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My 18 month old son loves to interact with my iPad. I have explored some apps that I would think he would enjoy, but he finds it hard to resist the device's home button. (Perhaps because this is the most obvious way to interact with the device that always yields some kind of visible result.) He hits the home button almost compulsively.

Are there any solutions to this problem?

Ideally, it would be nice to buy some kind of a slip-case for kids that was specifically designed to hide the home button. I have seen some child-proof cases on the market, but they all appear to be geared towards protecting the device from the destructive forces of the child, or for making the device easy for the child to grip.

None of them appear to offer a solution to the home button, and this is unfortunate because I can imagine him interacting with something educational without that distraction.

Is there an off-the-shelf case out there that I have overlooked?

If not, does anybody have any thoughts about any other off-the-shelf cases that could be modified/hacked into hiding the home button?

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Apple just announced in the WWDC keynote that iOS 6 will have a feature that allows you to disable the home button in software when you want a child to focus on a specific app. –  pohl Jun 11 '12 at 18:41

12 Answers 12

up vote 7 down vote accepted

We've made a case that serves this purpose at AddyCase:

enter image description here

Let us know what you think!

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Brilliant! But no love for the original iPad? –  Dave Nelson Nov 15 '11 at 17:25
    
Sorry, not yet. If we have enough interest we will definitely consider it! –  Dustin Dec 1 '11 at 23:57

Can you put the iPad in the case upside-down?

I don't mean with the screen facing in the other direction, but with the device rotated 180 degrees. on the plane of the screen.

This should make the home button inaccessible, though it may also obscure the volume, rotation lock, and power buttons (which may be desirable as well).

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Won't work for my current case—there's a hole for the light sensor or camera (for 1st or 2nd generation iPad). –  timothymh Apr 2 '12 at 1:45

While I didn't find a case that solves this, I did see some stiff adhesive covers called "BubCaps" designed for exactly this problem. They claim that the material is too stiff for a toddler to activate, but just pliable enough that an adult can activate the button with some force.

I'm tempted to pair the BubCaps with a very grippable silicone case.

Edit: What the heck...I've ordered myself some BubCaps and a case to try out. I plan to leave the bounty open for other ideas in the meantime, though.

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Apple finally announced this as a feature in iOS 6, you can disable the hardware buttons and even parts of the screen!

"We were surprised at how many kids with autism have been using the phones, but there are controls in apps that you don't want them hitting." You can now select parts of apps to disable.

Please note that iOS will not work on the iPad 1, but only on iPad 2 3 and beyond.

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Honestly, I'd leave the home button as it is. We started our son on his iPad at 18 months. At first he was all over the home button, but eventually he figured out that the real fun was in playing the puzzles, games and videos. Now at 2.5 years old he's become quite proficient! :)

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Agreed with this a few months ago, but our son (3) is now SO proficient that he has begun using apps that I'd rather he didn't. YouTube is not ideal for him, and I worry that he'll delete notes or documents that I need in other apps. So now I'd like a home button protector again! –  Ash May 19 '12 at 8:42

Here is the iPad case you are looking for. It has a retractable home button cover to protect your apps and settings while your child plays with your iPad. It's available for pre-order here on kickstarter: http://kck.st/pxcAli

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I've read many requests for such a thing but have yet to see one. The suggestion I hear most is to use a binder clip to cover it, but frankly I'd be concerned about (a) damaging my child because binder clips tend to have fairly sharp edges, and (b) damaging my iPad because they exert a lot of pressure.

My suggestion is to choose a case that either provides a hole for the home button, like this or this, or that covers the home button with a soft material, like this. Then cut out a piece of chipboard (like the cardboard backing of a paper notepad) and slip it under the case and over the home button. If toddler fingers are likely to try to pry it out, a bit of double-stick tape (with the tape facing the case, not your iPad's specially-coated screen) should hold it in place well enough.

An adult could still pull the case off far enough to press the button when needed but toddler would likely be sufficiently distracted by what's on the screen to leave it alone after a few tries.

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Inclusive TLC's iAdapter 2

Here is a link to InclusiveTLC a company that makes products for children with Special needs... so while this is what you are looking for (covers the home button and is for the original ipad)... its really expensive (198$).

Inclusive TLC's iAdapter 2

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There's an answer for iPhone that suggests a jailbreak app "IncarcerApp" which disables the home button. You can toggle this by pressing the volume buttons.

"locked" iPhone video playback mode for children?

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Fisher price has a new iPad case, see on Amazon Fisher Price

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Haha! Yeah right :) –  gentmatt Nov 5 '12 at 14:04

Check out Squidoo.com's list of childrens's iPad covers. The site compares many different children's iPad cases, along with a photo of each one. Some are good for accident-prone adults too, like the military grade one which covers up vulnerable ports and the home button.

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Go to settings, general, accessibility, turn guided access on, open app for child, press home button three times, then press start, to end press home button three times and choose end to go back to normal operation.

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