Android Go is a version of Android designed for ultra-cheap smartphones. It’s optimized to deliver a smooth user experience on phones with less than 2GB RAM and comes pre-loaded with a special suite of Google apps designed to use less bandwidth and have a smaller memory footprint. While the overall premise of Android Go is to make core Android features more accessible to less powerful devices, it doesn’t skimp on privacy and security features either. In fact, Android 11 Go, which was announced last year, offers the same privacy protections as the full-fledged Android 11 version, including a one-time permission model for apps requesting access to the camera and microphone, auto-reset permissions, and more. Now in a bid to further improve user privacy, Google is making it easier for Android Go users to switch to guest mode.
During the “What’s new in Android privacy” session at Google I/O 2021, Google’s Erik Wolsheimer revealed that Google has made it easier to switch to guest mode on Android Go devices. With the new improvement, Android Go users can now turn on the guest mode right from the lockscreen without having to unlock the phone. The guest mode icon will appear on the lockscreen in the right-hand corner. When the user taps on it, it brings up the profile picker menu, allowing users to seamlessly switch to guest mode.
Google says they decided to add this improvement after their privacy-focused survey found that more than 56% of participants in the US and 81% of participants in India share their phones with their friends and family. “We want to make sure these users feel protected when they share their devices,” said Erik Wolsheimer.
It’s unclear whether this new improvement is limited to Android Go 11 devices or will also be made available to older versions as well. To learn more about the current state of Android privacy, check out the full session below.