Using an iPad as a Display Spot

An Apple iPad can be used either as a Mobile Spot or as a Display Spot (see the Blocks manual for details on these two options). When using an iPad as a fixed Display Spot, you generally want the entire screen to be used by Blocks (hiding any status bar or navigation buttons). This can be accomplished by saving the Block Display Spot web page to the home screen. Furthermore, you may want to lock all buttons on the iPad so that visitors can't terminate the display, e.g. by pressing the Home button.

:!: Avoid using wifi for fixed installations. An wired ethernet connection is recommended for best performance and reliability. Solutions are available for connecting ethernet as well as power to an iPad using a single cable.

To make the Display Spot use the entire screen area of the iPad, do as follows:

  • Open Safari on the iPad.
  • Navigate to the Blocks server, ending the URL with /spot (as in the example shown below).
  • Press the "arrow out of box" icon next to the address bar.
  • Choose "Add to Home Screen", naming the icon as desired.
  • Back at the home screen, open the newly added "app"
  • Take note of the display ID shown on screen.
  • Add the spot to Blocks using the "Add Display Spot" command on the Spot menu. The name given to the spot should appear on the iPad.

Finally, assuming you have a wired power connection, you may want to set "Auto -Lock" under General in the Settings to "Never" to keep the display on indefinitely.

:!: IMPORTANT iOS will not auto-play any audio, including video with embedded audio. If you attempt to play a video with embedded audio, a play button will be shown, requiring manual interaction. To play video automatically, make sure the video doesn't contain an audio track. Even a silent audio track will prevent it from playing.

Locking an iPad

To lock the iPad to avoid exiting the display spot by pressing the home button, activate the "Guided Access" mode, as follows.

  • Open the Settings.
  • Chose "General", "Accessibility" and "Guided Access".
  • Turn on "Guided Access".
  • Set a Passcode. This will be required later to exit the locked-down mode.
  • Open the PIXILAB Display Spot app.
  • Triple-click the Home button to display the Guided Access options. Set the access options as desired.
  • Press Start in the top right hand corner to enter the Guided Access mode.

Buttons are now disabled, as specified in the options set above. To exit the Guided Access mode, triple-click the Home button and enter the passcode.