Setup User Profiles for Children in Android 4.2 on Nexus 7

Posted on November 14, 2012 by Tim Morris | 2 Comments

Wood Nexus 7 Case

I bought a Nexus 7 when they were first released and I really like it.  It's quick and powerful, yet small and light enough to take almost everywhere.  I've been practicing "Getting Things Done" methods for years, so I like taking notes on ideas that come to mind.  I like using Swype on my Nexus 7 to capture ideas right into Evernote so I don't have to type them later at a computer.  In fact, I liked it so much I developed a wood Nexus 7 case.

I'm not the only fan in the family.  My Nexus 7 is frequently shared among all my family members.  One feature of Android 4.2 that I am excited to see is the ability to setup the device for multiple users.   Now each one can have their own profile.

There are a number of steps below, but the the entire process probably takes less than 5 minutes.

How to Setup User Account on the Device

Tap Settings | Security | ADD USER

Tap Ok
Tap Set up now (the screen goes dark for 10-15 seconds at this step)
Now you're back at the home scren and will see an icon for the new profile

Configure the User Account

Tap the icon for the new profile
Tap the > on the Welcome screen

If the user has a Google Account you can input their credentials and they can have all of their email, calendar, and apps available on your tablet.

You can also create an account on the device that isn't associated with a Google Account .  That's what I did for my younger children.

For the rest of this article, I'm going to assume we're configuring this for a child too young for a Google Account.

If the user doesn't have a Google Account, tap No.

Tap Not now if you don't want to create a Google Account.

Accept the defaults and tap the >.

Input a name for the tablet user account.

Accept the terms and tap the >.

The user account is setup.

Since the kids the kids will only be using this for games I took all the shortcuts and widgets off the Home screen.

If you'd like, now might be a good time to help them select a "login" pattern (Settings | Security | Screen Lock | Pattern)

Connect to Play Store

I didn't want to re-purchase any games, so I connected my children's accounts to an account that already had a number of games associated with it.

Tap the Play store icon, Existing, and Sign in

Tap OK and give the device a minute to Sign in.

Lock Down

Secure Play Store

I've had experience with kids buying apps without realizing they were spending real money (if you've purchased anything in the Google Play store your credit card is linked with your Google Account).  Here are some easy steps to lock it down.

In the Google Play app, tap the three dot menu icon, tap settings and look for the User Controls section.

Tap Use PIN for purchases
Tap Set or change PIN and create a 4 digit code.

I also wanted some limits on the apps that could be downloaded.

Tap Content filtering and select an app rating and tap OK

I didn't want contacts, email, or calendar to be easily accessible in this user account so I turned off sync on most of the Google Services.

Tap Settings | Accounts | Google and uncheck the services you don't want sync'd in this account.

What tricks do you use to secure your Nexus when letting children play with it?

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2 Responses


March 08, 2013

Thanks for this post. I setup my Nexus 7 for my account and then added my son’s login to it. I then setup the play store for my account as well and unchecked all email/cal/contacts etc syncing. However how do you keep those from being re-enabled when logged in as the child user?

Arne Michelsen
Arne Michelsen

January 31, 2013

Thanks so much for the advice. It will save me some time, setting up our new Nexus 7 for our 9 year old.

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