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Last Updated: July 26th, 2013

Android 4.2 introduced a major change for tablets: multi-user profiles. This allows each member of the family (or organization), to have their own profile, complete with app, homescreen, and setting independence. Today, with Android 4.3, Google has taken multi-user accounts to the next level with restricted profiles. Essentially, this allows the tablet owner to have granular control over the other user accounts on the device.

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For example, let's say you're a parent and you share a tablet with a young child. We all know how tap-happy kids can get, and many-a-parent has suffered the "my child just bought $86 worth of IAPs" tragedy. With Restricted Profiles, this is a thing of the past. The owner of the device – in this case, the parent – can set up a profile specifically for this child, and filter out all in-app purchases. This means that not only will IAPs unavailable to the little one, but they won't even show up in the first place. That's absolutely brilliant.

You can also control other aspects of the device: mature content filtering, access to games and user-generated content, and even specific applications. Developers will also be able to offer specific controls within their applications using the Restricted Profile API.

Restricted Profiles is available in Android 4.3, which is currently rolling out to the Nexus 4, 7, 10, and Galaxy Nexus (GSM), and comes stock on the new Nexus 7.

Android Developers

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • ProductFRED

    This is awesome. Finally I can show someone my phone without worrying about them screwing things up and going through all my stuff. As long as this can't be exploited [easily] to escalate access, I'd definitely use this.

    • FrozenJohgru

      I think the multi-user feature is for tablets only

      • ProductFRED

        Sorry, replace "phone" with "tablet" in my original comment. Even then, it's still a useful feature.

      • zephiK

        If you have a custom ROM, you can enable multi-user feature for your phone/phablet/etc. Depending on what custom ROM you use, of course.

    • Sarath Chandra Gullapalli

      I'm still looking for someone specifically stating that "Android 4.3 brings Multiple User Accounts with Restricted Profiles *on smartphones, along with* tablets "...!!!!

      • Sarath Chandra Gullapalli

        #SadFace after waiting with abated breath...!!!

      • Colin Whiteside

        Alas, Nokia own a patent on multi-user accounts on mobile phones that goes waaaay back, hence why multi-user Android phones won't be officially supported.

    • John Smith

      I still worry about someone picking up my phone and finding all the inappropriate pictures/videos in the GALLERY !!!

      • st0815

        Search for "private gallery" in the play store, there are a number of apps which should help with that.

  • stevee

    Thank you Google.

  • sjpn

    I assume iap restriction is for apps through Google play store and others like game via Amazon app store need to set up their own restriction delegated management

  • panda

    why is this tablet only ?

    • miri

      Tablets are more share-able than phones.

  • Andrew Kachaniwsky

    Installed 4.3 to my Nexus 4... definitely don't see these profiles anywhere.
    Which is a shame, because I was excited to use this whenever I have a "loaner phone" situation.. which happens more often than I'd like!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
  • Elias

    Can't wait to have this on a custom ROM! I could set up a basic profile without password to allow people to play games without iap and browse the internet, another one with a simple password which would also allow people to make calls, and then keep my full-fledged profile locked with a password no one else knows.

  • ammar

    Android official website says its only for tablets does it work for samsung note 2 ??

  • Karan Pratap Singh

    Is there anyway I can backup or restore existing Restricted Profiles in Android 4.3? It is a pain to set restricted profiles every time I flash a new custom ROM :(

  • charmin

    I have a brand new Samsung 10.1 tab 2014 and have just found out it does NOT have multi user option as part of Android 4.3, Samsung this is outrageous..... !!! This has never been picked up by any review I can find... makes me wonder what these reviewers actually know about the product. I would seriously have thought twice about buying this tablet had I known, all I can say is... Pathetic...!

    • Daz

      Me too - really frustrating - are you listening Samsung? I asked the question on their support site of when the feature would be made available in an update and they just replied that there was no planned date - no support at all! Smartkeitai.com do show on their site a Note 10.1 2014 with a Nov 1 2013 update installed which has this feature so there is possibly some hope it will make it to us one day???

      • Daniel Montanha

        OMFG, I wish I had read this before I bought it!
        I've just purchased a Galaxy Note 2014 edition, and one of the main reasons of choice (instead of an ipad) 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!

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