Help With iPad Setup for Elderly Post-Stroke Woman


I am looking for a good article, or other help, for setting up my mother with an iPad that she would use for reading magazines via Apple News+.

Her compromised motor control will resut in her swiping the screen when she only means to tap on an App icon. When this happens, the Widget layer appears. Is there any way to turn this behaviour (or the Widget layer) off?

Another user interface frustration for her is that she is not able to quickly tap an icon, but her finger tends to rest on it, resulting in jiggle mode, or a force-press contextual menu. Are there ways to turn off any kind of force-press behaviour?

I would be handling any iPad setup for her, so she does not need to have any access to iPad functions other than using the one or two apps like News+.

Thanks for any help with this–I’ve looked at a few articles dealing with accessibility, but they are often geared for people whose cognitive abilities are high, but my mother is in her 90s and is in cognitive declide and does not have the understanding of tech that a younger person would have.


There doesn’t seem to be support pages for Assistive Access for iPad, but I see that it is an option in iPadOS now, too, in Accessibility. See Assistive Access User Guide - Apple Support for the info for iPhone. When you open the setting on iPad, though, there are some help pages for it.

That seems like it would be the best option. There doesn’t seem to be a way to disable the “Today” screen of widgets on iPad anymore; there once was.


I’ve had some experience setting up iPhones & iPads for elderly family members & friends. Most of the time, I recommend just “simplifying” everything on the device, by removing as many Apple-provided apps as possible, adding only a very few 3rd-party apps as necessary, and fairly radically modifying a lot of settings. A good starting point to learn about how to do that is to read Adam’s article:

But – keeping in mind my own mother’s post-stroke struggles – here I’d recommend applying Apple’s Assistive Access. Which is sort of the “nuclear option” that can be used to simplify the UI of an iPhone or iPad for people with challenges similar to what you describe.

Although configuring a device for Assistive Access can be a challenge … getting it right isn’t easy. Not to mention the ongoing burden of maintaining it along with possibly modifying it to conform to changing user needs.

To make a long story short, Assistive Access only shows and runs the few specific apps that whoever sets it up specifies. At least some of those apps will only run with limited feature sets.

To learn (much) more, see:

… which will tell you about Assistive Access in general and direct you to setting up Assistive Access on an iPhone.

To set up Assistive Access on an iPad, see:



Thanks to those who’ve replied! You got me looking in the right places in the iPad’s settings.

Assistive Access is available as of iPad OS 17 and would be the most promising option for my mother as it would allow her to use a handful of applications.

iOS 16 doesn’t have Assistive Access, but it does feature Guided Access, allowing me to set up only the News+ app for her.

The older iPad I give her to use only supports iOS 16, but, depending on how she takes to the simplified UI, I’ll see what the most practical option will be for her: either an old iPad, or perhaps a newer one.

I’m thankful these options exist, and for the help I can find here. Thanks, again!

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I don’t know where you’re located, but if you decide to go for a newer model, I see that both Walmart and Amazon have the 9th Gen 10.2" 64GB iPad on sale again for US$249.

At that price, it’s a very nice value, especially if you don’t need the latest and greatest. It’s a 2021 model with an A13 chip and a physical home button, but Apple still sells it new for $80 more, so it should have a few more years of full support. I don’t know if a physical home button would be an advantage or not, but I presume your mom’s current iPad has one, so it would be one less change to deal with.

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