How to Set Up Android Guest Mode and Why You Should

Android guest mode is an option that lets you hide everything that’s yours, but still keep your phone functional. When you switch over to guest mode, you’re hiding all of your apps, history, pictures, messages, etc, while simultaneously allowing someone else to use your phone.

Using Android guest mode is like having an entirely separate phone within your primary one. Much like a separate user account on a computer or website, guest mode can have different apps, files, home screen widgets, emails, etc. Guest users can still make calls, install apps, and download their own files, but nothing collides with your account.

Let’s look at how to enable Android guest mode so that you can get this neat alternate account for your friends or family to use when they want your phone. Switching to guest mode is easy, but before we start, let’s dive a bit deeper into why you’d use guest mode.

Why You Should Use Android Guest Mode

Anyone who wants to share their phone temporarily might like guest mode. Maybe you’re letting a stranger borrow your phone to make a private call and you don’t want them snooping through your texts or bank information? Or maybe you have a child who likes to watch videos on your phone, but they have a habit of messing around in other apps like Facebook or Messages?

Android guest mode is also helpful if you want a distraction-free phone for a while. Turn over to guest mode (with calls enabled in case of emergencies) and enjoy zero app notifications. Since your regular apps aren’t installed in guest mode, you won’t be tempted to open games during work or browse social media when out with friends.

How To Set Up Android Guest Mode

Turning on Android’s guest mode is really easy. 

  • Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Multiple users and enable multiple users if it isn’t already turned on. 
  • Tap Add guest or Guest (whichever one you see) to switch over to guest mode.
  • On the multiple users screen, tap the settings button next to the guest option if you want to turn on phone calls. Otherwise, the guest user won’t be able to make or take phone calls.
  • Another way to quickly switch in and out of Android guest mode is by swiping down from the top of the screen to view the notifications panel. Expand it fully to view all options, and then choose the avatar button to pick Guest.
  • When you’re finished in guest mode, but before you choose a different account to switch over to, the Guest button changes to Remove guest

This is an easy way to erase all that you’ve done in guest mode so that the next time you go in there, it’s a brand-new, fresh account. If you don’t erase guest mode, you can still do it the next time you open it.

What Gets Shared Between Accounts

Every account on your phone shares updates made to apps and settings like Wi-Fi network details and paired Bluetooth devices. 

This means when one user updates an app, it’s updated for all users. The same goes for wireless devices. Whether you or the guest user joins a wireless network, you’ll both have access to the network since the password is shared between both accounts.

However, texts, files, emails, music, videos, documents, photos, and data stored within apps aren’t shared between the guest account and primary account. You can open email accounts, download documents, take pictures, etc., and the other account won’t see them unless they switch over to yours.

Guests vs Users On Android Phones

When switching over to Android guest mode or turning on the multiple users feature, you may have noticed an option to add users. Users and guests are really similar accounts, but with one major difference: it’s easier to erase and restart the guest account.

Every time you switch over to guest mode, you’re asked if you want to continue the session with the same changes made to it the last time it was used, or if you want to start over. This isn’t a prompt you see when switching over to a user profile. This is because Android views guest mode as temporary, where you might want to wipe it before each new use, while user accounts are meant for long-term use with their own apps and files.

Another difference is that you can’t send or receive texts in Android guest mode. Phone calls can work if you enable them, but there isn’t an option to turn on texting. If you want another user account that’s separate from your primary one, and you want it to be able to text, you’ll have to use another user account instead of guest mode (and then enable texting for it).

To recap, these are the primary differences between user mode and Android guest mode:

  • Only user mode can send and receive texts from the Messages app (these are still shared with the primary account).
  • Guest mode is easier to erase after use (but you can still delete user accounts fairly easily).

Both have their own benefits and disadvantages, so it’s entirely up to you which one you use.

How to block group invites on WhatsApp

Group messaging is a useful feature you’ll find on most messaging apps including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and even iMessages. A group chat can get out of hand though, especially if there is no check on who can be added to a group or who can add you to a group. WhatsApp has been lax in this area for a long time. There is no reasonable upper limit on the number of people that can be in a group but, you can now finally block group invites on WhatsApp from people you do not know.

Block group invites on WhatsApp

This is a new feature on WhatsApp and it’s available on both iOS and Android versions of the app. Make sure the app on your device is up to date.

Go to the Settings tab, and tap on Account. On the Account screen, go to Privacy.

On the Privacy screen, look for the Groups option and tap it. On the Groups screen, you can choose who can, and who cannot invite you to a group. The default is set to ‘Everyone’. This means that anyone who has your phone number, regardless if you’ve ever sent them a message can invite/add you to a goup.

