4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

Tina Sieber 21-03-2012

manage multiple gmail accountsMany of us have to manage 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 best do this without having to continuously log in and out? In this article, I will explore 4 ways to address this issue, moving from simple to more advanced solutions.


1. Run Multiple Browsers Simultaneously

To log into two or three different Gmail accounts, you could simply run two or three different browsers, each with a different user account logged in. This is the most simple and straightforward way to do it that doesn’t require a special setup, with the exception that you need to have multiple browsers installed on your computer.

manage multiple gmail accounts

2. Switch Between Accounts Using Gmail’s Multiple Sign-In Feature

Google supports multiple sign-ins, meaning you can sign into multiple Google accounts within a single browser. Here is a brief summary:

  • Go to your account settings.
  • Under the header Security, click Edit next to the multiple sign-in feature.
  • Select On and select each of the check boxes to confirm you understand how multiple sign-in works.
  • Click Save.

You have to do this for all the accounts that you want to switch back and forth between. Once that is done, you can use the feature like this:

  • Click the little arrow next to your Google profile picture in the top right and select Switch account.
  • Click Sign in to another account
  • A new window or tab will open where you can sign in.
  • Next time you want to open that same account, you can simply select it form the list of accounts that is shown after clicking Switch account (see screenshot below).

multiple gmail accounts


3. Set Up Different Users In Google Chrome

Gmail’s Multiple Sign-In feature works in any browser. If your favorite browser is Chrome, however, there is an even better alternative. Chrome allows you to set up different users, linked to different Google accounts.

  • Click the wrench icon and select Options.
  • To to Personal Stuff and under the header Users click Add new user.
  • This will open a new window with a Google account login.

An icon is assigned to each user, visible in the top left of the Chrome window. This is how you will be able to tell the different browser sessions and accounts apart. To customize the icon and the account name, you can go through Options and then edit the respective user.

Alternatively, you can click on the icon in the browser and select edit. This also allows you to switch between different users within one Chrome window.

multiple gmail accounts


This feature was in our news when it was first released in late December 2011 – Google Chrome Can Now Sync Multiple Browsing Profiles [News] Google Chrome Can Now Sync Multiple Browsing Profiles [News] Do you often use Chrome’s ability to sync all your bookmarks, extensions, apps, etc. across computers? It’s a pretty handy option which lets you use your own configuration of Chrome anywhere you go. But what... Read More

4. Add Email Accounts & Aliases To Your Main Gmail Account

The above solutions are really just a workaround to a complex challenge. The most thorough and advanced way of managing multiple email accounts, is to set them all up under a single account. Here is a brief overview of how it works:

  • In Gmail, go to Settings and open the Accounts tab.
  • Under Check mail using POP3 click Add a POP3 mail account you own.
  • During the setup process, also choose to use the respective email address as an alias.
  • You can add aliases manually: Under Send mail as click Add another email address you own.
  • Once you are checking mails from different accounts, create labels for these accounts and set up the Gmail Labs feature Multiple Inboxes.

manage multiple gmail accounts

The following articles can give you more information on this topic:


You might also want to learn how to free up storage space in your Gmail account 3 Ways To Free Up Storage Space In Your Gmail Account Google Mail currently offers 7,679 MB of free storage. For the average user, that is enough space to last a lifetime. But what if you run out of storage space nevertheless? How can you find... Read More and sort your Gmail inbox by sender, subject, and label How to Sort Your Gmail Inbox by Sender, Subject, and Label There's an essential secret to managing Gmail: learn how to sort your Gmail inbox with filters like subject, sender, and labels. Read More . And if you’re still new to Gmail, don’t miss out on our beginner’s guide to Gmail The Beginner's Guide to Gmail You may already have a Gmail account. Or, you're thinking about signing up for one. This guide has everything you need to make the most of that shiny new Gmail account. Read More !

Related topics: Desktop Email Client, Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. MarkCM
    December 30, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Why is this totally out of date and useless page still up?

    • Tina Sieber
      December 30, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Because what we do is publish articles. And we've been doing so since 2006. Selectively unpublishing doesn't provide any direct benefits. However, we are occasionally updating old articles.

      • MarkCM
        December 30, 2016 at 9:30 am

        Thank you for the swift explanation. It's up to generate money. Accuracy is irrelevant but occasionally considered. Got it. :)

        • Tina Sieber
          December 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm

          It's not like accuracy is irrelevant, but with a team of less than 40 writers, it's impossible to constantly monitor and update over forty thousand (40k) articles published since 2006. We have to prioritize based on reader interest. Besides, all articles come with a publishing date, which signals to the reader how up-to-date they are.

