Reply To: Android 9 setup (+ auto start with pin)
My reply seemed to not go through. It is possible it will still go through eventually, so apologies for any double posts.
Here is a tip for Android users out there. A much more robust solution and not too difficult to setup. The approach is to go the route of device policy management. In this instance you do not need any enterprise hosted solutions, but only the Test DPC app (https://github.com/googlesamples/android-testdpc). It can be downloaded from the Play Store. It is basically an app provided by Google to help developers see how their apps work in the context of a restricted device. It is also an app to showcase the latest in Android Enterprise management.
Install and provision Test DPC as a device owner. This will give you more control over restrictions. If you do not want to wipe your device before provisioning, you can use adb to programmatically set Test DPC as device owner. See the GitHub link above for instructions.
Set profile settings within Test DPC app as desired
Lock usage of Test DPC app through a robust app locker. This step insures your settings made within Test DPC cannot be changed.The app locker needs to to prevent the user from removing it as an admin app after that access has been granted. Truple Web Filter for example prevents this change once the filter has been enabled.
As you can see from the list of some of the useful settings below, this approach is more akin to hardening than a simple app locker app that likely has many workarounds. Big tech companies obviously are addressing parental controls as an afterthought, but where they are focusing their efforts is on enterprise. That is where the money is. Fortunately for us, many of the features developed for enterprise are exactly what a parent or individual is looking for in order to harden their devices against unwanted content and workarounds. Now the trick is for us consumers to voice our desire to have some of these features packaged in a more consumer friendly format. We may never see that request fulfilled, but tech savvy individuals can make due with using enterprise technologies in a consumer/home environment.
An additional approach well beyond the scope of the Test DPC app is for those that are SUPER tech savvy would be to fork your own version of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Many of the enterprise configurations can be baked directly into the operating system through the use of configuration files. This would provide consumers a potentially simpler way to get devices that are hardened out of the box against undesired content as well as prevent circumvention of restrictions which come in a variety of ways unknown to most parents and individuals. Just some musings and tips here!
Here is a list of some useful settings to use in the Test DPC app (not their exact names):
Block UNinstallation of select apps
block INstallation of any app
block INstallation of third party apps and APKs
enforce private DNS settings (CleanBrowsing)
block System WebView if you use want to use a restricted browser without workarounds (installing a new WebView is possible, but technically challenging)
block VPN usage
disable ADB debugging and developer settings
prevent factory resetting of device
block app stores (not necessarily needed if you already block installation of apps)
prevent multi user support and new user creation
disallow safe mode
suspend or hide certain apps you want to keep on the device but only use temporarily when unlocking restrictions through Test DPC.