How to Set up Guest Mode on Android

Keep your private data off limits

Before you hand off your smartphone or tablet to someone else, you should know how to enable guest mode for Android. That way, you don't have have to worry about them browsing through your contacts, messages, or photos.

Instructions in this article apply to Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and up. Some Android devices do not support guest mode or multiple user accounts.

What Is Android Guest Mode?

Enabling Android guest mode creates a temporary account that can only access essential apps like Gmail, Google Chrome, and Google Maps. The guest user cannot access your contacts, messages, photos, or anything else associated with your personal Google account. Phone calls, text messaging, and notifications are also blocked.

The guest user can download apps from Google Play, but they must sign in to another Google account and use a different payment method. If the app is already on your device, it will be copied to the guest profile. Guest users can switch back to your account at any time; however, if you lock your Android device with a PIN or password, they will be unable to get past the lock screen.

It's also possible to lock individual Android apps.

How to Enable Android Guest Mode on Most Devices

The steps for enabling guest mode depends on your device's manufacturer and your version of Android. To set up guest mode on most Android phones and tablets:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen on your device.

  2. Tap your profile icon on the notifications bar.

    Tap your profile icon in the notification bar.
  3. Tap Guest to switch to guest mode.

    Tap Add Guest to switch to guest mode.

How Android Guest Mode Looks

The guest mode desktop features only a few select apps. If you open the app drawer, you'll see all of the default apps that came preloaded on your device, but none of the apps you have downloaded will appear.

The Android app drawer in guest mode.

On some smartphones, you can tap the settings gear next to Guest in the notifications bar to enable calls in guest mode.

How to Switch out of Guest Mode

To exit guest mode, swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the notifications bar and tap Owner or Remove guest.

  • If you choose Owner: the guest session can be resumed from where it was left off.
  • If you choose Remove guest: it will delete the guest session and any downloaded apps. The device will return to the lock screen, where you must enter your password or PIN if you have one set up.
Tap Owner or Remove guest in the Android notification bar to exit guest mode.

How to Add an Android Guest User

If you regularly share your device with someone else, you can set up a permanent Android guest account:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.

  2. Tap your profile icon on the notifications bar.

    Tap your profile icon in the notification bar.
  3. Tap Add user.

    Tap Add User.
  4. The new user must log in to an existing Google account or create a new one.

Any apps the new user purchases will be charged to that account's default payment method, and any photos or other media files will be stored separately. The new user can also set up a lock screen for their account. You can switch between users at any time from the Notifications bar.

Guest Mode Other Android Devices

If the above steps do not apply to your device, you might find the option to create additional users under Settings > Users > Guest or Settings > System > Advanced > Multiple Users. You can also try searching for Users or Guest in your settings.

Go to Settings > Users > Guest to set up guest mode on some Android devices.

Guest Mode Alternatives

Guest mode and multiple user accounts are not available on all Android devices, but there are tons of privacy apps for Android that block access to certain files and apps. The Samsung secure folder provides further protection for Samsung Galaxy devices. Other devices have a privacy mode that hides specified apps, files, and folders.