Many iPhone and iPad games include banner ads that take up part of your screen. Accidentally tap the ad, and you’ll be ripped from the game and taken to another app, like the App Store or Safari. Enable iOS’ “Guided Access” and you won’t have this problem.

This trick doesn’t actually block the ads, it just ensures you won’t accidentally tap them and get ripped from the game you’re playing. Sure, some games offer a paid version of the game or an in-app purchase to get rid of ads, and if so, that’s probably a better option. But some games don’t even offer ad-free versions, so this is a good plan B.

How to Enable Guided Access

RELATED: How to Lock Down Your iPad or iPhone For Kids

This relies on the Guided Access feature in Apple’s iOS. We’ve previously covered Guided Access as a way to lock down your iPhone or iPad for children. However, Guided Access is a very powerful feature with other uses. It can restrict your iOS device to a single app and even disable access to certain areas of the screen.

To enable Guided Access, open the Settings app and go to General > Accessibility. Scroll down and tap “Guided Access” under Learning.

Enable the “Guided Access” slider here and you’ll see several options. Tap the “Passcode Settings” option.

From here, you can tap “Set Guided Access Passcode” to set a passcode specifically for guided access. You can use the same passcode you use to unlock your iPhone or iPad, if you like.

If you have an iPhone or iPad with a Touch ID sensor, the “Touch ID” option here is even more convenient than a PIN. You can leave Guided Access mode without having to type a PIN–all you need is your finger.

How to Use Guided Access

To use Guided Access, open the game you want to play. Quickly press the “Home” button at the bottom of your iPhone or iPad three times in a row and you’ll see the “Guided Access” screen appear. All you have to do is tap “Start” at the top-right corner of your screen.

After you put your phone into Guided Access mode, it’s locked to the specific app you chose. Advertisements that take you out of the application just won’t work. In Disney’s Where’s My Water? Free, for example, tapping the banner ad at the bottom of the screen–which usually takes you to the App Store–does nothing at all if you have Guided Access enabled.

Some ads function differently. They may take up a region of the screen and, when you tap them, they may open an in-app pop-up window that halts your gameplay and plays a video or displays something else you don’t want to see.

Guided Access also allows you to disable regions of the screen. Just press the “Home” button three time to view the Guided Access interface. On this screen, use your finger to draw a circle around the area of the screen you want to disable. You can then tap “Resume” to resume using the app.  Guided Access will remember this setting, so you won’t have to circle the area of the screen again the next time you start playing the game and enable Guided Access.

While using this app, the disabled areas of the screen just won’t function. The area of the screen will be grayed out, emphasizing that you can’t tap it. Tap the banner ad all you want, and nothing will happen. However, if the banner ad goes away and you need to interact with that area of the screen for some reason, you’ll need to disable this. To do so, open Guided Access again and tap the “x” next to the area of the screen you disabled.

To leave Guided Access Mode–you’ll have to do this when you want to leave your current app and use another one–just press the “Home” button three times in a row, then enter your PIN or put your finger on the touch sensor. If the Guided Access screen comes up, tap the “End” option at the top-left corner of the screen to exit Guided Access.

You can then use your iPhone or iPad normally again, switching between apps as usual. To enable Guided Access once again, press the “Home” button three times in an app.

Guided Access mode is more useful than it would seem. Buried in the Accessibility menu and considered just a parental control feature by many, it allows you to do some powerful things that wouldn’t normally be possible in Apple’s iOS.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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