iGrudge.net > Tech > Gadgets > iPhone > How to disable the “Home” button on iOS devices (iPhone/iPad)

How to disable the “Home” button on iOS devices (iPhone/iPad)

Every wanted to let your kids play with an app on your iOS device, but you are afraid they’d go play with something else on your iPhone/iPad? Or did you ever want to use your device as a remote control while having a party but you don’t want people snooping around your personal stuff?

Achieving this is pretty straight forward, although a little clumsy.

First, download the IPCU (iPhone Configuration Utility) from the Apple website:

http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/

Select your operating system and download/install the software.

Download IPCU for your operating system

We’ll be using this software later to “unlock” the device for normal use.

To achieve the “home-button lock”, we need to upload a new .mobileconfig profile to our device. If you have your own webserver you can upload the source from below and point your device to your own URL, or you can use the one I’ve uploaded here.

If you want to use the pre-made file, point your Safari web-browser on your device to the following URL: http://igrudge.net/iphone.php

You will then get an install screen looking like this:

Profile install screen

Click the install button and you will get a warning telling you this is an unsigned profile. Click Install Now.

Unsigned profile

You will then be asked for your lock-screen code, punch that in

Lock-screen

You will now see a confirmation screen indicating that the profile has been installed.

Confirmation screen

The “Home-button lock” is now ready for use. Reboot your device. The first app you open after the reboot will be locked! 

If you receive a call while the home button is disabled, you will still be able to answer it. I haven’t tested how this works with push notifications.

Now, to reset the home button back to normal usage we have to use the IPCU software downloaded and installed earlier.

Connect your device to your computer, and open IPCU.

IPCU overview

The software should look something like this. Find your device in the menu on the left, and go to the Configuration profiles tab. Here you will see a profile named “Home Button Lock”. Click the remove button to remove the profile. You will get a pop-up asking you “Proceed with removal?”. Click OK.

Reboot the device, and your home button will function as normal again.

 

iphone.php file:

 

<?php
header(‘Content-type: application/x-apple-aspen-config; chatset=utf-8′);
header(‘Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=”.mobileconfig”‘);

$mobileconfig = ‘xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd”>

<plist version=”1.0″>

<dict>

<key>PayloadContent</key>

<array>

<dict>

<key>PayloadDescription</key>

<string>Disables home</string>

<key>PayloadDisplayName</key>

<string>Home Button Lock</string>

<key>PayloadIdentifier</key>

<string>com.hbkill.kiosk</string>

<key>PayloadOrganization</key>

<string>My Org</string>

<key>PayloadType</key>

<string>com.apple.defaults.managed</string>

<key>PayloadUUID</key>

<string>B2D02E2D-BAC5-431B-8A29-4B91F71C9FC1</string>

<key>PayloadVersion</key>

<integer>1</integer>

<key>PayloadContent</key>

<array>

<dict>

<key>DefaultsDomainName</key>

<string>com.apple.springboard</string>

<key>DefaultsData</key>

<dict>

<key>SBStoreDemoAppLock</key>

<true/>

</dict>

</dict>

</array>

</dict>

</array>

<key>PayloadDescription</key>

<string>Disables Home Button</string>

<key>PayloadDisplayName</key>

<string>Home Button Lock</string>

<key>PayloadIdentifier</key>

<string>com.hbkill</string>

<key>PayloadOrganization</key>

<string>My Org</string>

<key>PayloadType</key>

<string>Configuration</string>

<key>PayloadUUID</key>

<string>614D1FE3-F80D-4643-AF6B-D10C4CC8737A</string>

<key>PayloadVersion</key>

<integer>1</integer>

</dict>

</plist>
‘;

echo $mobileconfig;

21 comments

  1. cens777 says:

    Thank you!!! It works just fine on my iPad, thanks for the really clear and easy to follow instructions!

    • njalk says:

      You’re very welcome =) It was easy enough, but a hassle having to restart the device and connecting it to a computer to remove the lock again.

  2. Joe says:

    This is great! However… If the app crashes (I tried this with an exit(1)) then it is possible to get back to the Springboard. Do you know any way of making the app automatically restart in case of crash? Thanks!

  3. colmans says:

    hi, it works great – downloading your file from your website.
    but if I copy the script into a php-file and upload it to my server there is a message: “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /homepages/27/d11176909/htdocs/iphone.php on line 3″

    but this file isn’t at the htdocs folder

    • njalk says:

      Probably the formatting on the page that renders the ‘/” to other characters, hence corrupting the script. Check the ‘/” in the file and exchange them with normal ‘/”.

      Was that understandable?

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a missing ‘. change line 3 to this -> $mobileconfig = ‘xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″’ ?>

  4. Brian says:

    Is there anyway to modify this script to only disable the physical home button? I have a problem where my home button either doesnt work or sticks and activates voice control randomly. But I can still use the virtual home button, activated through the accessibility options, just fine.

    If not, is there a way to write a script to disable voice control? (apple doesnt allow you to do this in settings)

    • njalk says:

      Not sure really, If I get the chance I’ll try to look into it.

    • Mike says:

      I am keen to know if you can do this too… We have an iPhone 3GS with a dodgy home button. The virtual home button works good, so it would be good if we could keep using that and disable the physical home button.

      • Mark says:

        Please help with this issue! Virtual home button works great since activated two weeks ago, but physical is now randomly on the blitz activating voice control etc every few seconds. Bought this used, but PERFECT condition iphone 3GS for a teenagers b-day present two months ago. Now that she’s in love with it over her old android, she’s devastated. PLEASE HELP!! :(

        • njalk says:

          Sorry I’ve never encountered this issue, but I’m thinking it might be something physical (dust etc) stuck?

          I’ve got the opposite problem on my iPhone 4, i have to press it extremely hard to make it work. That was an issue long before I locked the button for the first time though.

  5. rdwankhede says:

    Is it possible to do this through coding. please reply.
    Thanks in advance

    • njalk says:

      It might be done through coding, probably on a jailbroken device. I haven’t really looked into it since I haven’t done that with any of my devices.

  6. kfm says:

    hello . i have a blackberry playbook tablet for turn on display (log in) i touch the display in side for wake up . and for close each window i touch to up . it is very easy and very fast . i dont need any phisical key for any operation except power button . can i have same this in ipad by an app or a configuration?. the home button in ipad not good .(pardon me for bad English)

    • njalk says:

      You can activate a soft-home button in the settings menu. Go to Settings->General->Accessibility->AssistiveTouch to activate it. Might be this is what you’re looking for.

  7. Rob says:

    Is there a way to use the virtual home button while disabling the physical one? The physical one jeeps thinking it is getting pressed when it isn’t, so I used the disable coding. Works, but I have to use Siri to launch all of my apps for me. If you have time, coming up with a way would be great help to me and the few others with similar problems on here

  8. Anonymous says:

    when i turn of the physical home button, the home button in Assitistive Touch also stops working. Is there a tweak to make the Assistive Touch one work?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey,
    My home button is working by itself, i tried your tweak, it did the job but i cannot switch between applications neither the notification center works :(

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