Let’s face facts: there could easily be quite a bit on your mobile device that you don’t want someone to have access to. However, on the other side of the coin, you hardly want to appear rude and never let someone use your phone to place a call or look up some contact information… right? As it turns out, Android has a little-known feature called Android Guest Mode that many can use to share one’s device more securely.
Understanding Android Guest Mode
Introduced as a part of Android 5.0 Lollipop back in 2014, Android Guest Mode adds that little touch of security to help mitigate one of its largest security flaws: the naivete of your team members when faced with a scammer. All the firewalls and antivirus in the world won’t do a lick of good if your team member were to hand their unlocked and unprotected device right over… something an enterprising scammer could trick them into doing with a sufficiently innocent-seeming request to borrow the device for a quick call.
This exact scenario turns the phone into an access point for an attacker, granting them access to protected data and the ability to install spyware if they choose.
In response, Android now comes with the capability to temporarily revert your device into a fresh-out-of-the-box version, hiding your settings, applications, accounts, and data from view. If the device’s manufacturer provides support for the feature, Guest Mode is simple to access and utilize as a means of preserving your data security and your manners alike.
Samsung Device Owners, We Have Some Bad News…
If you were about to take out your new Galaxy S21 Ultra to set this up, or even your Galaxy Note9, don’t bother. For whatever reason, Samsung has adjusted the software in their devices to no longer offer this feature. Other Android users should have no problem and will find the process to be quite simple once they have enabled it.
Enabling and Activating Android Guest Mode
This process is very simple:
- Access your device’s Settings.
- From there, access Advanced and Multiple users. If your manufacturer has changed their menu order, search for “Guest Mode.”
- Switch the toggle to “On” to enable Guest Mode.
From that point, you’ll be able to access your Quick Settings panel and, from there, the user profile that is active. This will give you the option to Add guests. This will switch the device to Guest Mode, where only the default applications are visible.
To revert your device back to normal, return to Quick Settings and again access the user profile. Select Remove guest and confirm your identity with the requested authentication measure to restore your phone to normal.