Guided Access—Kiosk Mode for FileMaker Go on the iPhone or iPad

A software-only solution to turning your FileMaker Go databases into true Kiosks.


Photo: iPad POS Flip Mountby NClosures

Why am I always the last to hear about these things? Apparently this feature, called Guided Access, has been on iPads for a while, and is now available on iPhones with iOS 6. I stumbled on this when reading the coverage of new features in iOS 6 in an article on Ars Technica.

Guided Access allows an iPad or iPhone to be locked into a single application, preventing the user from exiting or launching other apps. I tested it with FileMaker Go and am impressed with the possibilities.

I had been looking at using FileMaker Go for a customer waiver solution for a gym I work with. Every customer that comes in to the facility has to sign a waiver with the gym. If the gym could capture the waivers in FileMaker, it would be a big time saver for the front desk and reduce paper handling.

The Hardware Solution


The hardware solution I was researching was a locking iPad stand called nClosures that locks the Home Button, preventing people from leaving the Waiver form and launching other iOS apps.

With Guided Access, there is now a software-only solution, which gives FileMaker Go a true Kiosk mode. What follows is a set of screenshots documenting how to turn Guided Access on to limit users to FileMaker Go, and even limit them to using a single database.

Tap on Settings icon on an iPad or iPhone


Tap on Settings to get started.


This is listed under Learning. Apparently some mothers are using Guided Access to lock their kids into a game and out of their personal apps.

Turn Guided Access ON


Then tap the Set Passcode that will be used to lock down the screen.

Enter a Passcode


Enter a passcode that you will remember. 1-2-3-4 is a popular choice you should probably avoid unless you are dealing with a two-year old.

Now launch FileMaker Go


Tap the Home button three times to invoke Guided Access. The goal of using Guided Access is to lock the iPad down into a single app, in this case FileMaker Go.

Lock the User into a particular database in FileMaker Go


With your finger, trace around the area you want to limit the user from tapping in.

Lock down Touch access to the prevent access to the top and bottom of the screen


By limiting the areas of the screen the user can tap on, you can prevent them from using the FileMaker toolbars that appear at the top and bottom of a screen, and lock them into a particular database. Limiting access to the toolbar menus, effectively prevents users from closing the database or opening other databases on the device or the network.

By tracing your finger around an area on the screen, you can create multiple lock out areas.

Once you have your blocked out areas defined, click the ‘Start’ button in the top right hand corner. (The button may change to ‘Resume’ if you are coming back to the edit screen to make changes.)

Guided Access is enabled


A message will come up indicating that Guided Access is enabled. Once that message fades, the user is locked into your FileMaker Go database and can’t get out without two things:

1) knowing they are in Guided Access and knowing that they need to tap the Home button three times to bring up the Passcode window
2) the passcode.

Enter Passcode to get out of Guided Access


To Exit Guided Access, tap the Home Button and enter your Passcode.

You are returned to the Guided Access setup Screen.


To exit Guided Access Mode, simply click the End button at the top left of the screen.

Because the iPad or iPhone is locked to a single app, there are some limitations to Guided Access. For example, Guided Access won’t allow the user to launch the Mail app, or view photos in the library—anything that ventures outside of the chosen app’s built-in capabilities is locked down.

That’s it, FileMaker Go with a true Kiosk Mode on an iPad, delivered by iOS’s Guided Access feature.

11 Responses to “Guided Access—Kiosk Mode for FileMaker Go on the iPhone or iPad”

  1. It was part of the iOS 6 announcement video; however, by now I had forgotten that it was part of v6. Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Under your “Lock the User into a particular database in FileMaker Go” section, the instruction in the iPad screenshot and your caption give opposite instructions. When I tested it, the iOS instructions were the correct version: the user will *not* be able to use the selected area. So the selection will limit users *from* tapping in that area, not *to* tapping in that area — or else we have different iOS behaviors!

  3. “Why am I always the last to hear about these things?” You’re not! Thanks for this instructive post, Douglas.

  4. I wish we had this in the summer for Devcon, but nevertheless, I’m glad we have it now.

  5. This looks like the final factor in replacing a touch screen in a manufacturing environment too. This is a big help! Thanks for posting it!

  6. Don’t forget that FileMaker Go has a built-in support for Kiosk mode. Just use FileMaker Pro Advanced’s Developer Tools to turn it on. Then you don’t have to use the Guided Access to restrict anything except the home button. Thanks to Aaron Gutleben for sharing this knowledge…

    • Thanks for pointing this out HOnza. I did think about using Kiosk Mode as well, but my big concern was users exiting with the Home Button, so the Guide Access mode technique was exciting to hear about.

  7. Excellent article (and thank you for that reminder, Honza). I have two current projects where this will be extremely useful.


  1. Wing Forward: FileMaker in New Mexico - September 28, 2012

    […] Alder of HomeBase Software out of Vancouver, BC posted an excellent explanation of locking down an iOS device to use an FM Go database in “Kiosk” mode, using the […]

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