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switch user accountsThere are countless ways to manage multiple user accounts. Recently, I explored 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts Many of us have multiple Gmail accounts to separate private email from work and projects. However, life is rarely linear and we often find ourselves going back and forth between different accounts. How do you... Read More . Apparently I neglected a few more methods, ones that not only work for your Google accounts, but for any user accounts that manage logins with cookies. Moreover, Google recently updated its multiple sign-in feature.

This article will bring you up to speed with and fill you in on several additional methods.

Re-Visiting Google’s Multiple Sign-In Feature

One of the most simple methods to switch between multiple Google accounts, Google’s multiple sign-in feature, received an upgrade shortly after my previous article 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts Many of us have multiple Gmail accounts to separate private email from work and projects. However, life is rarely linear and we often find ourselves going back and forth between different accounts. How do you... Read More was published. Google’s multiple sign-in feature allows you to access Gmail and other supported Google services with up to 10 different accounts within a single browser.

Before the revision, this feature had to be enabled separately for each account, which made it slightly cumbersome to set up. Now multiple sign-in is enabled by default, making the setup a lot more comfortable. Here is a brief run-through of how to now set it up:

  • Log into the Google account you want to make your default.
  • In the top right, click your email address.
  • In the drop-down menu that opens, click Add account.

switch user accounts

  • Clicking Add account will open a new tab or window, where you can log into your additional account.
  • Repeat this procedure to add all additional accounts you wish to use.

Your additional accounts will all be shown as a list in the drop-down menu shown above. You can use the list to switch between accounts. Note, however, that multiple sign-in doesn’t work for all of Google’s products. Also, signing out of one account will automatically sign out of all other accounts.

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Moreover, when you log into your account with another browser, or on another computer, or if you delete your browser cookies, you have to set up multiple sign-in again, as Google uses cookies to remember the accounts you have added.

More details can be found on the Google support page for multiple sign-in.

Chrome Incognito

In the previous post on this topic 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts Many of us have multiple Gmail accounts to separate private email from work and projects. However, life is rarely linear and we often find ourselves going back and forth between different accounts. How do you... Read More I showed you how to set up multiple profiles in Chrome to switch between different Gmail accounts. A quicker way to switch back and forth between two Google accounts, which does not involve setting up anything, is to use an Incognito window in Google Chrome. To launch an incognito window, use the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [N] or click the wrench icon (top right) and select New incognito window.

firefox user account control

Note using Chrome in Incognito mode only works for one additional account. If you want to switch between more, you have to use another method.

For more tips and tricks around Google Incognito, check out these articles:

Firefox does not offer an Incognito mode that works the same way. However, if you are already using the extension IE Tab, then know that you can use it much the same way as Google’s Incognito mode to sign into a second Google account. IE Tab is also available for Chrome, by the way. However, there are many better solutions for Firefox!

CookieSwap (Firefox)

The Firefox extension CookieSwap can help you swap cookies to switch back and forth between multiple profiles or accounts. This works for any user account that tracks logins through cookies. After installing the extension, it will show up in the bottom right of Firefox. Click it to manage your profiles or switch to another one. You can also remove cookies for the current or all profiles.

firefox user account control

Swap My Cookies (Chrome)

The equivalent to Firefox’s CookieSwap in Chrome is Swap My Cookies. Once installed, you will see the Swap My Cookies icon in the top right of Chrome, next to the wrench icon. Click it to manage and switch between different profiles.

firefox user account control

Do you have no idea what cookies are? Have a look at this article: How Do Websites Use Cookies? [Technology Explained] How Do Websites Use Cookies? [Technology Explained] How Do Websites Use Cookies? [Technology Explained] Read More

Multifox

Multifox existed long before Chrome introduced its multiple sign-in feature and it essentially does the exact same thing. When you have Multifox installed, you can open a new identity profile, by clicking the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [M] or by going through > Firefox > New Tab > New Identity Profile. The new window will show an identity number in the URL bar.

switch user accounts

We have previously covered Multifox in the MakeUseOf Directory.

And More

According to our readers, another method to switch between multiple accounts is Pokki. However, it depends that an app for the respective service (Facebook or Gmail) is available. Overall, I found this method a little far-fetched and not worth the effort, unless you are already using Pokki. We have written about it here: Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Add simple, productive apps to your Windows 7 taskbar. Pokki provides relevant information in a single click, then get back to your workflow. This program, which integrates into the Windows 7 taskbar, gives you just that... Read More

What other methods do you use to switch between multiple user accounts in Google and elsewhere? Let us know what we are missing out on!

Image credit: User Group Icon via Shutterstock

  1. Analyn Alonsagay
    June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I've been using swap cookies for chrome for I guest 8 or 10months, but I could use it now, I dont know what is the proble, please help huhuhu

    • Tina
      June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      What happens when you try to use it? Where or how does it fail to work? Might be worth posting a question on MakeUseOf Answers.

    • Analyn Alonsagay
      June 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Sorry for my typographical error,,:/ when Im trying to change to a new profile, it could'n switch :( .. lets say I am log-in to profile number 1, then I want to switch to profile number 2, it wont let me,,, I just delete it, and installed it again, now I am having a hard time bringing back to log in all my ID's ;( It also happened before that the swap cookies had some issues but after a 3 days it worked again, now it was almost a month since i did not use it.. Thanks for answering anyway..

  2. Victor Ong
    May 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    There is always (in chrome) the setting for a new user profile, in which a "new" chrome is created, in which the user can change all settings, independent of the other profiles.

    In firefox, it's a bit trickier. Create a shortcut to firefox, then add the switch -p to the end. When you click on this shortcut, it will show a dialog box asking which profile to use. The default profile should be the only one there, and you can add/remove profiles according to your needs.

    • Tina
      May 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Victor. I covered the Chrome profile option in a previous article mentioned in the introduction above. The Firefox profile manager trick is not very practical since you cannot open multiple profiles at the same time that way, hence it wasn't mentioned.

  3. Perspicacious
    May 3, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Regarding the multiple sign-in with Google. After Google switched its privacy policy around a few months ago, it was my understanding that it would aggregate information from various websites all signed into with that one Google account. But maybe I'm confused here.

    If not, though, will signing into multiple accounts in the manner you suggest allow Google to aggregate my GLBT nighttime identity with my daytime straight identity - or the like? And should I want to do that?

    • Tina
      May 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Hm, this is a really big question and someone could probably write an article about the implications.

      The new privacy policy covers all Google products/services. Not sure what this has to do with multiple accounts as the same policy is valid for any of these additional Google accounts.

      The thing is, if you are using the same browser to log into multiple accounts, Google probably already knows about your various identities, simply because login and other data are stored as cookies and cache files on your computer.

      The question whether you should be worried about Google knowing how your multiple identities connect is one that I cannot answer within a comment. I'm not even sure I can answer that for your at all.

    • Perspicacious
      May 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      It seems the point is that Google might know multiple identities are being used on the same computer - family, library computer, school computer, etc. - but that doesn't mean Google would want to lump profile data together from the various identities when the idea is to sell targeted ads (or that it would be legal under any circumstance to do so).

      But if I sign into multiple accounts in the manner you suggest, presumptively it is the same person since accounts are being used simultaneously. I can see some unpleasantness in that regard, particularly if there was some facet of my life I definitely wished to keep separate and distinct for my own reasons.

      In any event, if you don't know, it doesn't seem to be good advice to tell people to do this without also warning them of the limits of the repercussions if they follow your advice or at least mentioning that you don't know.

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