          We aim to deliver highly accurate articles, but of course each article will eventually be outdated. Just like newspapers and magazines are eventually outdated...sometimes the next day.

  2. Katie Semanek
    August 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I was issued a new gmail account today. When I signed in, everything is fine. I am able to access everything. But when I close my browser and reopen it, I cannot see the new account email. All I see is my old one. So I click "sign in with different account", "add account", and then I enter the information again. How do I get it to save the email address on the first page instead of clicking "sign in with a different account"? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 17, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hi Katie,

      Let me repeat your challenge: Although the last Gmail account you used is your new account, you are auto-logged into your old account after you restart your browser.

      This sounds strange, but here is what I think you did: You were logged into your old account and added the new account without actually logging out. This way, your old account became the default account, which your browser still auto-logs into.

      Here is what you can do to change your default account. Completely log out of Gmail / Google. Then log in with your desired main / default account (the new one?), click your profile image in the top right, click Add account, and add your secondary account (the old one?). In this scenario, your new account will be your default and you can switch to your old account via your profile image in the top right.

      Hope this helps. Do let us know!

  3. justin
    June 20, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    If one gmail account is hacked and compromised, does that mean the other one compromised too?

    • Tina Sieber
      June 20, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Not necessarily, unless they are otherwise connected (email forwards etc.). Do enable two-factor authentication for Gmail.

  4. Michelle Stanley
    May 13, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I just want my bookmarks to be different for each gmail account I have, how do I do this?

    • Tina Sieber
      May 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Your browser bookmarks? You set up different users in Chrome and switch between users. Each user has their own set of bookmarks.

  5. David
    April 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I always had two gmail bookmarks in my menu bar, linking to separate gmail accounts

    Then today the behaviour Cynthia described began: the links started linking to the same account, whatever I did.

    But I *think* the following was the key.

    In tab 1, open one gmail account

    In tab 2, open the other

    Note: both accounts are open together

    Now drag first address to menu bar; then the second.

    That seemed to work; perhaps the important thing is that both accounts are open at the same time.

    I think before I had been opening one account under tab 1; then dragging to bar; then opening the second account on the same tab; then dragging. That doesn't work (for me).

    Hope that helps -- not certain it will.

    • Tina Sieber
      April 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you for sharing your solution, David!

  6. Anonymous
    March 11, 2016 at 4:18 am

    I was trying to figure out the same thing because too and I just figured it out. Basically if you're logged into multiple accounts, let's say 2 gmail accounts simultaneously, clicking on a bookmark would just default to the first (default) gmail and would need a few clicks to switch. But for bookmarks look for "u/0" denoting first account and "u/1" denothing 2nd account etc...

    So for example I prefer my gmail to go to the all mail tab and set 2 bookmarks (each just icons with no name to save on bookmark real estate). So the links for each are

    I was worried this wouldn't work on other services but looks like google did apply it. So here's a few more.
    Google Drive

    Google Photos

  7. Michael
    February 6, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Method #4, above, may very well be......"The most thorough and advanced way of managing multiple email accounts......", as the author says, but does it work for multiple GMAIL accounts???? Or just Hotmail or other webmail accounts?

  8. Michael
    February 6, 2016 at 2:46 am

    Cynthia's concerns about Google/Gmail "mixing up" her two accounts are complicated by things other than just Bookmarking.

    I own THREE different gmail accounts that I set up using three Google accounts (and I haven't Bookmarked any of them) and yet other "features" get confused just as badly.

    For example:
    If I am using only ONE of my three accounts and decide I want to look at my Contacts to, perhaps make a call instead of send an email, when I click on the Contacts drop-down under the Gmail heading in the top-left corner of the page......the Contacts page that opens MIGHT be the one that goes with the "current" account, or it may go with one of the other two accounts.

    Also, if I click on the "Email this page" icon to send a Chrome page I'm interested in sharing to a friend, the Gmail account that opens may or may not be the one related to my Google/Chrome sign-on.....and similarly, the person I want to send the page to may not be in that Gmail acct.

    There has to be a universal method to keep these accounts separate and apart from each other and not get their various and sundry add-ons and extensions confused with each other.

    Anybody know what it is?

    Someone from Gmail Help suggested I might have to CLEAR CACHE after every login......but that's not an acceptable solution. I'm concerned that the methods described above may be out of date, since in #3, there is mention of "the wrench".....which we all no doesn't exist any more.

