Shared device setup

Shared device setup is currently only supported on certain tablets. More on supported devices.

Before you begin configuring devices with this method, please complete the following steps:

  1. During configuration, the device-specific account is loaded onto the device as the "primary account." After configuration, you can add up to five "secondary accounts" to each device which are the student accounts. Both types of accounts are required to complete shared device setup.

    In the Google Apps Admin console, create a generic account to identify each device that you configure. If you want to set up 30 tablets, create 30 accounts. We recommend that these accounts are added to a different organizational unit from your student accounts.

    Once you create the device-specific accounts, add them to a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should have the following format:

    • column A—device-specific account username
    • column B—device-specific account password
    • column C—device-specific screen lock PIN

    Here's an example:

    Username Password PIN abc123de 9843 cde345fg 3489 ghk678il 7621 yxz987ab 1267

    Create one spreadsheet for each group of tablets being configured. If you're configuring all tablets at once, you only need to create one spreadsheet.

    Screen lock PIN notes:

    • A screen lock PIN is required for each device-specific account.
    • The screen lock PIN is not the same as the admin PIN, which is set in the Google Apps Admin console.
    • The screen lock PIN must be at least 4 digits.
    • You can use the same screen lock PIN for all device-specific accounts.
  2. Set up the Wi-Fi network in the Google Apps Admin console.
  3. Ensure that the Wi-Fi network that you set up is available in the location where you’ll configure the student tablets.
  4. The account with delegated administrator status on the tablet is in the same fully qualified domain as the student accounts for the tablets (for example, and

There are three parts to shared device setup:

  1. Configure devices with device-specific accounts
  2. Add student accounts to each tablet
  3. Student setup of each account on the tablets

Configure devices with device-specific accounts

  1. Open the Android Device Enrollment app (under All Apps if it’s not visible on the Home screen) on the administrator tablet.
  2. Choose the administrator account you're using for configuration and click the arrow to continue.

    Note: This account must be a Google Apps administrator or have delegated administrator status. The account must also have access to the spreadsheet with the device-specific account information.

  3. Review the preparation information, then click OK, Let's go! to continue.
  4. Select Multiple students per device.
  5. Choose the number of students who will share each tablet. (Up to 5 students can share each tablet.) Touch Next.
  6. Choose whether students must take a profile photo when setting up their accounts on their devices, and touch Next.

    Note: This feature is only available on student devices running Android 5.0.

    • You can choose to make the profile photo required or optional.
    • You can also choose to not prompt the student for a profile photo at all.
  7. Choose whether students must set a screen lock PIN when setting up their accounts on their devices, and touch Next.


    • You can choose to enforce the screen lock PIN requirement or make it optional.
    • You can also choose to not prompt the student for a screen lock PIN at all.
    • This feature is only available on student devices running Android 5.0.
    • This selection applies only to the student accounts added to the device after setup. The device-specific accounts must have a PIN which is listed in the spreadsheet with the other device-specific account information.
  8. In the Account Information section: 
    1. Select the spreadsheet that you previously created with the device-specific accounts' usernames, passwords, and PINs.
    2. Verify columns (you'll see a few sample rows of the spreadsheet). 
    3. Touch the green checkmark to continue.

    An explanation of the bumping process displays.

  9. Review the steps and touch Continue.

    If you dismiss the explanation and want to see it again, touch Menu in the top corner and select Instructions.

  10. Tap and hold the administrator tablet to the student tablet so that the NFC antennas on both tablets align. You’ll hear the "start" sound when the two tablets are correctly aligned.

    Aligning tablets:

    • If you're using two Nexus 7, Asus Transformer Pad (with or without keyboard), or HP Slate 8 Pro tablets, place the tablets back to back and align the edges.
    • If you're using two Samsung Galaxy Tab4 Education tablets, place the tablets back to front and align the edges.

    The configuration is completed via Bluetooth so you can set both tablets down at this point. You'll see the status as each student tablet is configured on both the administrator tablet and the student tablet. Note: You only need to configure each student tablet once even if you will be adding multiple student accounts to the tablet.

  11. Click Done once you've completed configuration of all of the student tablets.

Note: If the configuration process fails for any one student tablet, you'll need to factory data reset the tablet before you can try configuration again. If you need help factory resetting your device, please contact support.

Add student accounts to each tablet

We recommend that the administrator adds all of the student accounts to the tablets before the tablets are distributed to students. On the first day of class, all tablets should be labeled and ready to be assigned to the students.

On the lock screen of each tablet, a colored circle appears for each unused user account on the tablet. The primary user (device-specific account) is identified with a text label showing the account name. To complete setup on a secondary user (student account), touch one of the blank user images on the lock screen and follow the directions on screen to set up the account.

Once setup is complete, the Home screen is displayed and apps that are assigned to the student (if any) are downloaded.

Student setup of each account on the tablets

On the first day of class, the teacher should lead the students to:

  1. Select an unused secondary user account. The label should say New User.
  2. Swipe right to unlock the screen. The Welcome screen displays.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to add your account by entering your email address and password.
Remove an individual student user from a shared tablet

If you need to remove a student user from a shared tablet, you'll need to use the device-specific account to make that change. The device-specific account should:

  • Be in a separate organizational unit from the organizational unit with the student accounts.
  • Have the following two policies set in the Google Apps Admin console:
    • Allow users to add new users/profiles on their devices
    • Allow users to remove users/profiles from their devices

To remove a student user from a shared tablet:

  1. Unlock the device-specific account on the tablet.  
  2. (Optional) If you recently made the change to the organizational unit permissions, make sure that the Google Device Policy app has synced so that this permission has been applied.
  3. Navigate to Settings > Device > Users, and touch the trashcan icon next to the student account to be removed.
  4. Touch + Add user and confirm the action.
  5. Choose the option to not add the user now.
  6. Navigate to the Home screen, turn off the screen with one short press of the power button, and once the screen is black, turn on the screen with a second short press of the power button.
  7. On the Home screen, touch New user and follow the steps above for student setup of the new account on the tablet.

Known issues with shared devices

  • Wi-Fi settings are shared between users—All users are connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the primary user.
  • Server certificates are shared between all users if added in the Admin console to the provisioned accounts. Server certificates can be viewed on device via Android Settings > Security > Trusted Credentials.
  • The My Books widget on the Home screen might be missing content for secondary user accounts (content is available when directly accessed through the My Books app on the device).
  • The Android Quick Settings > Settings drop-down menu might become unresponsive to touch; rebooting the device resolves the issue.
  • There may be delays in processing touch events on the lock screen when switching between user accounts (for example, unlocking the screen might appear slow).
  • Only secondary user accounts from the same domain as the device-specific account can be added to the same tablet. Adding accounts from multiple domains to a single device is not yet supported.