Most of us love to show off our new phones in front of our friends or family. But we’re a bit more reluctant when it comes to borrowing our gadgets.

After all, we all have messages, images or video who we don’t want other people to see. Once you hand over your phone to a friend or family member, who knows where their fingers might go!

Fortunately, there is a simple solution you can use to solve this problem. It’s called Guest Mode.

What is Guest Mode?

Guest Mode has been around ever since Android 5.0 and is a handy tool for keeping your personal info hidden when you have to share your device. Using this mode, a guest will be able to access all of the default apps, but won’t be able to see any other data.

Basically, you’ll be handing over a device that looks like it’s been restored to factory settings. And with a few taps, you’ll quickly be able to get your universe back.

How to set up a Guest account on your phone

The steps vary depending on which phone you own. For the purpose of this tutorial, we used a OnePlus 6.

  1. From the home screen, swipe down to unhide the notification panel and expand the menu.
  2. Tap on the subtle icon of a human head (look for it next to the pencil icon and gear icon).
  3. Simply tap on the Guest account option to switch to Guest Mode.
  4. Or you can tap the blue “Add user” button instead. This allows a secondary user to set up their own space on your device. The process is similar to the one when you’re setting up a new device. You’ll be asked to sign in with a Google account, add your fingerprint and such. However, the phone’s owner is allowed to uninstall any apps the secondary user might have installed or even remove the space.
  5. In both cases, switching to the secondary account will take a few seconds.

When your friend or family member is done, you can easily switch to your own account or simply delete the account. Here’s how.

How to switch back to the main account

  1. From the home screen, swipe down to unhide the notification panel and expand the menu.
  2. Tap on the subtle icon of a human head (look for it next to the pencil icon and gear icon).
  3. Tap on your account to switch over.

Had enough of your guest? Delete their account with a few simple steps.

How to delete a Guest/New account

  1. From the home screen, swipe down to unhide the notification panel and expand the menu.
  2. Tap on the subtle icon of a human head (look for it next to the pencil icon and gear icon).
  3. Tap on Settings at the bottom.
  4. Find the Guest account you want to delete.
  5. Tap the Gear Icon next to it.
  6. Tap Remove user.

Here in Settings, there are a few other options you can take a look at. For example, the OnePlus 6 allows you to Add users from the lock screen. Simply toggle the option on if you want to do that.

You also have the option to allow the Guest accounts to make phone calls and send SMS from your device.

Now if you own a Samsung phone, adding a Guest account might be a little bit different.

  1. From the home screen, swipe down to show the notification panel.
  2. Tap on the Gear icon to open Settings.
  3. Scroll down until you find Users & accounts
  4. Tap on Guest to create a new user.

While Guest Mode is a pretty useful thing to have, there’s nothing that could stop a curious friend from accessing your own Account if they wanted to.

Fortunately, some phones like the OnePlus 6 have additional privacy features like Hidden Space. On the Galaxy Note 9, it’s called Secure Folder.

Swipe left from the App drawer and you will have access to a personal space where you can add the apps you want to hide from view.

Yes indeed, not all phones have this option, but if yours does, you might as well take advantage of it. But even if you’re Android doesn’t offer such a tool, there are plenty of apps you can download from the Play Store that let you do just that. A good example is Gallery Vault.

« »