Family Travel: A must-know setting for your iPhone

Toddler on Ipad on the Plane

This is a bit random for me, but I figured I’ve shared this with enough mom-friends lately that it was time to write a post. File this under “Tips for Flying with a Toddler.”

First things first: I confess, we resort to screen-time with Hudson in travel situations. (Mock gasp.) Long trips in cramped, crowded, confining situations? Time to break the rules.

If you’ve ever handed over your iPhone or iPad to a toddler for distraction on a plane (or in the doctor’s office or while making important decisions in furniture stores… or anywhere else), then you’ve probably cursed Apple for not having a screen-lock option.

Toddler on an iPad

And guess what? The last operating system, iOS 6, introduced an accessibility feature called Guided Access. It’s like they finally listened. It’s game-changing. It may as well be called “kid mode.”

It allows a parent to control screen-time and limit access to one app (or video) by disabling the Home button, and by giving the option to restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.

Simply go into Settings and tap General>Accessibility>Guided Access to turn it on and select a 4-digit passcode (that you’ll have to remember to get in and out of the locked screen).

The next time you open the app (or start the video) you want to run for them, triple-click the home button and choose which restrictions you want in place. I usually circle the top row and bottom row of the screen so that all of the touch-screen options (like “share” and “pause,” etc.) are off-limits. This keeps him from accidentally pausing or exiting an episode of Caillou every five seconds. Or firing off random tweets. Or deleting personal photos.

To stop the session (even if it’s just to adjust the volume), you triple-click the home button again, enter your passcode, and select end. You can use the triple-click/guided access trick any time, once you’ve set-up the option in Settings.

Finally. Right!?

Toddler on a Plane

No judgment. There’s still plenty of time for this.

Toddler on a Plane

P.S. Top tips for flying with a baby or toddler, favorite travel gear for small kids, and packing a diaper bag (early on).

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