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After we upgraded to iPhone 4, one of our old iPhones was pressed into service as a children's video playback device for our 1.5 year old. That's one of the best things about an iPhone upgrade -- every upgrade comes with a "free" previous-gen iPod touch!

And, well, The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device. With one caveat.

He does well holding it, most of the time, but tends to push the home button or accidentally activate enough touchscreen controls to stop video playback at the least or kick out to the home page.

Is there any way to activate a "locked" or "children" video playback mode on the iPhone, where accidental button presses don't stop video playback?

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This is a big omission on apples part. I would love to play video on my iphone and hand it to my little one. She wants to touch the screen and press the home button so it makes it impossible. Been searching for a way also without buying a case. –  user19413 Feb 28 '12 at 1:33
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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

One possible solution would be to use a locked Pelican Case - clear, much tougher to break and with a headphone jack pass through.

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wow that's a bit.. hardcore. :) I had thought about cases which optionally allowed blocking the home button, but that seems like an odd feature for a case to have. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 1 '10 at 6:46
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A less hardcore option would be to find a case where you could possibly "flip" the iphone inside of it: I bought some cheap iphone wallet at a mall kiosk that you can do this in to obscure the home button. –  Mike Buckbee Aug 2 '10 at 0:58
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ooh, that's a good idea -- much cheaper than the fancy Pelican case. Get a cheap case and reverse it. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 2 '10 at 10:03
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always the jailbreak route. Here is a demo of an app (IncarcerApp?) that does that, locks it. I would love it as my 1.5 yr old does the same thing :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ysRou_kvOo&feature=related

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LOVE this app, I was baffled there wasn't something exactly like this out there, works great! –  Paolo Bergantino Dec 26 '12 at 10:33
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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 by using Guided Access.

"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.

All phones back to the 3GS (but not earlier..) get this feature.

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Nope, unfortunately. Apple are incredibly strict about the behaviour of the home button: whenever it's pressed, the active app will terminate immediately (or move to the background on iOS 4) and you'll be returned to the home screen.

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There's also this guy:

http://www.amazon.com/BubCap-Button-Intro-Pack-contains-BubCaps/dp/B004HV36IG

I've read a few articles across several tech blogs praising its effectiveness.

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My 1.5-year-old uses my old iPhone 3GS, and the home button is irresistible to him, so I've got one of these covering it up. Works great. –  Peter Roe Feb 28 '12 at 15:26
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