  9. jennilc
    January 15, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Can someone answer Cynthia M.'s question please? I, too, want to be able to bookmark multiple Gmail accounts and access them when clicking on the bookmark. What happens is that when I click on one with the other open, the bookmark for the second one directs me to the FIRST one...Clear as mud?

  10. Cynthia M.
    December 10, 2015 at 1:34 am

    I have two GMAIL accounts for different purposes. Previously, I've been able to sign into and save each account under a separate bookmark in the bookmark bar.

    Now, however, Google keeps mashing the two accounts together. I can't seem to be logged into both accounts at the same time. So when I log into one account, both bookmarks bring up that account. When I log into the other account, both bookmarks change to that account. I'm getting tired of this hassle with something that used to work perfectly--another example of change for the worse instead of better.

  11. Anonymous
    September 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    IS this all still accurate?

    i have chrome (x86 currenty v45 on netbook, using a user a/c that's not signed in...)
    my main machine is a dell xps, running native virtualisation so I run chrome x64 portable (not sure what v)

    the article suggests I can have multiple browser-instances open, an manage my multiple chrome/gmail accounts- that's my first problem. my experience is that (unless i'm sandboxing chrome with, erm, Sandboxie) I'm always only currently logged in to one chrome a/c... must try that multiple accounts thing.

    my 2nd concern is, if I login with either unsynced chrome a/c, what happens with bookmarks/extensions? does the a/c i'm logging into inherit any on the client? is the client local profile updated with all extensions and bookmrks??

    lots of duplicate application data. status: solution unidentifed.

    ps q3: what's the relationship between chome user a/c's and gmail accounts?
    is is just that they can be linked?

  12. Anonymous
    August 11, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Sorry I forget to say that YES it'd be completely Legal/harmless-for-you.

    G00gle doesN't care about this because who pay are the advertisers. More traffic, more money to every one. Except advertisers,, who cares..

    I heard about BSEO techniques to multiple accept an advert so make the keywords go up on price for competition in auctions.

  13. Anonymous
    August 11, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Hi, When I come to this post I didn't minded the actual question, what is interesting too.

    What I'm looking for is an app or similar that simulate having multiple browsers open at Same time, managing all pass together to allow 1-click-go-in to multiple login At Time, But Not Mixing cookies, and you can locate or configure to point the 'post' part related to 'comments' (or likes or even subscribe) to the app so you can perform the multiple action from app in your channels all at time.

    This way anyone can have the capability to manage the 200 youtube channels allowed to a every single phone number (4 acc / 50 channels each), so for example you can set a loop and make your 'auto-bots' giving thousand likes to a desired account or even a single targeted video.

    Also it'd be a 200 subscribers at 1 click distance for anyone that require that service.

    I know 200 is nothing but

    AFAIK It is possible to have more than a phone number so, that mean this 'gap' is Endless while they don't know same person/group aren't owning the different phone numbers behind the accounts.

    Sad is I don't know coding, but actually I seen a program that if get modify could work for this. It name is Vertex coded by buddah, but was made with different purposes.

    With that I think anyone could make some money, the point is to aim a number like 10.000 channels with the time and I'm quite sure it's a service that could be hired.

    Bye Tina.

  14. Josh
    January 26, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Your screen shots are from before Google destroyed gmail with that fugly new interface. Man do I miss the better looking gmail!

  15. Nishant Thakur
    December 27, 2014 at 5:59 am

    I would recommend Mailbird. It has a clean UI and looks so professional. I am using it for my business. Mailbird gives three email accounts free and they have a very affordable premium plan. And, if you refer them to your friends, you can get the pro membership free of cost.

  16. Pete
    September 14, 2012 at 3:27 am

    thanks tina! your article really helps. i had been using multiple browsers for multiple gmail accounts. don't have to do that anymore!!

  17. Amit Shaw
    September 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Just Awesome. Currently i am using almost 8+ GMail Account. Now Its just awesome for me.

    • Tina
      September 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Amit. Glad this article could help you!

      • Bradley
        September 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm

        If I want put my separate email address under my Apple Mail application, it seems to allow me to access all my gmail accounts
        from my desktop and iphone. Do you see any downside to
        me doing this?

        • Tina
          September 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm

          In that case, you would employ IMAP or POP to view your email using a third party application, instead of viewing it online. There are some drawbacks.

          First, you are also leaving the webmail interface and are hence giving up native Gmail features.
          Second, you have to set up the third party application.
          Third, your new interface and setup are not automatically accessible anywhere, but only on the device/s where you set it up.

          So it's just a little more complicated than keeping everything online. Personally, I found that no third party application can rival Gmail's native features. For me it's just move convenient to use Gmail's webmail client, rather than a desktop client.

