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Limit your employees or field agents to use only certain allowed apps on ios and android devices just like a kiosk interface

February 18th, 2013

Problem: Client want to limit end users to stay inside the native app that they are intended to use on a given device. Just like how a good old kiosk works on PC and other public facing terminals

Scenario:

1. One of our client wants to leave his iPad and or Android device at stores to collect some survey info and obviously  the client wants to make the device work like a Kiosk that way users dont mess around  and get distracted from the primary purpose which here being able to fill the survey.

2. Another client of ours for whom we have developed a route delivery application on Android tablets wanted almost similar functionality that way the field agents/employees wouldn’t be able to

  • 1. Install Apps mostly addictive ones like games, Facebook, twitter
  • 2. Browse questionable web sites
  • 3. Change account/security info on the device

Solution:

Thanks to the latest IOS 6 accessibility features and apps available on google play store, it is easier to achieve the kiosk like feature than you think without spending too much money or time trying to embed that feature in the app and re-release it if your app already exists in production. Remember we are all about saving money to our clients and let them concentrate on spending their money on stuff that adds value to their business

iPhone or iPad with IOS6

As mentioned this feature is available for devices that are running on ios6.

  • Open “Settings” and tap on “General”
  • Navigate to “Accessibility” and under the Learning section tap on “Guided Access”
  • Flip the switch to ON, then tap “Set Passcode” to set a password you’ll use to escape out of Guided Access mode
  • Choose whether or not to Enable Screen Sleep, turning it ON will help sustain battery life when the iPad, iPod, or iPhone is left inactive
  • Now open the app that you want to use in Kiosk mode and then push the home button three times. Draw a region around the app of what users can touch and tap on Save

guided-access

That’s it now your device is in kiosk mode with the app you choosed. To get out the Kiosk mode, you can triple click on the home button and enter the password you set above .

Android Phone or Tablet with an app called SureLock (Rooting is not required atleast for the devices we have tested)

1. Install the SureLock app from the google play store by following this link (http://goo.gl/nsO0q)

2. When you launch the app, pay attention to the instruction which asks you to select “SureLock” and tap on Always.

  • Screenshot_2013-02-18-10-14-43 Screenshot_2013-02-18-10-12-15 Screenshot_2013-02-18-10-12-08
  • Tap on the screen for 4 times and  when the password is prompted, enter the default password  0000 (4 zeros). You will be navigated to Admin Settings.
  • Tap on SureLock Settings and make sure you change the default password by tapping on Change Password. You can also change the no of taps you need to tap to prompt for password in Misc Settings section of the Admin Settings page
  • Make sure that Watchdog service is checked
  • Make sure that Suppress Notification Panel option is checked and tap on Done at the bottom of the screen and you will be back on Admin Settings page. There are so many other options like disabling the orientation, disabling bluetooth if you want to lock those options down. Play with those options if you need to.
  • Tap on “Allowed Applications”. Here you can add apps that you allow the end user to use on this device. You can also add folders too. Once you add the app or apps, tap on Done

3. Now you will a screen with your app icon. You can also set Wallpaper for branding purposes if you want to by going back to Admin Settings. So from now on your end users for this device can only use this app

4. If you want to get out of the kiosk mode, you will need to tap on the screen “4″ times  and it will ask for the password that you set above. If you enter the right password, you can get back to admin settings and do what ever you want to do back in that screen. If you want to exit from the Kiosk mode, just tap on  ”Exit SureLock” and you can use this device in normal mode without any limitations

Tested on Samsung Galaxy 3 with Jellybean and Asus Transformer TF300 tablet with Jelly bean and it works perfectly without any rooting

Limitations

  • Well this works if you only have limited number of devices
  • All devices are available for you to configure the settings manually
  • If the user can restart  the device by powering off and on, then he might be able to get out of the app (atleast  on IOS devices. With Sure-lock for Android devices  you are still safe here)