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Get Started with Square KDS for iOS

Earlier this year, Square KDS launched on Android. We’ve made the decision to deprecate the Square KDS for iOS app. You may continue to use the KDS iOS app until June 2024. The new Square KDS on Android has all the same great functionality as the iOS one plus exclusive-to-Android features like routing by dining option. Check out the Get Started Guide for KDS Android.

Square KDS is a kitchen display system that connects with Square for Restaurants, Square Point of Sale, Square Online and our online ordering and delivery platforms. Square KDS is included in the Square for Restaurants Plus Subscription or as a standalone KDS subscription for £15 per device per month.

Important to Note:

  • The Square KDS app is only available on iPad devices with iOS 14 or later. For Android users, check out the get started guide for KDS Android.

  • Square KDS will require an internet connection to receive tickets.

  • Order tickets sent to Square KDS can also be printed from the Point of Sale in case you need a physical copy.

  • All orders from Square for Restaurants and Point of Sale will appear on the KDS. Your KDS can receive orders from: Square for Restaurants on Square Register and iPads, Point of Sale on iPads, Android devices, Square Register and Square Terminal, Square Online orders, any third-party delivery partner sending orders or any third-party kiosk partner sending orders to Square.

Getting Started

Station Types

Square KDS offers two types of stations to help streamline your kitchen fulfilment. To start using Square KDS, you'll need to choose the type of station you need:

  • Preparation (Prep) station

  • Expeditor (Expo) station

Note: You can choose one station or multiple stations for each type and adjust your station types whenever you need. Both types of stations sync and communicate with one another in real time, creating an efficient workflow – but they also have a few differences.

Station Setting Prep Station Expo Station
Set layouts ✔️ ✔️
Set yellow and red timers ✔️ ✔️
View all orders  ✔️ ✔️
View All Day counts ✔️ ✔️
Route based on category configuration ✔️ ✔️
Recall tickets ✔️ ✔️
Clear all tickets  ✔️ ✔️
View completed items and tickets from Prep stations ✖️ ✔️
Mark items and tickets as complete. This will also mark them as complete at all other stations ✖️ ✔️
Recall completed tickets back to the Expo station(s) or to both the Expo and Prep station ✖️ ✔️
Mark items as Sold Out  ✔️ ✔️

Creating a Square KDS Login

In order to start using Square KDS, you’ll need to create a device code for the iPad(s) you plan on using. To do so,

  1. Head to your online Square Dashboard

  2. Tap the three lines and select Devices > Kitchen Displays

  3. Tap Add a Kitchen Display.

  4. Enter a nickname and select a location.

  5. Select if you want a Prep or Expo station.

  6. Tap Next

  7. Choose to send your code via email or phone number and tap Send. You’ll need this code to sign into the Square KDS app.

Note: Since Square KDS is location-specific, it will display every ticket taken from that location. You’ll be able to filter items/tickets by category.

Downloading the Square KDS app (iOS)

To download the app:

  1. Navigate to the App Store on an iPad running iOS 14 or later.

  2. Search for Square KDS app.

  3. Tap Get to install.

Setting up Square KDS on iOS

Once you download the Square KDS app, log in with the device code you created to begin setup.

Select Items to Display

Square KDS displays items based on the categories you assign. To assign categories:

  1. Open Square KDS.
  2. Tap to open the launchpad.
  3. Tap the settings gear icon.
  4. Tap Items on Tickets.
  5. Toggle on the categories that you want to display

Note: If you don’t have categories assigned to items on your online Square Dashboard, you can refer to this support centre article to create new categories for your items. Keep in mind that categories for Square Online are completely separate from your KDS categories.

Set the Proper Layout

With Square KDS, you can toggle different layouts based on your preferred text size and the amount of tickets you want displayed. To set your layout settings:

  1. Open Square KDS.
  2. Tap to open the launchpad.
  3. Tap the settings gear icon.
  4. Tap Layout.
  5. Select your appropriate text size.
  6. Select your preferred layout.

Set Timers & Alerts

You can enable alerts and timers on your display. To do so:

  1. Open Square KDS.
  2. Tap to open the launchpad.
  3. Tap the settings gear icon.
  4. Tap Timer & Alerts.
  5. Select the appropriate time frame for Yellow and Red alerts.

Enable Ordering from Point of Sale

You can easily send orders from your POS devices right to your KDS. To get started:

  1. Open Square KDS, and tap to open the menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon to view your settings, then tap Orders.
  3. Toggle on View Online orders.

