I was asked today about how to disable the home button on an iOS device. I didn’t think it was possible to do so, but a little snooping around and I found that it was.
The context of the conversation was that schools have been reluctant to use iPads because they couldn’t be used for testing because it was too easy for students to leave the testing app (and presumably go other places to get the answers). But, I was told that now the home button could be disabled.
Here’s how you do it. Install this provisioning profile here. Download and unzip that file. Then install it to your mobile device. This requires that you have a way to install provisioning. The way I do it is to put it on a web server and download the file directly to the device. Another way is to email the file and open the attachment from the email on the device.
Once you’ve installed the profile, restart the device. When you start it back up, you can select an app. Once you’ve entered an app however, you’ll see that the home button doesn’t take you back to the home screen. You’re stuck in that app.
In order to get back to the home screen, you have to restart the device again. Once it starts up, you can go into the settings app (General->Profiles) and uninstall the provisioning profile from there. One more restart is required and you will be back to normal.
I tested this on my iPad and it also appears to disable the pull down notification center.
I’m not sure when I’ll use this information, but it’s nice to know it.