The ‘My Contacts’ option allows only those users who you’ve exchanged messages with, and added to your contacts to add you to a group. This means that, for the most part, you will only be added to groups by people you trust.

The ‘My Contacts Except…’ option allows you to exclude certain contacts from adding you to a WhatsApp group. This is the most restrictive option and you can use it to block invites from a contact who tends to add you to groups that aren’t useful.

The setting will have an impact on future group invites. If you’re already a part of a group thread that was started by someone you do not know, or you were added by someone not in your contacts list, you will still remain a part of it. You can always leave a group by going to its details screen. If leaving a group puts you in a social bind, you can just mute it instead. A group chat can be muted for up to one year before it’s automatically unmuted.

A muted group chat won’t send you notifications. The messages will be delivered silently and you can go back and read them whenever you want. Group members will not know that you’ve muted the group however, they will know if you’ve read a message or not.

Read How to block group invites on WhatsApp by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to add a drop shadow in Paint.net on Windows 10

Paint.net is an image editor that is more advanced than the Paint app on Windows 10, but less complicated and feature-rich than Photoshop or GIMP. It’s the perfect tool for anyone with slightly advanced image editing needs that Paint certainly can’t meet. Paint.net used to have a stock feature for adding a drop shadow but that feature appears to have been removed in one of its updates. If you’re looking to add a drop shadow in Paint.net, you’re going to have to go with a third-party effect.

Drop shadow in Paint.net

If you have Paint.net open, close it. Go to Paint.net Effects and download the EFFECTS ZIP file. This is a third-party website and it is not affiliated with Paint.net in any way. Extract the file and inside you will find a lot of DLL files.

Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location.

C:\Program Files\paint.net\Effects

Paste the DLL files from the extracted ZIP file in this folder. You will need admin rights to add items to this folder.

Open a new file in Paint.net. Make sure the canvas size has room around the edges to add the drop shadow to an object. An object here is anything that you add as a layer. If you have an image you’d like to add a drop shadow to, add it as a layer to the file. If the image is too big, either increase the canvas size or resize the image.

Next, go to Effects>Object>Drop shadow. In the window that opens, customize the drop shadow. You can change how far it is spread, the color of the drop shadow, how much it is offset from the actual object, and how transparent/opaque it is. You can also add a blur effect to the shadow.

When you save an image after adding the drop shadow, consider what it looks like as a whole. If you need the shadow to still look like a shadow i.e., have a semi-transparent look, you should save the image as a PNG file. If the item/object that you added the shadow to will look fine with a somewhat flatter shadow, you can use the JPEG format. Try saving to both before you close the file and see which one looks better. We recommend using PNG but PNG files tend to be much heavier/larger in size than a JPEG.

It’s a bit of a mystery why Paint.net decided to remove this useful little effect from the app. You’ll be hard put to find any other image editor that lets you add this effect with the same customization options as easily as Paint.net did.

Read How to add a drop shadow in Paint.net on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to capture a screenshot with shadow on Windows 10

Windows 10 adds a subtle dropdown shadow to windows. It gives them a slight floating effect and allows you to distinguish against items behind them. For the most part, it’s an aesthetic effect and it looks good. That said, if you try and capture a window with this shadow, you will find that the results are always awful. The shadow, when included, brings with it the desktop background. In stark contrast, macOS is able to exclude the background when it captures a window with its shadow. To capture a screenshot with shadow on Windows 10, you need to use Greenshot, and you need to get a little creative.

Screenshot with shadow

Greenshot is a great screenshot tool but it cannot capture shadows when it captures a single window. What the app has is a nice image editor that can add the shadow during editing. That’s the easiest method to get a window screenshot with a shadow included.

Download and install Greenshot. Capture the window that you want. It’s best to use the ‘Capture window from list’ option.

Once the screenshot has been captured, open it in the Greenshot image editor. In the toolbar on the left, click the Effects button, and select Drop shadow. You can click it multiple times to add a darker, larger shadow. Unfortunately, there are no other customization options for the drop shadow so you’re going to have to make do with this.

You can see the drop shadow added to the Notepad window in the screenshot below. The shadow retains transparency so if you paste the screenshot into an image editor, the shadow will not be a solid color however, you must save the screenshot in the PNG file format. If you save it in JPEG or BMP, the transparency will be lost. This is not a shortcoming of Greenshot. Instead, it has to do with only PNG being able to retain transparency.

