You may soon use multiple accounts on Android 14 for apps and services
Google engineers are testing a new Android 14 feature currently that allows users to use multiple accounts for apps and services. Called Clone Apps, it may be used to sign-in to apps using a second account.
Currently, Android users may sign-in using a single account in apps that they install on their devices. If multiple accounts are available, it either means switching accounts regularly, or using other means, such as signing-in using web browsers and web services. Some apps may support multiple accounts, but the majority do not, and there are third-party apps available that promise to clone apps already. Some manufacturers support app cloning as well.
XDA discovered the Clone Apps feature of Android 14. Unlike third-party solutions, this is a native implementation that promises to be more stable and problematic than these other solutions.
Android 14 users may see the new Cloned Apps menu under Settings > Apps on their devices. Note that Android 14 is in development, and that some features that are in testing currently may be pulled before the final reason.
The screenshot provided by XDA shows just three apps, Discord, Facebook and Telegram, which the author of the article had to enable using developer commands.
When users select the clone option for the first time, Android creates a cloned user profile in the background. This clone of the user profile is used to store application clones to separate them and their data from the main Android user profile.
All cloned apps need to be set up, as Android handles them like new application installs on the device. Cloned apps may be deleted at any time if they are no longer required.
XDA notes that the cloning of user profiles was introduced in Android 12, but that the feature could not be accessed directly on Android devices. Users had to run ADB commands to create a cloned profile and install apps using that profile.
Cloned apps are not differentiated currently by Android on the home screen or in launchers. Icons are identical, and there is a good chance that users launch the wrong app regularly. One way around this, at least until Google decides to create a distinguishing feature, is to sort them accordingly on the device.
Also, worth noting, is that the clone apps feature is not enabled by default in Android 14 test builds. It needs to be enabled using developer commands before it becomes available.
App cloning is a useful feature for Android users who want to run apps using multiple accounts on their devices. Think of a private and business account that need to be separated better. Native integration in Android will improve stability and reliability of the feature, and also limit other potential issues.
App cloning, for users, also means that they can better separate different accounts on the same Android device. It remains to be seen if app cloning will find its way into Android 14.
Now You: would you clone apps on your mobile devices?
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