If you frequently hand your phone over to others, Guest Mode is a feature you should be using on Android. Jack Wallen shows you how to access the feature from your lock screen.

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Guest Mode is a very handy feature on the Android platform. With Guest Mode, you can hand your phone over to other users, knowing they won’t be able to peek inside your personal information. That guest account is prevented from accessing information to other accounts, in similar fashion to what you see on most desktop operating systems.

For anyone who tends to let co-workers, clients, or even children use their Android phones, Guest Mode should be considered a must use. This is made especially so if that device is used for business purposes, where sensitive information could be discovered.

If you’re using the beta version of Android 11, gaining access to the guest account options is quite simple; pull down the notification shade twice and tap the account icon (Figure A).

Figure A


Accessing the guest options in Android 11.

If you’re not using Android 11, it’s not quite that obvious. Once you enable access from the lock screen, you can then disable it and still be able to access the feature from the notification shade. However, without first enabling the feature on the lock screen, quick access from the notification screen isn’t available.

Let me show you how to access the options and how to enable the feature from the Android lock screen.


What you’ll need

The only thing you’ll need to make this work is a device running any of the more recent releases of Android. The feature has been available since Android 5.0, so chances are pretty good your device supports the option.

How to enable guest accounts from the lock screen

The first thing to do is to enable guest accounts from the lock screen. There is one caveat that comes with doing this. When you make it such that you can add guest accounts from the lock screen, anyone could pick up your phone, add a guest account, and use your device. That means they can make calls, access wireless, and use some of the apps (apps like Messages will not work). What they cannot do is access your information and use applications that aren’t installed on the phone by default.

For some, this could be a security issue. If that’s the case, only enable the managing of guest accounts from the lock screen and then disable it, so you can gain access to the quick-access icon from the notification shade.

Here’s what you need to do. Open the Settings app and type users in the search field. After the results appear, tap Multiple Users (Figure B).