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iPad Kiosk Mode – 3 Ways to Lock Your iPads into Single App Mode

Jan 27, 2021 | 42Gears Team

3 Ways to Lock Your iPads into Single App Mode

iPad Kiosk Mode refers to transforming Apple iPads into dedicated-purpose devices. With iPad Kiosk Mode, you can lock apps on iPads and allow the users to access only one app (also known as Single App Mode). Once Kiosk Mode is configured, the iPad runs securely in an immersive single-purpose environment, keeping users focused on a single app. Setting up Single App Mode on an iPad ensures users are unable to intentionally or otherwise misuse the device or access “distracting” apps.

How to set up iPad Kiosk Mode

There are three ways to lock down iPads to a single app. 

Method 1: iOS/iPadOS Guided Access

Method 2: Single App Mode using Apple Configurator

Method 3: Single App Mode using an MDM Solution (Recommended) 

Please note that all methods described here apply to iPhone and iPod Touch devices as well as iPads. Feel free to use these steps to configure kiosk mode on iPhone and iPod Touch, and convert them into single-purpose kiosks locked down to a single app.

Benefits of Single App Mode in various industries


  • Restricting iOS devices to only a single app helps businesses in the hospitality industry configure their self-check-in devices with only the app required for guest check-ins.
  • IPads are becoming the go-to tool for many educational institutions. iPad Kiosk mode allows teachers to ensure that their students only have access to the intended apps. Blocking iOS or iPadOS devices for a specific duration or until a specified task is completed allows educational institutions to restrict access to any other content on the device during an examination.
  • Restaurants are increasingly deploying apps to take orders, and owners can use the restricted access feature to monitor their staff while they are away to ensure that they only use the iPad for business purposes.

Logistics companies also use iOS kiosk mode to restrict access to unnecessary apps and video streaming apps on company-owned devices.

Method 1 – iOS/iPadOS Guided Access

Guided Access is available on all Apple iOS/iPadOS devices, including iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Step-by-step instructions to configure Guided Access are available on this Apple support page.

Advantages of Guided Access

  • Easy to set up.
  • Does not require an external computer with a configuration tool.

Disadvantages of Guided Access

  • Restarting the iPad cancels Guided Access mode.

Method 2 – Single App Mode using Apple Configurator 2

You must have a supervised iPad to use this feature. You would need Apple Configurator 2 to supervise the iPad. Once the iPad is supervised, you can use the advanced option – Start Single App Mode (as described on the Apple support page) to lock down the iPad to just one app.

Advantages of Single App Mode with Apple Configurator 2

  • Better security – restarting the iPad does not stop Single App Mode.
  • Can configure a modest number of devices simultaneously, although it is very difficult to scale up efficiently.

Disadvantages of Single App Mode with Apple Configurator 2

  • Not easy to set up or deactivate Single App Mode. Setup requires an Apple computer with Apple Configurator 2 installed, and deactivation also requires an Apple computer. Moreover, deactivation may require the same computer used for initial setup. 

Method 3 – Single App Mode using SureMDM

If you have a large number of iPads on which you want to set up kiosk mode and lock them down to a single app, you should look at using an MDM (mobile device management) solution such as SureMDM. SureMDM from 42Gears can secure and manage iOS and iPadOS devices through their enterprise life-cycle, from provisioning to deployment and decommissioning.

To set up Single App Mode on an iPad with SureMDM, you need to create a profile and apply it to the device. This profile dictates which application should be launched in Single App Mode. You can disable Single App Mode by applying another profile. 

Note that before applying the MDM profile with Single App Mode enabled, the device must be supervised.  You can learn more about supervision of iPads and other iOS devices on the Apple supervision support page.

Besides Single App Mode, MDM profile functionality can also apply additional restrictions like blocking access to the App Store, iMessage, FaceTime, etc.

Advantages of Single App Mode using SureMDM

  • Quick enrollment in bulk via Apple Business Manager (ABM) or Apple Configurator 2.
  • Easily exit Single App Mode by applying a profile over the wireless network.
  • Opportunity to secure, monitor, and manage your fleet of iPad devices from one centralized console. 

Disadvantages of Single App Mode using SureMDM

  • Might not work for personal device use.


SureMDM Kiosk Mode allows users to improve their productivity by blocking irrelevant applications. Here are three methods – Guided Access, Single App Mode with Apple Configurator 2, and Single App Mode with SureMDM – one can use to configure kiosk mode on iPads and lock them to a single app.

If you need to set up kiosk mode on multiple iPads, an MDM solution is by far the best option. You can For users looking to set up kiosk mode on multiple iPads, an MDM solution is by far the best option. You can also manage iPad kiosks remotely, and implement additional measures to keep your fleet of iPads safe and productive.

Are you looking to enable single
app mode on iPads?

Try SureMDM for Free

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