How to Turn on Guided Access on Android

  • April 10, 2023

Organizations use the Guided Access lockdown feature for various business scenarios. It can lock down devices into digital signage, advertising displays, and POS terminals at retail stores or quick-service restaurants. The Guided Access feature is available on Apple devices, while Android has an equivalent version. However, the feature for Android offers limited functionality and isn’t suitable for most business scenarios. But Mobile Device Management (MDM) can help you achieve Guided Access on Android smartphones and tablets.

how to turn on guided access on android

What is Guided Access?

Guided Access is a feature on iOS devices that allows users to limit access to certain device parts. Once enabled, you can select which apps (and features) can be accessed and set time limits for the usage. This prevents other users from opening other apps–photo gallery, camera, messages–while allowing them to use the intended app.

This feature is popular in educational settings, as it allows teachers to lock students into a specific app while they are working on class assignments. It can be used to limit access to certain apps and features so that children cannot accidentally delete important files or make in-app purchases. Guided Access can also limit the amount of time children can spend on a device, helping prevent overuse.

Guided Access serves another business scenario. For instance, corporations can lock down a single application to observe strict security compliance policies.

Enabling Guided Access is fairly simple. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Once enabled, you can use Guided Access by triple-clicking the lock button. First, you must open the app and click the lock button three times. This will bring a menu that allows you to select which parts of the device you need to limit access to.

For example, you can disable hardware buttons like home buttons, volume buttons, and touch input in certain areas of the screen. You can also set a passcode (which is different from your device passcode) to prevent users from disabling Guided Access.

Guided Access on Android Devices

Guided Access is a proprietary feature of Apple devices. But there is an Android equivalent of Guided Access, Screen Pinning.

The Screen Pinning (or app pinning) feature is available from Android 5.0 Lollipop devices. The feature allows you to lock down a single app on Android smartphones or tablets. As long as the app is “pinned” to the screen, users cannot access any other app on the device.

Unlike Guided Access for iOS, the Android screen pinning feature has limited features. It does not allow you to set a separate password, meaning users who know the password can “unpin” the app from the screen. Screen pinning also does not restrict users from controlling the volume keys, turning off the screen, or restricting access to certain screen areas.

Another key challenge to using Android screen pinning is scale. Every application needs to be manually configured to pin it to the screen, and if it unpins, it must be pinned again manually. It isn’t practical, especially if businesses plan to use Android devices as unattended kiosks.

How to Turn on Guided Access on Android?

To get a Guided Access experience on Android devices, organizations can run their devices in kiosk mode using MDM software. With Android kiosk mode, organizations can get around the limited capabilities of the screen pinning feature.

  • Control the user experience: To run your Android device for a single app or a few select apps, device management can help. MDM offers a kiosk mode feature with different lockdown experiences for public or special use cases. If you want to run a single app for anyone to access, device management creates a single-app kiosk mode. Consider a multi-app kiosk mode when you need people to sign in or run more than one app.
  • Greater flexibility: MDM can disable physical keys or hardware buttons of Android devices. This allows for more granular control over which apps and features can be accessed and can be useful in various settings.
  • Additional security:  Unattended devices are vulnerable to loss and theft. An MDM solution allows you to protect data by locating lost devices. In case mobile devices are unrecoverable, IT admins can remotely lock the device and wipe the data from it.
get started

Enable Guided Access on Android Devices Using Kiosk Mode: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: After you log into your Scalefusion account, navigate to the Device Profiles & Policies. Click on Device Profiles.

guided access android

Step 2: Click on Create New Profile and create an Android Kiosk/Agent Profile.

guided access for android

Step 3: Set the device in Launcher Mode and select the app that you want to run in Single App Mode.

android guided access

Step 4: Navigate to Kiosk/Launcher Settings > Single App Mode; Choose the application from the dropdown list.

how to turn on guided access

Step 5: Click on the checkbox – Run All the Time. This option allows the selected app to run on the device without relaunching the app.

guided access on android

Step 6:  Now, click on Create Profile to create the profile and apply it on the devices. You have successfully set your device in Single App Mode

how to do guided access

Associate the kiosk mode profile with the required Android devices to implement the equivalent of Guided Access for Android.

Wrapping Up

Enroll your mobile devices with MDM, add the required app, and push a kiosk profile to the devices to achieve Guided Access on Android devices. You can then control the hardware buttons on devices from a single console. Try Scalefusion to experience Guided Access for Android. Get a 14-day free trial!

Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints

Rajnil is a Senior Content Writer at Scalefusion. He’s been a B2B marketer for over 8 years and applies the power of content marketing to simplify complex technology and business ideas.
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