Written by Esa Hietikko
Nowadays work-related tasks, like answering emails or taking conference calls, are often handled with mobile devices. This easily blurs the line between work and free time as notifications cause distraction whenever the device is turned on, especially when the same device is used for both purposes.
However, this does not have to be the case. Mobile devices running Android 5.0 and above have support for a built-in “Work profile” that enables the separation of work and personal apps, and muting of all work-related notifications when you’re “off duty”.
When using the Android work profile, all work applications, contacts, and files are located under a separate user profile.
On the left: Personal profile; on the right: Work profile
A powerful tool for balancing work and free time
One of the best things with the Android work profile is that device users can turn it on and off at any time. This is especially useful when people are working from home and drawing the line between work and free time might be a challenge.
When the work profile is turned off, all work applications are “disabled” and completely turned off, which means that they don’t use any mobile data or show notifications to the device user. Meanwhile, the personal profile can be used normally while work-related notifications stay silent.
In some mobile device models, work applications are separated from personal applications with a briefcase icon instead of a tab breakdown.
When you get back to your work tasks, you can turn on the work profile with the push of a button through Android’s quick settings menu.
A button to turn the work profile on/off.
Separate profiles increase data security
Above all, the use of work profile helps you draw a line between work and free time when work-related apps are clearly separated from your personal applications.This is also an advantage in terms of data security.
Application data is not transferred between profiles which secures the device and data in case a user accidentally installs a malicious application on their personal user profile. Moreover, the work profile can be wiped when necessary without having to make any changes to the personal profile, for example, when you change jobs.
To add an extra layer of security, you can secure the work profile with a separate pin code or fingerprint. So even if someone gets your unlocked device, they can’t access your work files. This makes it easier to lend your work device, for example, to your child without the fear of them accidentally accessing your work applications.
How to enable the Work profile?
In order to get the work profile up and running, your employer needs to use enterprise mobility management (EMM) software that supports Google’s Android Enterprise service. In addition, your employer needs to register as an Android Enterprise user through the chosen EMM. This is free and typically takes only a couple of minutes.
Miradore’s cloud-based EMM software is on the list of Google verified EMMs for Android Enterprise, and it lets you scale up and down whenever needed. It comes with many useful device management features and supports Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows devices, and you can use it to set up the Android work profile. Getting started with Miradore is easy and you can test the software for free for two weeks.
Which devices support the Work profile?
The work profile is available for all Android devices running Android 5.0 or later, regardless of the device manufacturer. However, there may be some differences in functionality between different device models.
If you’re purchasing a new device, the easiest way to ensure compatibility with your work profile is to take advantage of Google’s Android Enterprise Recommended site, which has a list of devices for which Google has verified compatibility.
About the writer
Esa has been with Miradore since 2010 when he joined the team to complete his traineeship in computer science studies. He works in the R&D team and enjoys tinkering with geeky gadgets and writing about software.