  18. linus christopherson
    September 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I'm not sure I understand all the work being put into managing multiple accounts- simply get a free program (like ccleaner from piriform,) and with two clicks all of your temporary data (cookies included) are cleared. Then, reopen your browser, and log into your other google account. You could even use Ctrl+Shift+Del in Chrome, clear your cookies from there, and log into your new account without the use of any additional programs.

    • Tina
      September 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm


      Some people don't want to clean all of their cookies because they want login information for other sites, e.g. Facebook or Twitter, to be stored. Besides, restarting the browser simply is a hassle!

      You can, however, use browser addons to switch between different sets of cookies. This will also work for other sites where you have multiple accounts. I actually wrote another article on that: 5 Ways To Switch Between Multiple User Accounts In Firefox & Chrome

  19. zmtiger
    August 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I may be taking this in a different direction than intended, but here goes...

    I opted to try solution 4. Add Email Accounts & Aliases To Your Main Gmail Account. This seems to work fine for sending mail as an alias (me at instead of my personal account (me at I have heard others speak at length about the benefits of getting through email using gmail's web interface and keyboard shortcuts (Merlin Mann).

    My problem arises when meeting requests are received and sent. When using the Google Calendar interface I can see no way to use an alias address (me at to send the meeting request. If I attach a meeting request to an email (using gmail) selecting the alias 'from' account. Replies accepting the meeting are sent to the main gmail (me at account.

    I have looked at some of the boards to no avail. Google suggests separating email accounts to make the calendaring feature work.!category-topic/calendar/sharing-and-inviting/NZKP-Toxz-U%5B1-25%5D

    • Tina
      August 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for the input and research effort! I haven't come across this issue myself as I'm not using meeting invitations/requests via Google Calendar.

  20. iyanu
    July 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

    any time i try 2 check my gmail on a computer ,it do say incorrect password or username.pls wat can i do?

  21. phani
    July 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

    fantastic concept

  22. Max
    June 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Great article; however, I still cannot find a way to send a message without being on first account's behalf. For example, I have 2 Gmail accounts connected together and when I want to send a message using second email while being logged on to the first one, it will send it on the first account's behalf. Is there a work around that? If not, then it is really pointless syncing two emails together...

    • Tina
      June 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm


      Have you added the second account's email address under > Settings > Accounts and Import > Send mail as?

      If it was added there, you can send email as if it was sent from the second account, even if you are logged in with the first. You can even set custom signatures.

  23. GR
    June 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    just use thunderbird :P

  24. Zitoun
    May 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Still haven't found something better than Firefox + Gmail manager...
    - checks mail regularly for every account, display mail with a blue icon instead of read + nb of unread mails for each account
    - one click on the icon corresponding to an account logs you automatically to gmail with this account.

    You can't have two simultaneous sessions with different accounts, as gmail won't allow this. But this behavior is all I need.

  25. Microsoft Office Professional 2010 Product Key
    May 11, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I'm hoping you write again very soon!

  26. Jessica
    May 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I have tried the multiple sign in, but when I try to use Blogger, it makes me sign out of the one I don't use w/ it. ANNOYING. I've also set up account b to get pushed to account a, but I have yet to have mail actually forwarded. Also annoying. Haven't tried the multiple users in Chrome, though. I'll have to do that...

  27. jamster
    May 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Yeh, I had read this. Just didn't want to associate my work account with my, personal one, but our administrator said it would not be a problem. I am still having random log out issues, but part of the problem is a double check security feature that they added. My personal gmail account did get hacked around the first of the year, but I only had seven contacts, so it wasn't catastrophic. You really seem to be on top of things here. I'll try to keep checking back. Kudos

  28. Jamber
    May 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Either Google, or my work account manager made a change today where logging in to multiple accounts is no longer an option. I gave up on Chrome and went back to Firefox around the first of the year for other reasons. Is it time to return to Chrome? I hope not. If anyone else has worked through this particular problem, any help would be appreciated.

    • Tina
      May 2, 2012 at 6:40 am


      Google did make some changes, but the multiple sign-in is still available. The instructions above are just outdated. See here for the new way to enable and use it.

  29. 77
    April 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    You might want to actually know what your talking about as there is no double user entry in security settings. I am so tired of people who don't know what they are talking about to post things that are wrong.

    • Tina
      April 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

      77, my article was accurate at the time when it was published. Google has since changed the multiple sign-in feature, which is why the option to enable multiple sign-in was removed from account settings.
      To see how you can now use the multiple sign-in feature, please have a look at these instructions from Google.

