What is Guest Mode in Cell Phone and How to Use It

guest mode in phone

Smartphones are a definite must in this day and age. It’s common for people to look at a big screen (the television) while staring at a smaller one (their cell phone). If they talk at all, it is limited by what they are doing on their phones – be it gaming, watching a video, texting or checking emails.

Because people use their phones so much, it logically follows that a lot of skeletons will be in the mobile closet – a ton of sensitive information might reside on your Android, a number of accounts that you are always logged into are likely open on your phone and chances are you have some selfies you’d rather keep in the dark.

So what do you do when a friend or family member asks to use your phone? What if you are handing your phone over to nosy Aunt Agnes who will poke and prod through your phone when you are not looking? Or what if your friend is asking to borrow it – the same friend who would find leaving an embarrassing post to your Facebook account hilarious? Two words address this problem: Guest Mode!

What is Guest Mode in Cell Phone?

Guest mode is a temporary account that is created on your device when you set it up. There is a barrier between your main Google account and your guest account. This should give Android users peace of mind, considering Google includes all of your contacts, like the latest boyfriend you’re not ready to introduce Aunt Agnes to, all of your photos, embarrassing selfies and all, and personal files saved to your Drive account which nobody except you needs to access.

When you set up guest mode, you get a restricted account that can allow other people to use your phone. Of course, like all things Android, this is customizable. There is the opportunity to allow or disallow certain things. Maybe you want Aunt Agnes to be able to make a phone call but you want to prevent her from going through your selfies.

The guest user can’t access your personal data. “Great!” You might be saying. “Let’s set up guest mode, loan my phone out to everyone, and call it a day!”

But you still have to trust your Android guest. When Aunt Agnes is in guest mode, she can install and use applications, surf the web and even change system settings. Good thing she’s 70 and doesn’t understand how to do this.

If guest mode sounds like a good idea, head to Settings, Users and Accounts, Users, then tap on “Add Guest.” While you’re here you can forbid your guest from making phone calls, or allow it.

How to Use Guest Mode?

To switch to Guest Mode on Android, pull down the notification shade, and select the guest profile after tapping the profile icon.

The easiest way to access Guest Mode is to pull down the notification shade, choose the profile icon and select the Guest profile. You’ll see a prompt that says “switching to guest” and after a few seconds, you’ll be presented with a fresh Android home screen. Now you can let any trusted person borrow it, knowing that they can’t access your information. If you find it difficult to switch to Guest Mode, take your device to a cell phone repair shop and they will get it done for you.

To switch back, just swipe the notification shade down again. Choose your user profile icon, then tap on your account. Or, you could simply remove your guest account.

The thing about the guest mode is that it isn’t available on all makes and models of Androids. The good news is that if you’re running 5.0 or newer, you probably have access to it, you’ll just have to do some digging. The steps you’ll take to use guest mode will be contingent upon what type of device you are on and what the Android version is.

It’s times like this where I feel happy about my barebones Motorola. Practically a stock Android, my Moto doesn’t come loaded with bloatware I didn’t ask for which will prevent me from accessing native Android features.

Say you have a flagship Samsung – you’ve also got a lot of useless apps you don’t need so you’re going to have to do more detective work to access Guest Mode.


I’d just like to remind you that guest mode isn’t a secure solution that allows you to leave the room as an untrusted person fiddles around with your device. Malware might be installed, system settings might be tweaked, and more, so be sure to watch your guest as they use your phone and retrieve it right after they have finished using.

To be extra safe, double check your phone for any changes that have been made, particularly if you don’t trust the person you have loaned your phone to in Guest Mode. A good hacker is a hacker. It’s usually that friend of a friend you’d never suspect that never talks about anything controversial (or her avid love for the app Termux) that is going to Pwn your phone.

Still, guest mode comes in handy when you want to loan your phone to someone like Aunt Agnes that just doesn’t need to see your data, but wouldn’t remotely seize control over your device for money and kicks.

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