We’ve all heard horror stories about some family stuck with a $1,000+ bill because little Timmy went on a mobile shopping spree, picking up tons of premium apps and a boat load of in-app purchases along the way.
You don’t want to be that family. I don’t either. That’s why Android 4.3’s restricted profile feature is such a welcome addition to the latest version of Jelly Bean.
With restricted profiles, you can easily turn off access to select apps. By default, restricted profiles also don’t have the ability to make in-app or Google Play purchases.
Keep in mind that unless you happen to have a Nexus tablet, you probably don’t have Android 4.3 just yet. If that’s the case, you might want to turn to a 3rd party app or simply watch your kid like a hawk when they’re on your mobile device.
Tip for Windows Phone 8 Users: Did you know your phone has a kid’s corner that offers a similar functionality? Check it out.
For those of us lucky enough to already have Android 4.3, let’s take a look at the VERY easy steps involved for creating a restricted profile:
Step 1: To create a new user, head into the settings menu and tap on Users. From there, hit the option that says Add user or profile. A new pop-up will appear, giving you the choice of creating a standard user account or a restricted profile. In this case, tap on restricted profile.
Step 2: If you don’t have any kind of lock screen security enabled already, you will now be prompted to add a password, PIN or pattern lock. If you already have security enabled – simply skip to step 3.
To set up a security method, hit the “Set Lock” button, and it will then take you to the page you see directly below:
From here, you simply choose which method you wish to use, select it and follow the on-screen prompts for setting it up.
Step 3: After setting up security, you will automatically be taken to the new profile page where you will be greeted by an entire list of all apps installed on your system. Next to each app is an easy to use On/Off toggle.
Simply tapping on an app will switch it on. Repeating the process turns it back off. You might notice that the Settings toggle can’t be switched, but that’s normal. There is no shutting this one off.
After you’ve went through and turned on all the apps you want this restricted profile to have access to, you are pretty much done. If you wish, you can change the name of the profile by simply clicking on where it says new profile. Name it whatever you like.
That’s it. I told you it was nice and easy. Now it’s time to test out the profile and make sure it’s working.
Step 4: To switch to the restricted profile, hit the power button to put the tablet into sleep mode. Once you re-wake it, you’ll be at the lock screen and will see your new profile. Click on the new profile to open it up and take it for a drive! If you set everything up correctly, you should find that the restricted profile will only have access to apps you specifically gave it permissions for.
While restricted profiles is a quick and easy way to limit app access for your children or even just guests, it isn’t without flaws.
First, the restricted profile certainly isn’t an impenetrable fortress. As already mentioned you can’t completely restrict the Settings app. The Settings app might have limited access to things like user profile creation, but it is wide open for uninstalling apps, messing with wireless settings and more.
Beyond this arguably minor flaw, I have to admit that Google did a great job with this new feature.
Android 4.3′s restricted profile function should certainly should fit the job as long as you aren’t too afraid of letting your kids or guests have limited access to ‘settings’. If the thought of your kids messing around with settings bothers you, you might want to check out a 3rd party security/profile program as an alternative.
Now that you’ve had a second to test out your newly created profile, how did everything go? Everything working as it should? If not, let us know in the comments below.