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android multiple users
Tablets running Android 4.2 Top 12 Jelly Bean Tips For A New Google Tablet Experience Top 12 Jelly Bean Tips For A New Google Tablet Experience Android Jelly Bean 4.2, initially shipped on the Nexus 7, provides a great new tablet experience that outshines previous versions of Android. It even impressed our resident Apple fan. If you have a Nexus 7,... Read More support multiple user accounts. User accounts work just like they do on a PC — each account has its own apps, settings, and other data. If you share your tablet with another person, you can use user accounts to allow each person to have their own environment — including the launcher setup, Google account sync, and other settings. This helps give each of you more privacy when you’re using your tablet, and also allows each of you to log in with your own Google account and see only your own email and other data.

This feature is easy to set up if you have an Android 4.2 device. It’s a useful feature not found in Apple’s competing iPad, making it easy to leave a tablet lying around and share it with your significant other, children, or anyone else. Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows RT Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More tablets also have multiple user accounts — Apple’s iPad is the only device that hasn’t caught up.

Note that Android 4.2 does not offer multiple user accounts on smartphones, only on tablets.

Creating Multiple User Accounts on Android 4.2

To get started, open the Settings screen on your Android tablet and tap the Users option under the Device category. If you don’t see this option, your device isn’t running Android 4.2 or above.

android multiple users

Tap the Add User button at the top of the screen to create a new account.

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Note that the first user you already set up on the tablet is considered the “owner.” They have the ability to delete any user’s space from the tablet, while other users can only delete their own spaces.

android multiple gmail accounts

You’ll see an informational message about user accounts. If the other person who will use the account is nearby, you can hand them the tablet and they can begin the setup process by entering their Google account and other information. They’ll go through a setup process just as they would when setting up a new Android tablet. If the other person isn’t nearby, you can leave the user account alone and they’ll be able to go through the set up process the first time they log in.

android multiple gmail accounts

Using Multiple User Accounts

Once you have multiple user accounts enabled, you can switch between them by tapping the icons at the bottom of Android’s lock screen. if the user has a PIN or password set, they’ll need it to log into their account — this prevents unauthorized people from accessing the user’s account.

To “log out,” simply lock the tablet’s screen or allow it to time out as normal — from the lock screen, other people can switch to their user account and sign in.

android multiple users

Only three users can be “active” at a time. Active user accounts will sync in the background, so every user’s email and other data will always be ready when they go to use the device. If you have four accounts, the least recently used user will be considered “inactive” — the three accounts used most recently will be considered active accounts and will sync.

You can manage user accounts — changing icons, renaming them, deleting accounts, and creating new accounts — from the Users screen in Settings. You can also set an “owner info” message that will appear on the lock screen from here.

But I Don’t Have Android 4.2!

Let’s say you have a tablet running Android 4.1 or older and you really want multiple user accounts. You have some options, but they’ll all probably cause you problems.

  • Android 4.1 contains a hidden multi-user feature that can be enabled with root access. However, we don’t recommend this — Google has said the feature was disabled for a reason in Android 4.1 and it will likely cause problems if you enable and use it. It’s an unfinished feature in Android 4.1.
  • SwitchMe is an app that purports to add multiple user accounts to any device running Android 2.1 or later. Your tablet will need to be rooted How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick Read More to do this. The app has mixed reviews. Let’s be honest — this app is a dirty hack over Android and will likely cause you problems. The experience is not as smooth, and reviews indicate that you’ll have to reboot each time you change user profiles.

We don’t recommend using any of the above tricks. If your tablet is still running Android 4.1 or older, you may want to try looking for an installing a community-developed custom ROM How To Find & Install a Custom ROM For Your Android Device How To Find & Install a Custom ROM For Your Android Device One of the great things about Android is that the operating system isn't stuck on just one device - you can find it on all sorts of gadgets from multiple manufacturers. Another beautiful feature about... Read More (like Cyanogenmod How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More ) that will bring Android 4.2 to your device and give you multiple user accounts without any dirty hacks.

Do you use multiple user accounts on your Android tablet? Do you have any other tips and tricks to recommend? leave a comment below and let us know!

  1. GrannyP
    August 27, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    My tablet is running on android 4.4.2 but I don't have the option to tap on user, there is no option to tap on. Anyone know why this is?

  2. Sam Heitmanek
    July 19, 2016 at 4:24 am

    My girlfriend logged herself in first when I brought it home so she is considered to be the Owner. However I bought it and I would like to have the ownership rights and options bestowed to the owner. How can I make myself the owner and her a user?

  3. Mike
    June 16, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I've Android 5.01 - How do you get the start screen where one can select the user (see the last screenshot above, with the padlock).

    I have a PIN for the owner (me) and no PIN for the guest.

