Create a custom multi-app kiosk mode

This week is all about creating a custom multi-app kiosk mode for Android Enterprise dedicated devices. The Android Enterprise dedicated device settings also contains multi-app kiosk settings, but in some scenarios those settings can still be a little bit limiting. To create a multi-app kiosk mode, Microsoft Intune relies on the Managed Home Screen app. The fun part is that the Managed Home Screen app already contains a few more settings that are currently only available via app configuration policies. In this post I’ll start with a quick overview of the app configuration options that exist nowadays, followed by showing an app configuration example for the Managed Home Screen app to add a non-Managed Google Play Store app. Technically speaking I’ll add a single app, using the multi-app configuration option. Really adding multiple apps is more of the same. I’ll end this post by showing the end-user experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that the preferred and advised method to configure multi-app kiosk mode settings is still by using the dedicated device settings.

App configuration options

Let’s start this post by having a look at the app configuration options that are available nowadays. In the early days it was still required to manually configure configuration keys and values. These days Intune can prepopulate configuration keys that are available within the Android apps. Below is a quick overview of the 2 app configuration options that are available :

Configuration designer: The Configuration designer can be used to configure simple settings via the UI. It will automatically populate the available configuration keys within the app and allows the administrator to configure the simple configuration values. As long as the value type is not BundleArray
MSH-ConfigurationDesigner
JSON data: The JSON data can be used to configure all settings via a JSON template. The template will automatically populate the available configuration keys within the app and allows the administrator to configure all the configuration values.

MHS-JSONEditor

Configure the Managed Home Screen app

Now the app configuration options are clear. Let’s have a look at the app configuration of the Managed Home Screen app. As an example I want to use a setting that is only configurable via JSON data, as the value type is a BundleArray. That setting is to add (custom non-Managed Google Play Store) apps to the Managed Home Screen app. The following 3 steps walk through the process of creating an app configuration policy that enables the built-in Settings app to the multi-app kiosk mode.

1 Open the Azure portal and navigate to Microsoft Intune > Client apps > App configuration policies to open the Client apps – App configuration policies blade;
2 On the Client apps – App configuration policies blade, click Add to open the Add configuration policy blade;
3a

MHS-AddConfigPolicyOn the Add configuration policy blade, provide the following information and click Add;

  • Name: Provide a valid name
  • Description: (Optional) Provide a valid description
  • Device enrollment type: Select Managed devices
  • Platform: Select Android
  • Associated app: See step 3b
  • Configuration settings: See step 3c
  • Permissions: See step 3d

Note: The main focus of this post is the configuration around the configuration settings (step 3c). That doesn’t mean that the permission configuration (step 3d) can’t be really useful when the app needs specific permissions. As it’s not the key part of this post, I won’t go into to much details for now.

3b

On the Associated app blade, select Managed Home Screen and click OK to return to the Add configuration policy blade;

Note: When the Managed Home Screen app is not available make sure that that the app is approved and synchronized with Intune.

3c

On the Configuration settings blade, select Enter JSON data with Configuration settings format. Now either click Download JSON template, for offline editing, or use the JSON editor to directly configured the required configuration keys. Before clicking on OK to return to the Add configuration policy blade, go through the following 3 steps (see also the screenshot below):

  1. Navigate to the applications configuration key to add the required apps for the custom multi-app kiosk mode. In my example, I add the Settings app (com.android.settings) to my multi-app kiosk mode. The valueString should be the app package name. To add another app simply copy the complete managedProperty and adjust the valueString.
  2. To be able to save the configuration, make sure to change all the values that need to be configured and still state something like STRING_VALUE. When a setting is not needed it can also be removed.
  3. The red areas on the scrollbar show the locations of values that must be adjusted or removed before the configuration can be saved.

Note: Make sure that the settings in the app configuration policy don’t overlap with settings in the dedicated device configuration.

MHS-JSONEditor-Config
3d On the Permissions blade, click Add to open the Add permissions blade. The Add permissions blade can be used select permissions that should be overridden. Select the required permissions and click OK to return to the Permissions blade and click OK to return to the Add configuration policy blade.

Note: At some point in time these configuration options will probably become available in the multi-app kiosk mode settings for dedicated devices.

End-user experience

Let’s end this post by having a look at the end-user experience. When the device is enrolled and the assigned apps are installed, the device will ask to select a home screen app (the message will actually show after the installation of the Managed Home Screen app). After selecting the Managed Home Screen app, the home screen will show as configured in the app configuration policy.

As shown on the right, I only get the Settings app (Instellingen is the Dutch version of Settings) as app on my home screen. That’s exactly what I wanted. Also, I configured a blue theme and I removed nearly all the other options from the end-user.

Note: The experience might be different from the configuration via the dedicated device settings. The main difference might be that in some cases the end-user might receive a message to configure a home screen app. So make sure to carefully test the end-user experience, to see if it matches the expectations.

Screenshot_20190721-195426

More information

For more information about configuring the Managed Home Screen app, please refer to the documentation about Configure the Microsoft Managed Home Screen app for Android Enterprise .

2 thoughts on “Create a custom multi-app kiosk mode”

  1. have you had any joy assigning compliance policies to these kiosk devices. I am testing this at the moment and have purchased the Intune device license. It seems as though Compliance checks are not included though as although they assign they never run?

  2. Hi Christian,
    Haven’t looked at that yet. For fully managed devices the new Microsoft Intune app is introduced, but according to the docs that’s only for fully managed devices. Also, what are you trying to achieve?
    Regards, Peter

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