Disable Single App Mode on Devices Without Internet

Last updated April 10, 2019

Is your device stuck in single app mode? Read this article to learn how to get out of and disable single app mode.

Single app mode, also known as “single app lock”, forces an iOS device to only display a single app and prevents a user from exiting it. Single app mode is popular in situations where an iPad or iPhone is on display and is acting as a digital kiosk. It is also commonly used in situations where a device is intended for one use only, like a cash register.

Note: A different but similar mode called “Guided access” is often confused with single app mode. Guided access is a feature that is configured on the device itself. Single app mode is configured instead through SimpleMDM.

Using SimpleMDM, devices can be configured for single app lock wirelessly. This allows an administrator to place multiple devices in single app mode from the SimpleMDM web admin interface. The administrator is also able to disable single app mode from the web interface, if needed.

Problems arise when devices lose internet. A device will stay in single app lock without internet, however the administrator will not be able to disable single app mode from within SimpleMDM. Without internet, the device cannot receive the command to disable single app lock.

If it is not possible to regain an internet connection the device, there is luckily another option. Follow these steps to disable single app mode:

  1. Install Apple Configurator to a macOS system.
  2. Connect the iOS device to the computer using a lighting to USB connector.
  3. Open the Apple Configurator application on macOS.
  4. A window will appear and your device should be shown. Control-Click on the device, select “Remove”, and then “Profiles”.
  5. Select the profile named “SimpleMDM” and delete it.

This will remove the SimpleMDM enrollment from the device and exit single app mode as a result.disable single app mode

Comments (3)

Great trick! Another option (if it’s supported by the app you are using) is Autonomous Single App Mode, which allows the Single App Mode to be started and ended by the app itself (and therefore can be turned off locally even if WiFi is dropped).

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