Removing Gmail From An Android Tablet

by @edent | # # # | 9 comments | Read ~16,444 times.

I've an interesting use-case, that I don't think is met by Android. I want my tablet to have access to my Google Play account but not have access to my emails.

I recently acquired a cheap Android tablet to act as a remote control for my entertainment equipment. The tablet sits in my lounge where it can be accessed by all and sundry - my wife, guests, the plumber, etc.

Occasionally, I want to buy apps for the tablet - some of the fancy remote-control apps cost money - so now I have a problem...

  • Create a brand new Google account for the tablet, and have to buy the app multiple times (once for my phone, once for the tablet).
    Or...
  • Associate my Google account with the tablet and give everyone access to my email and calendar.

There are some workarounds which don't quite meet my needs...

I can just disable the accounts - but that doesn't stop my mates from re-enabling them. If a thief swipes the tablet, they have access to everything.

I can even disable Gmail - and the other associated services - but nothing can stop someone from just re-enabling them.
Google Disabled-fs8

https://twitter.com/iam_tomscott/status/448578894967619584

I'm not adverse to a little hacking around - but I'm not sure how I can transfer paid APKs around. There are extensions which work fine for downloading free APKs from the app store, but I specifically want some paid apps.

There doesn't seem to be a permanent way to disable the services that I don't want. The tablet must not receive GTalk messages, I never want it on Google+, no one should be able to see my calendar on it.

Is this really too much to ask for? I want to use this as a companion device - not as my daily driver.

All I want is that this tablet can only have access to Play - and be forbidden from accessing all of Google's other services. I've scoured Google's dashboards extensively and I can't find anything like this.

Or am I being paranoid? Should I just accept that this is the Google way and hope that no one malicious gets their hands on my tablet?

9 thoughts on “Removing Gmail From An Android Tablet

  1. I have a similar issue with my young son's tablet. I want to be able to install stuff on it through play, but would rather he didn't have access to everything else. The only way I've dealt with it is set it up with his own account, and if I want to install a paid app, I temporarily log in with my real details, install the app, and then remove my google account again.

    But that's a PITA.

  2. Ben Smith says:

    Not sure if you have a version that supports it but would parental controls be helpful here? They might prevent a user with access to the device being able to re-enable services or change settings?

  3. As Ben indicated, parental controls might be the answer here -- you'll still have those apps installed, but access is controlled with a password.

    I've tried http://www.famigo.com/sandbox/ briefly before and this may be suitable if the built-in Android controls don't provide enough restrictions.

  4. mark says:

    Almost two years later.... anything decent options yet? I have a tablet that I use for just google play music at work, but I rather not allow it access to my entire google account. And I agree, disabling and unchecking is not suitable. If I can't find a way, I rather use my Amazon Prime account for the music or sign up with Spotify. There's no way I'm just letting my google account be accessible to anyone.

    1. Terence Eden says:

      I tend to flash the tablet with Cyanogen and then sideload any apps I want.

  5. Rob says:

    Same problem, no solution

  6. Shelia says:

    I bought tablets for my granddaughters recently. I was horrified this morning when my oldest granddaughter asked me what a message meant that had popped up on her tablet. When I looked at it, it was the reminder to pay my car note! I was completely ignorant of the fact that my calendar on my phone would show up on the kid's tablets or anywhere else. Please spare me any negative comments about my lack of tech savvy! Lol. I am well aware of it already. 😉 Has there been a breakthrough yet for your original query?

    1. Terence Eden says:

      If you go into "Settings" then "Applications" - you can usually disable the calendar and email. It doesn't stop a determined child from re-enabling them though!

      Check to see if your tablet has a "guest user" mode - that may help.

  7. sobsz says:

    You can prevent opening Settings (and thus re-enabling stuff) using an app such as App Lock. The only problem is that someone can boot the tablet to safe mode, making App Lock not run...

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