One of the biggest tablet requests I've seen lately is asking about how to lock down an Android device so that end users have limited abilities. For some businesses, this is a must-have feature, and thanks to SureLock Kiosk Lockdown by 42Gears Mobility Systems, it's quite simple.
Before we get into this, you should know precisely what Lockdown can do:
- Lock down Android smartphones and tablets into kiosk mode
- Restrict users to allowed applications only
- Completely hide the home button and disable the bottom bar on Android 3.x Honeycomb devices
- Show only selected widgets on the SureLock home screen and position them as you want
- Block user from playing games, browsing, or installing unapproved applications
- Block user from changing the system settings
- Selectively allow or block individual child windows of any application
- Per application password control
- Brand SureLock with your own corporate logo
- Auto launch application(s) at startup
- Peripheral lockdown (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, auto-orientation, flight-mode, and audio)
- Set custom wallpaper on the SureLock home screen
- Relocate icons anywhere on the screen by using drag and drop
- Remotely deploy SureLock configuration
There are two editions of SureLock:
- Free: Some limitations (such as the ability to only include two allowed applications)
- Full: No limitations (check out 42Gears Mobility Systems web page for licensing costs)
Supported devices include:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- Kindle Fire
- Motorola Xoom
- Motorola ET1 (Awarded Motorola Solutions Validated)
- HTC Wildfire
- Zenithink C91
- Dell Streak 7
Locking down a tablet is relatively easy. In just a few short minutes, you can have a tablet secured exactly how you want. Let's walk through the process of installing and using SureLock.
The installation of SureLock is simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open up the Google Play Store
- Search for "surelock" (no quotes)
- Tap the entry for SureLock Kiosk Lockdown
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept & download
Once installed, you'll find SureLock within your app drawer. Tap the launcher, and get ready to lock down that tablet.
UsageThe way SureLock works is by acting as a new home screen. When you tap the launcher for SureLock, a window will appear, instructing you what to do next (Figure A). Figure A
SureLock on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.If you tap the "OK, Got It!" button, you'll be presented with the home screen selector window (Figure B). Make sure that you select the "Use by default for this action" check box. Figure B
If you do not check the box for "Use by default for this action," you'll keep coming back to the Initial SureLock screen.After you've selected SureLock as the default, the main window will appear. This main window consists of a white screen with a small logo in the center. Tap a blank space on the screen five times, and a password window will appear. Enter "0000" (no quotes) to open the SureLock settings window (Figure C). Figure C
SureLock Admin Settings window.
One of the first thing you'll need to do is change the password for SureLock. Most of your end users will not know to tap the home screen five times to get to the login -- but you shouldn't leave the default password, just in case they do. To change the password, follow these steps:
- From the Admin Settings window, tap SureLock Settings
- Scroll down and tap Change Password
- In the overlay, enter the default password (0000) in the Old Password section
- Enter the new password
- Confirm the new password
- Tap Change Password
Once you've changed the password, you can start locking down the tablet. Go back to the Admin Settings window, and make these configurations:
- Tap Allowed Applications and add the applications that will be available to end users
- Go back into SureLock Settings and disable the Bottom Bar if you do not want your end users to have access to the Android panel
- Also within SureLock Settings, change the wireless settings (Always On, Always Off, Don't Care)
After you've taken care of these basic settings, the tablet is ready for the user. Unless they know the admin password, they won't be able to get back to the default home screen or open any disallowed applications.
To exit out of SureLock, do the following:
- Open the SureLock Settings window
- Tap Exit SureLock
- Tap the Exit button
You should now see the default home screen. To get back into SureLock, simply tap the SureLock launcher (and remember to set it as the default again), and you're ready.
If you need to lock down a tablet device, SureLock Kiosk Lockdown is one of the easiest and most reliable applications for the task. Try the free version, and if you like it enough, visit the developer's web site to purchase a license. Once you have your license, you can activate SureLock by going into the SureLock Settings window and tapping About SureLock | Activate. Enter the key you purchased, and the free limitations will be removed.
Have you used SureLock or a similar app for locking down your tablet? Please share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.