Want to protect an Android device from harmful online content? You're in the right place! This guide will efficiently walk you through how to do so.

1. Download the Safe Surfer app

Once you have available the Android device you would like to protect, unlock it and tap the Google Play Store app. If you can't see the Play Store app, try looking inside the device's app drawer (that is, the app library). You can access the app drawer by going to the home screen and swiping from the middle of the display to the top. From the app drawer, you can scroll between pages by swiping left or right.

Once you have opened the Play Store app, tap the "Apps" menu on the bottom bar. Tap the search bar at the top, type "safe surfer", then tap the search icon on the keyboard.



Our app listing should be at the top of the search results. Tap the "Install" button.



2. Open the Safe Surfer app

The Safe Surfer app will appear inside the device's app drawer once it has been downloaded to the device. In the screenshot below, the app is on drawer page 4. Tap the icon to open the app.



3. Go through protection installation

Registration

Once you have opened the Safe Surfer app, tap the box next to "I agree" to acknowledge the presented information, then tap the "Get started" button. Enter a name for the device that you're protecting, then tap the "Next" button. Sign in with your Safe Surfer account (as a parent or accountability partner), then tap the "Next" button.



Once the device registration process has been completed, tap the "Finish" button.



Post-registration

When the app asks you "Who's using this device?", tap the "Protected person" option. After this, you can scroll and select from our list of categories that can be selected for blocking on this device. A category is blocked if the switch next to it is coloured red (as opposed to a grey switch signifying a category that is not blocked). If you would like to read details on what kind of content applies to any specific category, tap the three dot icon at the upper right, then tap "Show descriptions".

Once you have finished selecting categories, tap the "Next" button to proceed. Set a PIN code on the following page to protect the app from the disabling of protection. Once you have chosen a PIN, tap the "Confirm" button.



Tap the "OK" option to acknowledge the presented information in the prompt that comes up. Enter the PIN code you set previously (ignore the "Start protection" option). Tap the "Get protected" button.



4. Finalise protection

This device is now protected, but there's still a little more we need to do for the best experience.

Private DNS installation

If this device runs Android version 9 or newer, you should activate Private DNS (that is, encrypted Domain Name System) mode. This is a newer method of installation that gets Android to smartly enforce Safe Surfer protection via a link that talks with our servers. This system enables us to encrypt search and background requests made from this device, along with making the protection experience far more reliable.

If this device doesn't support Android 9 or newer, you won't see an option to enable Private DNS. Simply go through the alternate checklist (as pictured below) for the older protection experience.

Tap the "Enable always-on" option. Tap the checkbox next to "Enable Private DNS". Tap the "Copy" button. Tap the "Open" button.



Inside the Settings app, tap the "Connections" menu. Tap the "More connection settings" submenu. Tap the "Private DNS" submenu.



Tap the "Private DNS provider hostname" option. Tap the textbox line, long press it, then release to bring up the context menu. Tap the "Paste" option to insert the Private DNS link, then tap the "Save" option. A successful installation should look as per the second screenshot below (the full link appearing as a subtitle). Once you have done this part, go back several menus to return to the Safe Surfer app.



Prevent uninstallation

Back inside the Safe Surfer app, tap the "Stop uninstall" tab. Tap the checkbox next to "Enable device administrator", then tap the "OK" option to acknowledge the presented information in the prompt that comes up. Tap the "Activate" option. Back inside the Safe Surfer app, tap the checkbox next to "Stop uninstallation". Tap the "OK" option to acknowledge the presented information in the prompt that comes up.



Tap the "Installed apps" submenu. Tap the "Safe Surfer" listing. Tap the switch inside the bubble labeled "Off", whilst ignoring the switch inside the bubble labeled "Safe Surfer shortcut".



Tap the "Allow" option to acknowledge the permissions disclaimer. The switch should now be on. Once you have done this part, go back several menus to return to the Safe Surfer app. All the checkboxes should be ticked.

Our Android app code is open-source (publically reviewable online). We do not abuse these permissions.



The Safe Surfer app home should report that you are protected via Private DNS (with no further installation options left).



Verify that the filter installation is working by visiting ExampleAdultSite.com. This is a safe website designated for testing if pornographic sites are being blocked. This site should be blocked.



Protection complete

Congratulations! This device is now fully protected. If you have any other Android devices that you would like to protect, simply start again from the top of this guide.

If you would like to protect a different kind of device, view section 3 on our Protect My Devices article for more guides like this one.
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