additional control and opportunity for mass deployment. 

Drawbacks of using Guided Access mode 

  • Temporary solution for locking down the device into a makeshift kiosk. It is not recommended to use it for serious business purposes. 
  • The security of the device is in question. The Guided Access Mode can be exited by the user using hardware buttons if the exit password is known or even with a lucky guess. 
  • It is possible to exit the Guided Access Mode by restarting the device using a combination of “Home” and “Sleep/Wake” buttons at the same time. The device boots back up and can be signed in using the device PIN.  

Drawbacks of using Single App mode using Apple Configurator 

  • For mass deployment, it would be time-consuming to configure the iOS devices using Apple Configurator. You would have to physically access each of the devices and manually configure the Single App Mode.  
  • A Mac is mandatory for locking down the iOS devices into a Single App Mode, which may not be commercially desirable. 

Considering all the facets of a business use-case, it is desirable to go for scalable iOS Kiosk Software Lockdown options for locking down the devices into Kiosk Mode.  

MDM as a kiosk software for iOS devices 

Businessman checking email in iPad locked down into Kiosk Mode
Businessman checking email in iPad locked down into Kiosk Mode

A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution like Hexnode helps in easily setting up, managing, and monitoring iOS Kiosk devices from a single Web Portal. Using an MDM to lockdown the iOS device into Kiosk gives you more freedom of options and features while giving you a fully-fledged Kiosk Lockdown mechanism. When incorporated with additional security features provided by an MDM, the iOS devices are locked down securely into a true kiosk withstanding any external interferences.   

Hexnode iOS kiosk lockdown software features 

  • Mass deployment of iPhones/iPads using over-the-air enrollment with Apple Business Manager integration. 
  • Lock down your iOS device into a Single App, Multi App, or a Web App Kiosk. 
  • A custom screen with the selected apps replaces the home screen of the device. 
  • If the location tracking feature is enabled, the IT admin can be updated on the device location at all times.  
  • Configure compliance rules and get updated instantly via email if the device goes out of compliance. 
  • Broadcast important messages to the device users remotely using Hexnode Messenger.  
  • For customization, give a custom lock screen message and configure the wallpaper for the kiosk device. 
  • Remotely view the iOS kiosk devices deployed over any corner of the world from the Hexnode Web Portal. 

How does an iOS kiosk browser help your organization?

How can you lock down your device into kiosk mode using Hexnode? 

iPhone locked into a Single App Kiosk Mode
iPhone locked into a Single App Kiosk Mode

The devices can be locked down into Single App Mode, Autonomous Single App Mode, Multi App Mode, or a Web App Kiosk Mode depending on the business requirements. 

Single App mode features 

  • The device is restricted to a single app that runs in full screen. 
  • The iPhone/iPad launches the locked down application even on rebooting the device. 
  • The device settings are limited to the accessibility options configured in the Kiosk policy. 

Autonomous Single App mode features 

  • A single app is launched into the foreground of the iPhone/iPad. The other apps and notifications would not interfere with this app function. The app is released only when the user is finished working with it. It is ideal for online examinations. 
  • Prevents the accidental exit of the apps. 
  • This mode is supported only by specific apps. The apps from the App Store does not support Autonomous Single App Mode. The app developer controls when the app launches to the foreground.   

Multi App mode features 

  • The device is locked down into a set of whitelisted apps. All other installed apps are hidden from the view of the user. 
  • A custom start page displaying the set of whitelisted apps is launched instead of the device home screen. 

Web App kiosk mode features 

  • The iPhone/iPad is locked into a single Web App or a set of required Web Apps. The Web Apps run in full screen. The device user is able to browse only the selected Web App URLs. 
  • The IT admin can choose either Safari Browser or Hexnode Browser Lite for accessing the whitelisted Web URLs. 
  • The accessibility settings can be configured from the Web Portal. 
  • For Hexnode Browser Lite, advanced options for refreshing the page and clearing the cache are available. 

Using an iOS Kiosk Lockdown Software is important for saving time and money in the long run. For deploying one or two single-purpose devices, the Single App Mode using Apple Configurator may work. However, it would not suffice for medium/large or even small businesses. Using an MDM with ABM integration is a viable solutionThe effective management of the devices in the field is a requirement that cannot be budged on. While choosing an iOS Kiosk Lockdown Software, make sure that you make no compromise with the features or the device security measures. 

Emily Brown

Reading is therapy and writing is healing...sincerely, a cool nerd.

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