Orders placed on your POS will now show up on your Square KDS.

Enable Online Orders

You can also have online orders sent directly to your Square KDS. Customise how you want to display your online orders with three different view options:

Show online orders when they’re placed: Once a customer places an order, the ticket will automatically appear on your KDS.

Show online orders when marked in progress: Orders will appear on the KDS station when they are marked as in progress.

Show online orders based on pickup time: Set how far in advance of an order’s pickup time you want orders to appear on your KDS station.

Choose the best view for you, or switch between filters as you need. To display your online orders:

  1. Open Square KDS, and tap to open the menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon to view your settings, then tap Orders.
  3. Toggle on View online orders, then choose how you want to see your online orders; when an order is placed, when an order is marked in progress, or based on the order pickup time.
  4. If you choose Show online orders based on pickup time, tap Edit to change your time before pickup.
  5. Set your time before pickup in hours and minutes, then tap Done. The time you choose will display under the view option.

Note: You can also set up custom prep times for specific items from the Order timing section of your item page, by selecting Edit next to Item prep time. The settings you choose will override the default delivery options and prep times you set up for your item location. Learn more about creating and managing items online.

Print From Square KDS

Connect a printer to your KDS to print order tickets for your customers for in-person, delivery and pickup orders. Learn more about Printing with Square KDS.

Set Up Kitchen-Facing Names

If you’re using Square for Restaurants, you can add an internal kitchen-facing name to any item, variation or modifier. Setting up kitchen-facing names creates an efficient kitchen workflow and allows for creating names in the preferred languages of your kitchen staff.

Using Square KDS on iOS

Completion Status

Both Prep stations and Expeditor stations have the ability to mark single items or whole tickets as complete. Expo stations have an additional feature that will automatically let third-party delivery services know when an order is ready by completing the ticket.

To enable this feature, please follow these steps:

  1. Head to your online Square Dashboard and select Devices.

  2. Click Kitchen Settings.

  3. Select the location for Kitchen order updates.

  4. Toggle on the Automatically send order updates feature.

  5. Click Save.

Note: This is only available for Expo stations and not Prep stations. When activated, this setting will apply to all Expo stations assigned to the selected location.

Completing a single item on a ticket

Tap the completed item directly on the display. If you selected the wrong item by accident, tap that item again to deselect it. Keep in mind that you only have three seconds to undo the item completion. After that, you can view the ticket in the completed tab.

Completing the whole ticket at once

Tap the top banner of the ticket you want to complete and confirm by selecting Complete Ticket. If you completed the wrong ticket by accident, tap the white area below the blue Completed banner. Keep in mind that you have three seconds to undo the ticket completion. After that, you can view the ticket in the completed tab.

Viewing Completed tickets

To view your completed tickets, tap Completed at the top of your screen.

Clear All Tickets

To mark all of your tickets as complete, tap Settings > General > Clear tickets and then tap the box again to confirm that you truly want to clear all. Once you have cleared all tickets, the last 100 tickets received will appear in your completed ticket list.

Recalling Tickets

Restaurants can recall completed tickets if they accidentally completed the ticket or need to remake an item on a ticket. To recall a ticket, tap the Recall button at the bottom of the ticket in the completed view. The ticket will now appear in the live view. To recall an item in a ticket, select the item and tap Recall item. You can also recall an item even if the ticket is still in the Open view.

Note: If you have the Automatic Order Update feature enabled on your Expeditor station, recalling a completed ticket will not remove the ticket from Ready status on third-party platforms.

Square KDS - Recall - EN-US

Bump Up a Ticket in Priority

Kitchens can also prioritise tickets and move orders to the front of the queue. For instance, an order may come out incorrectly, or the kitchen may miss an item. When you enter the order in the POS again, you can bump the ticket to the front of the queue. Or, if someone joins a table late and the ticket for their meal comes in behind the rest of the party, you can bump up this ticket, so the meal comes out with the rest of the table.
To prioritise an order:

  1. On an expeditor station, tap the ticket you want to edit to view ticket actions.
  2. Tap Prioritise Order on the ticket.
  3. A cancel loader will appear. You will have three seconds to cancel the prioritisation and keep the ticket in its current queue position.
  4. Once the cancel loader times out, a confirmation message will display on the screen that the order has been sent to all related prep stations.

