How to Set Up the Android Work Profile & Why

Find out how the Android work profile is set up on a work phone and why it is the key-contributor to a successful bring-your-own-device initiative.

Image depicting a man working on the move with the Android work profile
Working on the go is more secure and user-friendly with the Android work profile.

What Is the Android Work Profile?

The Android work profile is an essential part of every Android-based BYOD initiative. First, a quick BYOD recap:

A bring your own device (BYOD) initiative has been an excellent way for companies to integrate employee’s personal smartphones or tablets for many years now. Some businesses use BYOD as a company incentive: workers are offered a subsidy for contract costs and/or the price of a device in return for allowing it to be partially managed (we have covered what to expect from a company BYOD project elsewhere in depth).

Being able to (partially!) manage the employee’s personal smartphone has many advantages. To name just one reason, sensitive corporate data can be better protected, as private data is separated from business data. This prevents personal apps, like WhatsApp, from being able to access work-based contact information.

Going back to the Android work profile, the data separation for Android devices appears differently than on Apple devices. Users see a work profile, and we will explain why this different approach makes BYOD particularly attractive to end users.

Image depicting the Android work profile on a smartphone. It is easy to distinguish between work or personal apps, because work apps are labelled with a blue suitcase.
Work and personal apps are clearly separated in the Android work profile

The Clearest Division of Work and Personal Data

The Android work profile clearly marks off which areas of the employee’s device are managed and which are not.

With a recognizable blue suitcase next to each managed work app, it provides the clearest form of division between work and personal information, much more so than currently possible with an iPhone for work.

Extra little touches, like how app recommendations on the personal app store are not altered by work app downloads, or separate work/personal notifications, further enhance this feeling of having two personas on the device.

This is the key feature that ensures that businesses can fulfill their mobility requirements and achieve a strong ROI on BYOD, whilst end-users reap financial rewards, a boost to their workplace productivity and incur no infringements on their privacy.

How to Set Up the Android Work Profile

The prerequisite for Android work profile setup is an MDM-solution that can leverage the Android Enterprise platform.

Each specific Android work profile setup method may differ slightly depending on which software is being used. Essentially, IT admins use an MDM solution to create an MDM-profile which can then be downloaded on each employee’s own device.

End users simply activate the Android work profile themselves by downloading the MDM solution’s app, before providing their credentials and following Google’s work profile setup wizard.

IT admins control the work profile area with the MDM software, can deploy new apps to the employee and delete all company data if the employee leaves the company or the device is lost.

Using this remote management tool, IT can furnish multiple devices with the correct business apps, Wi-Fi settings and email account configurations with ease.

3 Reasons Why Businesses Can’t Ignore Android BYOD

  1. The Android Work Profile Helps Users Manage Their Work-Life Balance:
    “While our phones are a big part of our work lives, it’s important to be able to disconnect”, writes James Nugent, Product Manager at Google. And thanks to the Android work profile, disconnecting is indeed easier than with an iOS device.

    The Android work profile can be toggled on or off so workers can blend out their work lives in their free time. Once done, the work profile essentially disappears, and no work notifications will be received. All work apps stop running completely and will not sync in the background.

    For employees that take work-life balance and digital wellbeing seriously (according to one study, 33% view work-life balance as their number one concern over compensation, advancement and job stability), this is a critical part of every successful Android BYOD incentive.

  2. Innovative Android-Specific Updates Always on the Horizon:
    A BYOD-initiative with Android means access to frequent improvements and innovations, particular with Google’s own Pixel range. For example, Android 10 introduced more enterprise features and allows both work and personal calendars to be simultaneously viewed on each user’s BYOD device, making appointment planning more straightforward.  Quicker security updates are also new.

  3. Highest Levels of Security for Corporate Data:
    It is worth pointing out that Android itself has many built-in security measures. A Gartner study actually found that after the Android 8 Oreo update in 2017, Google’s operating system was rated more secure than iOS.

    Whilst BYOD may not be the most secure of all MDM deployment-types (fully-managed devices and dedicated devices would be more capable of meeting the highest security requirements in the enterprise) Android’s credibility cannot be placed in doubt.

The Bottom Line: Android BYOD Boosts Productivity, Security and Digital Wellbeing

Most of the time, companies implement an MDM-solution, like Cortado MDM, not just to improve productivity, but because it is a great way to manage large amounts of devices, encourage better digital wellbeing and also make device integration and usage within the company network smooth and secure.

Thanks to innovations like the Android work profile though, the needs of businesses are being fulfilled in a sustainable way that allows end users the right amount of control. This makes the case for BYOD policies in companies and organizations stronger than ever.


Android Mobile Application Management

This free, in-depth white paper on how to manage Android devices with a work profile tells all you need to know about enterprise BYOD.

Read Whitepaper »

Related Resources:

To learn about the Android work profile setup with Cortado MDM, consult the guide to configuring Android Enterprise and the setup guide for end-users.

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