  30. PS
    April 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    No mention of EverDesk?

    All the functionality of Google, including mail, calendar and docs, and allows working with multiple Google accounts simultaneously, alongside any other mail accounts you may have

    Also lets you work with all of your Google accounts offline, and is a doddle to set-up.

    In my opinion this is a much better solution than browser plug-ins and workarounds..

    • Tina
      April 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Sounds great! Unfortunately, EverDesk isn't free.

  31. kd
    April 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Awesome article very helpful.

  32. Mark
    March 26, 2012 at 5:41 am

    The virtualization concept for multiple browsers is absolutely a interesting one

  33. Ann
    March 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I access all of my gmail accounts through Thunderbird - I don't deal with gmail online unless I'm checking the spam folder or am away from my main computer. As for other uses of the google account (bookmarks, blog, etc) I use the CookieSwap add-on for Firefox to switch between profiles if I need to.

    • Valerio
      April 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

      CookieSwap is optimal solution!

  34. Mary
    March 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I use the multiple profiles on Chrome now, but i also have all the email accounts dumping into a main email account and just have different folders and an alias set up for each account... that helps me keep it all straight and still not miss anything when I'm on the go with just my phone or tablet. I used to do the whole thing of having multiple browsers open but so glad that Chrome fixed that issue :)

  35. Bruce
    March 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    We have enough email as it is. Why would you want to have more than one window on screen at a time.

    • thinsmek
      March 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Great comment. Why did you then scroll through the article after understanding the headline?

  36. TxBlackLabelRx
    March 22, 2012 at 10:22 am

    For Firefox web browser I use Webmail notifier and can just select which account to look at. Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, POP3 are just the top selection, once you select the service and put in your credentials it is easy to keep them in check.

    Having separate email accounts for online orders, family and friends, business email and website sign ups I know exactly which account needs attention and which ones can wait.

    The plugin X-Notifier is for Chrome and Opera users.

  37. Soul
    March 22, 2012 at 7:35 am

    ThunderBird is one of my favorite programs. I even have it set up with an add-on that lets me use Google Voice, Google +, and all the other Google services.

  38. Karen
    March 22, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I use Multifox. I was using it before Google came out with the multiple sign in feature. Seems like I tried that when it first came out but liked Multifox better so I stuck with that.

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:23 am

      I vaguely remember Multifox. Thanks for adding it, completely forgot!

      • TT
        March 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        "" -- you forgot to mark that on top.. delete this comment after that has been done... thank you.

  39. Chris Hoffman
    March 22, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Bonus method for Chrome users: open up an incognito window and log in to a different account. The incognito and normal Chrome windows are separate from each other.

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:21 am

      True, totally forgot about that method. I used it before they introduced multiple users. Thanks for adding, Chris!

  40. Susendeep Dutta
    March 22, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Please hide the email address present at the last image of the article.

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Actually it's fine, that email has not been used in over a decade and is a spam account anyhow. :)

  41. Bill F
    March 22, 2012 at 2:46 am

    #5 is simply to use Mailplane. It's not free, but it makes handling multiple Gmail accounts very easy.

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Why would you use an app that is not free if there are so many free alternatives around? What value does it add?

      • Jay Logan
        July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

        I don't know of any alternatives (free or not) that work as well as MailPlane. Of course you could use an e-mail client that downloads all the messages to your computer but when you have several Gmail accounts it really slows your machine down. Better to piggyback off of Google servers. MailPlane is great. Currently looking for a PC alternative for my office computer.

        • clyde
          August 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

          LOL - the best text editor, browser and email application are the ones you're most familiar with - whatever *they* are. They all have problems, but better the devil you know than another one you don't.

  42. Jay Jani
    March 22, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Switching account feature by gmail is the best. Apart from that desktop client Digsby is wonderful tool for multiple accounts.

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Guess I should look into Digsby more. How does it work?

  43. Nirin
    March 22, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Digsby does this well

  44. Kaggy
    March 22, 2012 at 1:17 am

    2 more ways
    1. use IETab for firefox and Chrome to login
    2. Use Pokki

    • Tina
      March 22, 2012 at 6:23 am

      Thanks Kaggy! Never heard of Pokki, what is it?

      • Istivan
        March 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        Hi Tina,
        Awesome article as always. I actually keep Google's Chrome Canary installed alongside the standard chrome installation and keep both open side by side.

        Pokki puts a set of icons in the taskbar, next to the start button, but it's not quicklaunch or a toolbar. Rather you can install mini-apps within Pokki itself. Apparently most of the apps are akin to a browser's tab frame. There are apps for twitter, facebook, etc, and recently a bucketload of games.