If you need more control over the dropdown i.e., how dense it is, how transparent/opaque it is, and how far it is spread, you need a tool like Photoshop which isn’t free. You can GIMP which is a free alternative. The UI isn’t as nice as Photoshop but it does the job.

Paint.net used to have a nice drop shadow tool but it seems to have gone away with one of its updates which is a shame. If nothing else, Paint.net is much easier to use than GIMP.

Read How to capture a screenshot with shadow on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to set up Arc Menu in Gnome Shell

Arc Menu is a dynamic, beautiful application menu for the Gnome Shell desktop environment. It has a search function, file system shortcuts, and even allows users to add favorite apps for easy access.

If you’re sick of using the default application browser for the Gnome Shell desktop, follow along with this guide as we go over how to set up the Arc Menu in Gnome Shell.

Before we begin

Arc Menu is at its best when used with another Gnome Shell desktop extension: Dash to Panel, as it transforms the favorites bar in Gnome to a Windows-like taskbar, and with Arc Menu, makes for a great Linux experience.

If you’d like to learn how to get the Dash to Panel Gnome extension up and running on your Linux PC, head over to this guide here. In it, we go over how to set up and customize Dash to Panel on the Gnome Shell desktop environment.

Setting up Gnome Extensions

Using Arc Menu on the Gnome Shell desktop means enabling Gnome Extension support on your Linux PC. To enable Gnome Extension support, you must install the chrome-gnome-shell package, as well as a built-in browser add-on for Firefox or Chrome.

Need help setting up Gnome Extensions on your Linux PC? Head over to our guide on how to set up and use Gnome Shell extensions. In the guide, we cover all about how to install the Gnome browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome, as well as how to install the “chrome-gnome-shell” package on most modern Linux operating systems.

Install Arc Menu in Gnome Shell

The Arc Menu can be installed on the Gnome Shell desktop environment in two ways. Gnome Software, and the Gnome website. In this guide, we’ll go over both ways of installing Arc Menu.

Gnome website

To install the Arc Menu from the Gnome Extension website, start by going to the extension home page. Then, find the search box, and click on it with the mouse.

In the Gnome Extension website’s search box, type in “Arc Menu,” and press the Enter key to run a search on the website.

After running a search on the Extension website, you should see “Arc Menu” in the results. From here, click on the “Arc Menu” result in the list.

Upon clicking on “Arc Menu,” you will see a page all about Arc Menu. On this page, find the “OFF” slider, and switch it to the “ON” position.

Once the “OFF” slider is set to “ON,” you will see a pop-up on the Gnome Shell desktop environment. This pop-up will ask if you’d like to install Arc Menu. Select the “Install” button to get the extension.

Gnome Software

If you’re not a fan of the Gnome Extension website, it is also possible to install the Arc Menu extension in Gnome Shell with the Gnome Software application.

To start the installation of Arc Menu, launch Gnome Software on the desktop. Then, after launching Gnome Software, click the search icon at the top left.

Once you’ve selected the search icon, type “Arc Menu” in the search box, and press the Enter key to run a search.

Look through the search results for “Arc Menu,” and select it with the mouse. Then, after selecting “Arc Menu” with the mouse, locate the blue “Install” button, and click it to install it to the Gnome Shell desktop.

Using Arc Menu

Arc Menu is pretty straightforward. To use it, find the “A” icon at the top-left area of the Gnome Shell panel, and click on it with the mouse.

Clicking on the “A” icon will instantly reveal the Arc Menu. From here, you can click “All Programs” to find a program to launch, or start typing to search for a specific app to run.

Adding favorites to the Arc Menu

The Arc Menu supports adding favorites to it. To add an application favorite, do the following.

First, select “All Programs” or search for an app you’d like to add to Arc Menu as a favorite. Then, right-click on the program, and select the “Pin to Arc Menu” option to add it to the Arc Menu favorites.

Need to remove a favorite? Open Arc Menu, and right-click on the app in the favorites list. Then, select “Unpin from Arc Menu.”

Accessing folders

Arc Menu gives users in Gnome Shell easy access to many folders in the home directory. To access them, do the following.

First, open up the Arc Menu. Then, look to the right-hand part of it, under your username. Then, choose a folder to instantly access (Home, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, or Videos).

Gnome Shell settings

With Arc Menu, you can quickly access various Gnome Shell settings, such as starting a terminal, the Gnome Tweaks app, etc. To launch any of the Gnome Shell settings from Arc Menu, do the following.

First, open up the Arc Menu. Then, look to the bottom-right area of the menu (under the folders). From here, select any of the five settings options with the mouse.

Read How to set up Arc Menu in Gnome Shell by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter