Android’s multiple user accounts feature was introduced with the release of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. This feature is currently available only for Android tablets and not for phones. It was thoughtful of Google to bring this feature to tablets as a phone is mostly used as a personal device whereas tablets often have multiple users.
Privacy is a bigger concern on tablets that is effectively handled by creating profiles for guests and other regular users. Kudos to Google for making this process so simple that non-tech-savvy people can easily implement it. Check out the involved steps below.
Steps to Create Multiple User Accounts on Android Tablets:
You must have setup an account while starting your tablet for the first time. All the accounts on your tablet can be seen in the Users section in Settings. Easiest way to access it is to pull down the notification bar and go to Settings.
Scroll down and go to ‘Users’ option under Device.
Under Users you will see the Owner name, nickname and other information (if you have set any). There is also a section for Other Users which should be blank in our case.
There is an ‘Add User’ button in the in the top right corner. Tap on it and a notice pops up that gives you information about adding new users.
Tap on ‘OK’ to proceed. A new user is created under Other Users. You can set up the profile for the new user immediately by choosing ‘Set Up Now’ or at a later time by going for ‘Not Now’.
The user profile needs to be completed to be able to access it. Hence, if you choose to set up the profile later, it will prompt you to complete the profile whenever you try to access it.
For the sake of continuity, let us choose to set it up right now. The next screen jumps straight to the user account setup. First up are a few important things that you should know while using multiple profiles on the tablet.
The tablet owner is treated as the administrator and has the right to remove other user accounts from the device. The second point is mainly concerned with application permissions.
Any user can accept the updated permissions on your behalf and they are thus applicable to you as well. If you are concerned about information privacy and device security, it would be wise to exercise a bit of caution with the users of the device.
At the next step, the setup asks whether you have a Google Account.
There are several advantages to having a Google account and setting it up on the device. Your mail is automatically set up and you have access to Play Store, Movies and Books apps.
Your tasks, calendar, contact and music are automatically synced and updated. If you want to use a Google account for the new profile, select ‘Yes’ or else tap on ‘No’.
The setup then offers to get you a Google account. To set up a local profile, choose ‘Not Now’.
The setup then asks for access to your location. Both the options are ticked by default. Uncheck them if you do not want to share location data with Google.
The last step is to enter a first name and last name for the user. Here I am creating a general profile named ‘Guest’ for all users except me.
That’s it. The new profile setup is complete. As you proceed, the system gives you a brief introduction to the home screen as well as the app drawer. The new user gets the default system setup and there are no apps installed by other users.
As I am using a Nexus 7, the new user gets the stock interface. For other tablets, the default UI would be as set up by the manufacturer. The new profile is now ready for use.
How to Delete Unnecessary User Profiles From Your Android Device:
Any user profile that you do not want to keep can be deleted from the Users section. There are two ways to do this.
First, the user can delete his own profile. Once he does so, all data is deleted and the user is directed to the lock screen. The owner of the device cannot delete his/her own profile.
Second, the device owner can delete any other users from the system. Just tap on the recycle-bin button opposite the user’s name and confirm Delete.
Be Advised: Caution is called for while deleting user profiles.
Take the warning seen in the above image seriously. When you create a new user profile, all data concerning that user is stored in a separate space. Everything is compartmentalized. This includes mails, contacts, browsing history and files, apps, downloads, documents, photos and even screenshots. I learnt it the hard way when all the screenshots I took while creating a demo profile for this article were lost when I deleted the profile and I found no trace of them in the device storage space.
While getting the screenshots again was no big deal, users can lose important data if their profiles are deleted without proper consideration. Due caution is recommended in this matter.
Well, now that concerns about profile creation and deletion are out of the way, let us come to the ground reality of user profiles. How many user profiles are there on your device? I have just one guest profile for common use by everyone except me. Though that profile is rarely used, I like the option of having separate profiles from the privacy point of view. Do you use multiple profiles on your Android tablet? Do you find them useful? Let us know in the comments section below.