How to Use Android Guest Mode to Share Device without Compromising Privacy

How To Use Guest Mode Featured

If you’re routinely sharing your Android device with other members of your household, you may not want them to view your text messages or private photos when using your device. You can always lock down the applications that hold your private data, but this method may not always be foolproof. The good news is that there’s a better way to ensure the borrower does not get full access to your personal files.

Introduced as far back as Android 5.0, Guest Mode allows users to share their device without compromising on privacy. When you switch to Android’s Guest Mode, all your data is tucked away safely in your user account and made unavailable to the other party.

It would be as if you performed a factory reset on your device – you get a blank state. Not to worry, though, as you can easily switch back to your user account (admin) and get your data and settings back.

How to Enable Guest Mode on Your Device

If you never used Guest Mode on your device before, you will have to turn the feature on. You can do this by digging into your handset’s settings.

1. Open Settings on your phone.

2. Scroll down toward the bottom until you find System and tap on this option.

How To Use Guest Mode Settings System

3. Select “Multiple Users.” Depending on your phone model, you may have to tap on Advanced first to be able to see the option.

How To Use Guest Mode Settings Multiple Users

4. Toggle on the “Multiple Users” on.

How To Use Guest Mode Settings Enable Multiple Users

5. That’s it.

How to Switch to Guest Mode on Android

Once you’ve enabled Guest Mode on your handset, you can go ahead and switch to it using just a few taps.

1. Perform a two-finger swipe on your display to bring up the Quick Settings panel, then swipe down again to expand it.

2. Tap the blue User icon in the upper-right corner.

How To Use Guest Mode Quick Settings Get To Guest Mode

3. Next, tap Guest. The phone will automatically switch to Guest Mode.

How To Use Guest Mode Quick Settings Switch To Guest Mode

4. Now you can hand the device to whomever needs to use it.

How To Use Guest Mode New Mode View

None of your installed applications will be available to your Guest except the ones that came pre-installed with the device. All settings will be reset to the defaults as if the device was newly purchased, so there’s no danger that the person now using the phone will be snooping around your photos, texts or browser history.

How To Use Guest Mode Pixel Apps Guest Mode

To switch back to your user account, open the Quick Settings panel again and tap on the admin user account, or you can simply press on the “Remove Guest” option. This will delete all the guest session data and return you back to your own user account, although you’ll need to unlock the device first.

How To Use Guest Mode Go Back To Admin Mode

Once someone exits Guest mode and then returns, they’ll be asked whether they would like to continue the session or start a new one. The latter option allows Guests to pick up where they left off, so it’s great for returning users. If a Guest wishes to retain their Settings and other changes for future use, the admin can create a separate profile for them by tapping on “Add user.”

Configuring Guest Mode

There’s only one option you can change regarding how Guest mode works on your phone. Go once again to “Settings -> System -> Multiple Users -> Guest.” From there, you can enable the “Turn on phone calls” option to allow calls to go through, even when someone else is using your device.

How To Use Guest Mode Settings Guest Turn On Phone Calls

From the same menu, you can remove the Guest from your phone or switch to Guest mode from here, if you prefer.

If privacy while using your mobile device is a concern for you, then perhaps you want to get up to speed with the four best alternatives to WhatsApp that actually respect your privacy. Alternatively, it may also be handy to know how to set up two-factor authentication on various social networks.  

Alexandra Arici Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

One comment

  1. I updated to Android 11 yesterday, and looking at the options, I don’t have “Multiple Users” in there… I assume that it’s in there some place, but where??

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