Restricted Profile

The ability to add a second user profile was added to tablets in Android 4.2, and it's gained even more granular functionality in Android 4.3 with the addition of "restricted profiles." In a nutshell, this lets you choose which applications that restricted user can use.

It's not quite a full-functioned kids mode, and there still are a couple things to watch out for. But for basic account compartmentalization, it works pretty well.

Let's dive into it and show how to use the new "restricted profile" feature in Android 4.3.

First off, remember that user profiles are available on tablets for now. So don't go looking for this on your Nexus 4 or whatever. (That might change at some point — see Dan Morrill's explanation on Reddit — but we're not holding our breath.)

Restricted Profile

To create a new user, head into the settings menu and tap on "Users." Then choose "Add user or profile." You'll get a new pop-up where you'll choose either "User" or "Restricted Profile." The former is a full-fledged user, with their own apps and settings and data. A restricted user, however, is subject (mostly) to the whims of the account owner. 

We want to add a restricted user. So, tap it. 

(Note: If you don't currently have any sort of lockscreen security enabled — password, PIN or pattern — you'll now be asked to create one. No sense having a restricted profile if anyone can get into the unrestricted profile, right?)

Restricted Profile

You'll see a "New profile" created. It'll automatically open it to set it up. From there you'll see a list of all available applications. (Depending on how many apps are installed on your tablet, this could take a few seconds to populate. It was pretty sluggish on our 2012 Nexus 7.) From here on out it's pretty self-explanatory. There's an on/off toggle for each installed app. Tap that toggle to give the restricted account access to an app.

There's a settings toggle as well, but you can't switch it off. Instead, tapping it opens up a checkbox for location access. Uncheck it and the apps in the restricted profile won't be able to tell where you are. 

Restricted Profile

Once you've selected the apps you want the restricted profile to be able to access, you're good to go. To switch to the restricted profile, hit the power button to put the tablet to sleep, then wake it again. Or, you can pull down the quick settings menu and tap the current profile picture to switch to another user. (Again, on our aging 2012 Nexus 7, this can get a bit sluggish.)

Restricted Profile

Speaking of settings. We haven't found a way to not let the restricted profile into the tablet's settings menu wholesale. The settings themselves have been scaled back a bit — you can't add new accounts or get into developer settings, to name but two examples — but with just a cursory look, it's still possible to do a little of damage. (And by that we're thinking of kids, really.) You can still clear data or flat-out uninstall an app from the app settings section — or you can just long-press and drag to uninstall from the home screen. On the other hand, this lets you add a lockscreen to the restricted profile if you want. But it also lets the restricted profile turn on NFC and Bluetooth, which can lead to file transfers you might not want.

Point is, restricted profiles are not so granular as to be used as a proper kids mode. For that, you're going to want something like Zoodles. Nor is it the Fort Knox of guest modes.

The bottom line here is that while restricted profiles put a wall between the owner account and secondary users, there are still opportunities to peek through it. No so much a security concern — even if you have access to the People and Gallery apps, you can't see contacts or pictures form the main account — but just from a "kids potentially messing things up" standpoint.

What you do get is a quick and easy way to turn a tablet into a casual guest device. Just know that it's not completely locked down.


Reader comments

How to use Android 4.3's 'Restricted Profile' feature


I think this is great feature rather than having a new user with their own profile this is helpful for someone with kids.

wait for KLP and this feature would be much improved

Is that Android running on an older iPad in the image? If so, I'd like to know how I can make my old iPad 1 useful again...!!

However you can install app lock on the restricted user and set a password and block settigns so they cant access or unistall and this way it will be abit better

Who even has the update!? I'm patiently waiting, but not so patiently.

Posted via Android Central App

I clicked into this article really hoping to see how to actually USE the profiles, not just create them. Once I have multiple profiles, how do I actually switch between them?

If I'm in one profile and, say, in the middle of playing a game, and I put my tablet down and another user picks it up, switches to their profile and they start playing the same game, will they be continuing my game, or getting a new game? When I switch back to my own profile, will I be able to continue my own game, or will it be lost?

You'll want the graf above that reads thusly:

"To switch to the restricted profile, hit the power button to put the tablet to sleep, then wake it again. Or, you can pull down the quick settings menu and tap the current profile picture to switch to another user. (Again, on our aging 2012 Nexus 7, this can get a bit sluggish.)"

The restricted profiles don't share data. They're separate. If your game saves data/state like it's supposed to, you should be OK.

(Also added a picture I meant to have in there when we published.)

>"Speaking of settings. We haven't found a way to not let the restricted profile into the tablet's settings menu wholesale."

If a restricted user can go in a muck around with wifi settings, updates, uninstall apps, mess with the home screen setups, etc, then this whole "feature" is still mostly useless.

I don't understand the purpose of a restricted account that is not really RESTRICTED!! Many of us have been waiting for this type of feature for years. Color me very disappointed that they would go 90% there and then mess it up!

I just checked, and when you uninstall an app as Restricted Profile-user, you effectively disable it for yourself, but it's not removed from the device.

Same here Benurd.. No update.. At least for ñ4 Australia.. My button finger is sore..

Posted via Android Central App

Is there a way to allow a restricted user to install apps? When I try, it says 'You dont have permission to use Play Store'. I'd like to let my kids use this and pick and choose their own apps, at least the free ones.

Is there a way to mass update users? I am setting up for a classroom (about 20 kids)..and have multiple devices, so that could be tedious...

After the 2nd small android 4.3 update I lost root on a stock rooted Nexus 7. I reflash Supersu from recovery. Well the restricted user that was setup previously is now gone. If I add the restricted user again with the same name will all the game saves still be there?

I wish they would release this feature onto phones. Would be helpful if I want my kid to play on my phone without having to worry about him going into my other apps

Dear all,
I've just purchased a Galaxy Note 2014 edition, and one of the main reasons of choice (instead of na iphone) was exactly the possibility to creace multiple accounts, since I'll share it with my wife and kid.
But the settings menu simply don't match the ones shown in many tutorials, such as this one, and I simply can't find the "add user" button.
I've called Samsung, and their answer is that "brazilian made units do not have this feature".
But we're talking about OS here, aren't we?
Does any one know how to get around and add the extra users?
Thank you!