iOS Device Group Management

Implementing Single App Mode

Your browser needs to be JavaScript capable to view this video

Try reloading this page, or reviewing your browser settings

In this final segment, learn how to implement Single App Mode, also called Single App Lock, so managed iPhones and iPads in a SimpleMDM can be forced to run only one app as well as use only specific functions.


  • Single App Mode
  • Single App Lock
  • management
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • account
  • functions
  • force
  • app

About this video

Eric Butow
First online
20 December 2019
Online ISBN
Copyright information
© Eric Butow 2019

Related content

Video Transcript

Ann MacPhail: Single App Mode, which is also referred to as Single App Lock, allows you to restrict an iPhone or iPad you manage to run only one app. The user won’t be able to do anything with their iPhone or iPad except use the app or turn off the device. You can only use Single App Mode with supervised iPhones or iPads, and you’ll learn more about creating and implementing single app mode in this sixth video topic: Implementing Single App Mode.

You can create a single app mode profile and then add an app into that profile. Some apps also support Autonomous Single App Mode or ASAM that enables and disables Single App Mode automatically under certain conditions. So what’s the difference between single app mode in ASAM? Single app mode doesn’t require either app support or MDM management. You can turn Single App Mode on an iPhone or iPad as an accessibility feature in settings that Apple calls Guided Access. ASAM requires app support and it also requires MDM management. SimpleMDM also allows you to specify that the app supports ASAM when you create the Single App Mode profile. Before you do that, confirm with the app developer that the app supports ASAM mode.

When you’re ready to create a Single App Mode profile and add an app into that profile, here’s how to do it. Click Configs in the menu. In the Profiles webpage, click Add Profile, click single App lock in the list. In the New Single App Lock webpage, type the name of this Single App Lock. The default lock mode is Single App Mode. If you know the app you’re adding supports ASAM, click the Autonomous Single App Mode button. Click the App Identifier button and then select the app from the dropdown list.

Now select the features to enable and disable on your managed iPhones and iPads. You can click on the checkbox to the right of one or more of the following 16 features. Disable screen touch actions, disable screen rotation between portrait and landscape orientations, disable the volume buttons, disable the ringer switch so the ringer is mute when someone calls, disable the sleep and wake button, disable auto lock on the iPhone or iPad. Enable the voiceover accessibility app that allows an iPhone or iPad to read on the screen to the user, enable zoom in and out, enable inverted screen colors, enable assistive touch, which is an accessibility feature that helps the user control the iPhone or iPad, enable the speak selection feature to have the iPhone or iPad read texts the user selects on the screen, enable mono audio so you hear all sound from one earbud or speaker. Allow the user to adjust voiceover settings, allow the user to change zoom settings, allow the user to change color settings so each color has changed to its inverted state. For example, a red area will be inverted to cyan, and allow the user to adjust assistive touch settings.

When you’re done, click Save. Now, click Devices in the menu and then click Groups. Click the name of the group. In the Group Details webpage, scroll down until you see Single App Lock. Click the box to the right of Single App Lock, and then select the profile from the list to activate Single App Mode in this group. Then click Save. The profile is pushed to all your managed to iPhones and/or iPads automatically. In this example, all the users in your list will now see the pages app on their iPhone or iPad screens and won’t be able to switch to another app. They will, however, still be able to turn off their iPhone or iPad as there is no ability in Single App Mode to disable the power button.

There are two cautionary notes about using Single App Mode you should keep in mind. First, iOS does not allow you to install or update apps to your managed iPhones and iPads while Single App Mode is enabled on those devices. iOS does not alert SimpleMDM that an app has been installed successfully. You have to check one of the effected managed iPhones or iPads to ensure the app you push to that device is working. This also means that SimpleMDM cannot enable Single App Mode automatically after you install an app.

SimpleMDM has a workaround for this issue. First, create a device group. Click Devices in the menu, and then click Groups. Now, click the Create Group button. Type the group name in the Group Name box. Leave both check boxes checked, and then click Save. Click the name of the group you just added in the Groups webpage. In the Group Details webpage, click Rules. In the Required iOS Apps section, click Add Apps. In the Add Apps window, type the bundle identifier, or the name of the app you want to install to iPhones and iPads in the group automatically. SimpleMDM searches the app store for the apps and displays a list of all the apps that match your search terms. When you see the app you want to add in the list, click add to the right of the app name, and then click Close. The app appears in the Required iOS Apps section. Click Save.

Click Groups in the menu and then create a second group. After you save the group, click the second group name and the group’s list. In the Group Details webpage, scroll down until you see Single App Lock. Click the box to the right of Single App Lock and then select the profile from the list to activate Single App Mode in this group. Then click Save. Now click Devices in the menu. Click the name of the device in the list that you want to assign to the first group you created. Click Settings, select a new Device group in the device group dropdown box, and then click Save. All apps within the group have been pushed to the iPhone or iPad. And you should check that device to ensure the apps are installed. Once they are, return to the Device Details webpage and change the name of the device group to the secondary group you created. After you click Save, then Single App Mode is applied to the iPhone or iPad. Though you will have to check the device to make sure.

There is another restriction to using Single App Mode. If you use proprietary apps which Apple calls Enterprise Apps on your managed iPhones or iPads, SimpleMDM cannot distribute updates to any Enterprise Apps to iPhones or iPads that are in Single App Mode and are running iOS earlier than version 11.2.5. So if you use Enterprise Apps, you should ensure that all your managed iPhones and iPads has been updated to the latest version of iOS before you create Single App Mode profiles.

If you need to use that enterprise app on an older version of iOS and push an update for that app to those devices that need it, then SimpleMDM recommends that each effective user takes the following steps on their iPhone or iPad. Step one is to enable Single App Mode for another app such as Safari. Each user sees Safari on their iPhone or iPad screen. In step two, disable Single App Mode on your iPhone or iPad by doing the following. Tap Settings on your home screen. in the Setting screen, tap General. In the General screen, tap Accessibility. Swipe up in the Accessibility screen if necessary, and then tap Guided Access. Swipe the Guided Access lighter button from right to left.

After you disabled Single App Mode, you’ll still see Safari on the iPhone or iPad screen. Step three is to push the app update to your devices in SimpleMDM. Start by clicking Apps in the menu, and then clicking Assignment. When you see the app group that contains the apps you want to update, click Update Apps. Step four, the final step, is to reenable Single App Mode. You do this by following the steps within step two with the exception that you swipe the Guided Access slider from left to right to turn Single App Mode on. Note that if your users can’t see Safari, that maybe because you have restricted Safari from being used on your managed devices. In that case, you can either unrestrict Safari or enable Single App Mode with another app.

The conclusion of this topic video concludes this video tutorial on iOS Device Group Management. Thank you for watching and enjoy using SimpleMDM to manage your company iPhones and/or iPads.