Joris Kluivers

I like to build software.

Kiosk Mode for iOS

You’ve probably been in an Apple store and seen this: every product is accompanied by an iPad that shows features, comparisons and allows you to ask help from a store clerk. The app that makes this possible runs in a kind of kiosk mode: there’s no way to exit the app because the home button is disabled.

This mode is actually not a feature of the app but a system wide thing controlled by the OS. It’s possible to configure every device to lock into any app using this so called Store Demo mode. All it takes is a single configuration file.

Store Demo mode

The iOS springboard has a preference called SBStoreDemoAppLock that when enabled will lock the device in the first app started. Devices can be configured to set this property to true using a mobile configuration (.mobileconfig) file.

After installing the config file the device will be locked into the first app launched after a reboot:

  • The home button is disabled
  • Multi-tasking gestures won’t work
  • Notification center cannot be reached

I can confirm this works on both iPad and iPhone running iOS 5. Devices running iOS 3.1.3 and 4.0.2 did not recognize the mobile configuration file.

Disabling store demo mode

If you consider installing the configuration file included below make sure you understand how to disable this mode first.

Mobile configuration files are used to configure phones in enterprises. Apple provides an app called the iPhone Configuration Utility (IPCU) to install and remove configurations. To disable store demo mode:

  • Use IPCU to remove the configuration from the phone
  • Reboot your device


The easiest way to enable Store Mode is to install the .mobileconfig file listed below. Installing using the IPCU did not work for me, but opening the file in Safari worked fine. Point Mobile Safari to:

Mobile configuration file to disable the home button (AppLock.mobileconfig, 1.8kb)

Contents of the file available below, configure to your likings if you intend to distribute it yourself.