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 Solution (MDM) can help you achieve Guided Access on Android smart phones or tablets.
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.
Benefits of Android Guided Access
Here are some of the key benefits of using Android Guided Access in an enterprise context:
- Data Protection: User restriction to a single app prevents them from accessing other applications where sensitive information may be stored.
- Controlled Interaction: Limiting functionalities within an app can reduce the chances of unintentional data leakage or unauthorized data manipulation.
- Focused Work: Guided Access ensures that employees use the device for its intended purpose, thereby increasing productivity.
- Reduced Training: The simplified interface can make it easier for new employees to learn how to use an application, reducing training time and costs.
- Simplified Interface: Limiting the number of accessible features makes the application more straightforward to navigate, enhancing the user experience.
- Reduced Errors: With fewer options to choose from, the likelihood of user error is minimized.
Management and Compliance
- Easy Monitoring: Administrators find it easier to monitor device usage when it is limited to a single application.
- Compliance: Companies can ensure compliance with various regulations by limiting access to approved applications only.
- Reduced Maintenance: Limiting device functionality can result in fewer issues, reducing the time and resources needed for maintenance.
- Longevity: The restricted functionality can also extend the lifespan of a device as it is less likely to suffer from software conflicts or user-inflicted damage.
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 business tablets. As long as the app is “pinned” to the screen, users cannot access any other app on the device.
Enabling Guided Access on Android devices is fairly simple. 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 block users from disabling Guided Access.
How to Enable Guided Access on Android and Samsung devices?
1. Go to “Settings” on your Samsung Android device.
2. Open “Security and Privacy,” then click “Other security settings”.
3. Search the “Pin App” option and enable it.
4. Select the app you want to pin and tap the recent button or swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold. Tap the icon above the app and select ‘Pin this app’.
The Android screen pinning feature has limited features, unlike Apple’s guided access for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. 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 Using MDM?
To get a Guided Access experience on Android devices, large organizations can run their corporate 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 device 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 or unlock multiple devices and wipe the data from it.
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.
Step 2: Click on Create New Profile and create an Android Kiosk/Agent Profile.
Step 3: Set the device in Launcher Mode and select the app that you want to run in Single App Mode.
Step 4: Navigate to Kiosk/Launcher Settings > Single App Mode; Choose the application from the dropdown list.
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.
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
Associate the kiosk mode profile with the required Android devices to implement the equivalent of Guided Access for Android.
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!