Note: You can only prioritise a ticket from the expeditor station. On the Completed view, the prioritised ticket will now have a Prioritised banner. The same header will read Make Now on tickets visible at other kitchen displays. Once a ticket shows the Make Now banner, you can mute the ticket by tapping it at any prep station.


Coursing helps you and your team manage the flow of bills – for both the front and back of house. Coursing is designed to easily group items, add items and let the kitchen know when to hold or start firing dishes.

Coursing is an optional setting, so you’ll need to visit your POS Device settings on your Square Dashboard to turn on Coursing and Hold/Fire.

Once Coursing with Hold/Away is turned on, you can set up Coursing Holds on the KDS:

  1. On the KDS, select Devices > Courses.

  1. Toggle on ‘Printed hold/away courses’.

  1. Select ‘Print away or held course’ for printed tickets to show both away and held courses on the same ticket. Select ‘Only print away courses’ if you want printed tickets to only show away courses.

POS Routing

Set up your KDS to filter which POS devices (with Square Point of Sale and Square for Restaurants) to show incoming tickets.

  1. On the KDS, tap Settings > Orders.
  2. Toggle on View Point of Sale Orders.
  3. Tap Edit next to receive orders from all points of sale.
  4. Select which points of sale send orders to this KDS station. You have the option to toggle on:

  • Receive orders from all unnamed Square points of sale: Unnamed points of sale can’t be individually identified by KDS. To route by a POS not listed, create a device code from your Square Dashboard. Tap Devices from your navigation dropdown, then select POS Devices.
  • Receive orders from all future named points of sale: If selected, all future named POS added at this location will send orders to this KDS.

  1. Select which POS sources you would like to send orders to your KDS.
  2. Tap Save.

Learn more about setting up POS routing for online orders with Square KDS.

Viewing All Day Count

Expeditors and head chefs use the term All Day to refer to a count of a particular item that requires preparation across all tickets in the queue. To view a specific item across all open tickets:

  1. Open Square for KDS.
  2. Tap the three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap the item(s) you want to see All Day Counts for. Items will be highlighted across all tickets, and you’ll see the All Day Counts.

Once you mark an item as completed, it will automatically be subtracted from the All Day Count.

Restaurants - Square KDS - View All Day Count

Sold Out and Item Availability

Sold Out is commonly used in restaurants to temporarily mark an item as unavailable, usually when an ingredient runs out. You can mark an item as Sold Out from either a Prep station or an Expo station in your Square KDS App. When you mark an item as unavailable from Square KDS, it will update your ordering platforms so that item appears as sold out to your customers.

Note: Item availability is determined by the amount of stock set within Square Dashboard. Any item with inventory tracking turned on can’t be marked as available or unavailable with the Sold Out feature.
:To mark an item as Sold Out from a Prep or Expo station:

  1. Open Square KDS, and tap the three horizontal lines to open the menu.
  2. Tap View all items availability.
  3. Use the search tool to find an item, or select an item from the list.
  4. You can choose to make the item Available or Unavailable. To mark the item as Sold Out, select Unavailable, then tap Save.


You can view your Square KDS reports directly on your online Square Dashboard. The Kitchen Performance report shows your completed ticket count, average completed ticket time and average item completion time across all tickets by KDS device name, location and time frame.

To view your Square KDS report:

  1. Log in to your Square Dashboard.

  2. Click Reports > Kitchen Performance.

  3. Select Ticket performance to view the average completion time per ticket, or select Item performance to view the average completion time for all items, ranked in quantity from highest to lowest.

  4. Select your preferred time frame and filters at the top of the report.

The completed ticket metric is based on the device where the ticket was completed. The ticket time is calculated from the time the ticket appeared on KDS to the time the ticket is marked as completed. The item time is calculated from the time the item appeared on KDS to the time the item is marked as completed.


If your Square KDS is having trouble connecting with Restaurants, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check to make sure you are using the most recent version of the Restaurants app and KDS app.

  2. Check that your iOS is up to date on your device.

  3. Navigate to settings on your KDS app to double-check that your preferred item categories are enabled and that the correct items are in the selected item categories.

  4. Navigate to Settings on your KDS app to check that your preferred orders are turned ON.

  5. Restart the Square KDS app.

  6. Take a trial order to double-check that your KDS is properly receiving orders from the Point of Sale.

Note: Your KDS device automatically connects to Point of Sale, as long as your KDS is created for the same location as your Point of Sale device. All setup is configured on Dashboard and in the KDS app.

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