Can I Lock Down the Guest Profile on my Android Device?

Much like computers, some Android™ phones and tablets have the ability to host multiple user profiles, with the intention that each person who has access to the device can have their own applications and information on the device.  Unlike computers, however, Covenant Eyes is not able to install across every user profile, so if an Android device is left with the ability to create new user profiles, it leaves a user with the ability to circumvent the Covenant Eyes software. Luckily, there is a way to turn this feature off and keep your Android users protected online.

  1. The first step to locking down the Android device is to determine if there are other profiles already on the device. To do this, and to switch between the profiles if there are multiple, pull down the notifications tray by putting your finger at the top of the screen and swiping down, then tap on the profile icon in the top right. This is the button that looks like a person. (Some Android devices may require you to tap twice on this icon to open it.) When you click on the profile button, if you do not see a screen like the one below, your Android device probably doesn’t have the ability to create multiple profiles.
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  2. After you have navigated to the screen with the different profiles, you can either choose the gear in the upper right or click on “More Settings” at the bottom to get to the Settings screen. On this screen, search for a section titled “Users.” Once you are in the “Users” section of the settings, you should see the current profile, any other profile that exists on the device, and the option to add a user. (If you do not see this section and you didn’t see a screen like the one above, your Android device doesn’t have the ability to run multiple user profiles.)
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  3. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of the screen to open a menu. One of the options will say “Add users when device is locked,” with a check box next to it. Uncheck this box to disable the ability to create new user profiles from a locked screen.
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  4. After you’ve unchecked the “Allow new users” box, click on the “Add User” option. You have to add a new user profile in order to lock the initial profile. Once the initial profile can be locked, new profiles cannot be created. Some Android devices will then prompt you to choose between a “normal” user profile and a “restricted” user profile; for the purposes of locking down the creation of new user profiles, it does not matter which one you choose.  Select “OK” when the dialogue box describing what a new user is able to do, then choose the “set up now” option.
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  5. Your device should take you the “Set up New User” screen.
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  6. Click through the prompts to set up your new user. When it is finished, you should be under the profile you just created. You can check it by going back to step one. The profile that has the circle around it is the one that is currently being used. If you are not in the newest profile, you can switch into it by simply tapping it. You must be signed into the new profile in order to lock the device down.
  7. Pull down your notifications bar again by swiping your finger from the top of the screen down. If you have an option for Guest Profile, click on it to switch over to it. Otherwise, you can proceed to step 9.
  8. While you are signed into the Guest Profile, pull down the notification tray again and select the Profile Icon from step 1. This should pop up a menu titled “Guest User.” Underneath that, there should be a trash can icon next to the option “Remove Guest.”  Tap that to remove the Guest User profile, then get back into the new user profile by selecting the profile icon and choosing it from the list. When you are back into the new profile, if you hit the profile icon again, you should not see Guest as an option.
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  9. If there are more profiles left beyond the original profile and the new profile, repeat steps 7 and 8 to delete them. If you do not remove all extra profiles, it allows for circumvention. The original profile cannot be deleted, and therefore must be locked with a pass code. To make this process useful, someone other than the person who is being monitored should create and keep this pass code private.
  10. Once you have deleted all extra profiles, you can create the pass code to lock the original profile by going into the device’s settings application.  From here, choose “Security” and then “Screen Lock.”  At this point, you can choose either pattern, pin, or password to lock this profile. Whichever you choose, you will be prompted next to set the password. Make sure the pass code you create is something that you will remember, as you will not be able to retrieve it in the case where you need to unlock this profile.
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  11. Now that this profile has been secured with a pass code, drag down the notifications bar again.  Choose the profile icon, and select the new profile that was created in steps 4 and 5.  Once you are in this profile, if you go back to the profile icon and try to switch to the original, it should prompt you for the password. If you do not know the password, you should not be able to get back into the original profile. There should be no extra profiles as they were deleted in steps 7and 8, and as a profile that is not the original user, you should not have the ability to add a new user. The person who is being held accountable should use the profile created in steps 4 and 5. Otherwise, if the person who is being held accountable is given the password to unlock the original profile, they will be able to create a new user profile without Covenant Eyes on it. Otherwise, they will be forced to use the new profile with no alternative, to which you can now add Covenant Eyes to help them keep their integrity online.

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