The easy hack all parents need to know if you lend your child your iPhone.

Every parent has given their kids their phone to play with at one point or another because they needed to be kept entertained, to sit still, to be quiet. I know I have.

Aside from the guilt that you feel handing your child a screen to stare at, there are other challenges to this taboo activity: parental control. But believe it or not, there is actually a way to achieve this. It’s called ‘Guided Access’ and it’s a setting that already exists on your iPhone.

A friend of mine showed me this a few months ago and I kid you not, it’s a major game changer as a parent.

LISTEN: Bill Gates has spoken.

What the heck is Guided Access? It’s an iPhone function that limits your phone to a single app and lets you control what you can do in that app. For parents, this means you can disable areas of your screen you don’t want your kids touching (no accidental photo shot up a toddler’s nose will be posted on your Facebook) AND it disables hardware buttons – the home and lock buttons.

What does this mean for parents? Parental control, at last. When you turn on Guided Access your kids can’t do things like:

  • Change the volume
  • Get out of the app
  • Go to the home screen
  • Lock your phone
  • Touch parts of the screen you don’t want them to (e.g. leave a comment on Instagram)

You know the surprise when you get your phone back and your kid has rummaged through your apps, deleted photos and contacts, changed your settings or – heaven forbid – called someone at random? Well you can kiss that dreaded feeling goodbye. HALLELUJAH.

How to set it up? Follow these simple steps:

  1. ‘Settings’
  2. ‘General’
  3. ‘Accessibility’ (and then scroll down, near the bottom)
  4. ‘Guided Access’ – turn it ON.
    While you’re in there, you can also set a passcode and/or timer too.
  5. Now, open any app your kids regularly use
  6. Triple tap your home button which will start Guided Access

How to disable parts of your screen?

  • While in Guided Access mode - triple tap home button (again)
  • Input your code (if you have one)
  • Circle the areas of your screen you wish to disable
  • Select 'Resume' or 'End' - VOILA!
  • Your iPhone is now child proof

How to end Guided Access?

  • While in Guided Access mode - triple tap home button
  • Input your code (if you have one)
  • Select 'End'

This has been so valuable to me, more than words can say and I cannot thank my friend enough. Best. Hack. Ever.

Do you have a parenting hack to share with us?