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.
3. Select “Multiple Users.” Depending on your phone model, you may have to tap on Advanced first to be able to see the option.
4. Toggle on the “Multiple Users” on.
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.
3. Next, tap Guest. The phone will automatically switch to Guest Mode.
4. Now you can hand the device to whomever needs to use it.
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.
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.
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.
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.