    Got to drag an invisible bar at the top of the screen to make the icon for the guest user visible, click on that to switch to the guest.
    My tablet then switches off and I've got to power it on again to get to the user.
    It would be nice if there was a screen (like the above) at first launch.

    =

  4. Susanna Glassford
    May 30, 2016 at 1:10 am

    My tablet is running on android 4.4.2 but I don't have the option to tap on user. Because there is no option to tap on. Anyone know why this is. Thanks

  5. Randy poindexter
    December 8, 2015 at 6:33 am

    My girlfriend gave me this tablet I can sign in using her gmail does this mean she can monitor all my activity

  6. Huma Paari
    June 5, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I have Samsung Tab A, 5.02 andriod version, but there is no option of users in the setting. What's the issue?

  7. Yiftos
    May 6, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Can you re-assign the owner status to a different account?

    • Sam Heitmanek
      July 19, 2016 at 4:29 am

      Have you got the answer yet? I left a comment: My girlfriend logged herself in first when I brought it home so she is considered to be the Owner. However I bought it and I would like to have the ownership rights and options bestowed to the owner. How can I make myself the owner and her a user?

      Please email me if u know how yet. Heitmaneksam@gmail.com

      Thanks!

    • Sam Heitmanek
      July 19, 2016 at 4:29 am

      My girlfriend logged herself in first when I brought it home so she is considered to be the Owner. However I bought it and I would like to have the ownership rights and options bestowed to the owner. How can I make myself the owner and her a user?

  8. snowboots
    October 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    The first thing I did when I got my 4.2 tablet was set up a restricted"guest" account. Anyone wanting to use my tablet to look something up, read, watch a movie... Feel free. Anything more than that.. Get your own!

  9. Kat
    September 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I also have the Sero 7 Pro running 4.2.1 but no "user" option in settings. If I could just figure out how to remove the current "owner's" name, and put mine instead, I would be happy. This used to be my husbands tablet, but he gave it to me, and I can't get his name off.

  10. Joost
    August 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I have 4 users on my tablet, but cannot add a fifth one; the button 'add user' simply isn't there anymore! Is it correct that there is a maximum of 4 users?

    • Kat
      September 10, 2013 at 4:29 am

      I believe most actually only allow 3 users, so your tablet must be a step ahead of most ???? ????

  11. Steen Toennesen
    July 18, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I just upgraded my tablet to 4.2.2 and I don't have the 'Users' option, so you're not quite right. I believe there is a system parameter that needs to be changed - that was what I was looking for here.

    • Freitas Family
      August 28, 2013 at 1:48 am

      I m facing same issue, after updating to 4.2.2 using kies, users option is not available. Could you solve?

    • Mo
      September 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      I don't think multiple profiles are supported on all tablets running 4.2.2. I know for a fact that my Galaxy Tab 2, 7 inch doesn't support this feature. What a bummer...

    • Steen Toennesen
      September 9, 2013 at 6:14 am

      I think the multi user feature is always available in 4.2.2, but not necessarily enabled. I have seen something about setting a parameter 'maxusers ?' to the number of users you want. If default is zero in some versions of 4.2.2 then you won't have the 'users' showing up in settings. To change the parameter you need to have 'root' access, which I have not yet been game to attempt. There is a new version of 4.2.2 available for my Onda 801 tablet, but have not installed it yet - may have multiple users enabled. Suggest you ask at the support center for your specific models.

  12. gv
    July 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

    i have a hisense sero 7 pro with android 4.2.1 and i cant see "users" in the settings

  13. Kannon Yamada
    May 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Nice! There's actually a set-top device aimed specifically at the multi-user Android experience. I believe it's in kickstarter mode right now, and I doubt it'll take off, but it's definitely worth looking at:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2102024857/miipc-power-to-the-parents

    It's actually a really good looking product.

    Also, there's multi-user support for the Modaco Toolkit now:

    http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/05/14/modaco-toolkit-enables-easy-multi-user-support-for-rooted-phones-running-android-4-2/

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Interesting. I really don't like the idea of an Android-based PC, though -- we need real multitasking with multiple windows!

      Very interesting about enabling the support on smartphones. Rumor is it's not enabled on Android 4.2 smartphones (only tablets) because Nokia owns a patent on that. Patents ruin everything yet again.

    • Kannon Yamada
      May 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      I agree.

      However, the Paranoid Android team is working on developing a multi-window mode AND a tablet mode - so with our N4s we can do 720p out (wirelessly) and run multiple windows off it. That's true multi-tasking!

  14. macwitty
    May 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

    No, I do not use it but have been thinking about to start. Would be nice to have an account with podcast, video, etc to prevent others from accessing my documents and email accounts when they want to watch. Have to found out if it is possible to share space between the accounts nd not have to download it twice

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      App packages are shared between accounts, but other data isn't (so if both people install a 100MB game, only 100MB of space is used for it, not 200MB).

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