There was a time when it was practically expected to discover that someone owned two phones. On that level, the necessity to keep personal and professional life distinct still persists in this age of dual SIM phones, especially since mobile apps don’t always support managing multiple accounts.
Different manufacturers have used various and inconsistent approaches. Still, it appears that Google is creating the framework for several copies of some programs to be installed on the same Android user profile.
Sometimes you want to use the same software or service for several accounts or use cases. Some apps, such as Twitter, Gmail, and Telegram, allow you to log in and move between multiple accounts. Most, however, do not, and users are sometimes forced to seek solutions, sometimes by installing a third-party and occasionally possibly hazardous program.
Manufacturers including Samsung, OnePlus, and Xiaomi offers “Dual Messenger” functionality limited to a select group of chat apps. Some devices feature a secure mode or subdirectory where they can run distinct versions of any installed software, but users must authenticate each time they transition between apps. Finally, Android supports a separate “work profile,” which is challenging to set up and utilize.
XDA’s Mishaal Rahman discovered hints about a “Clone profile” in Android 12, something that could enable app cloning on an OS level rather than resorting to workarounds.
It may even enable three instances of the same software rather than simply two, making it even better than existing alternatives. This could be the final nail in the coffin for one OEM tweak, making bespoke Android experiences lighter and easier to upgrade.
Unfortunately, much of the Clone profile feature is still a mystery, and some aren’t even usable. It might just be the foundation for a future Android that makes it easier for users to manage many digital personas and roles on the same device.