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Multiple User Code Introduced in Jelly Bean Actually Working With a Few Tweaks

Through some digging in the Jelly Bean code, a few developers have found that there is a whole framework in place for multiple users to be introduced into Android sometime in the near future. Much like a PC, if enabled, the tablet or phone would ask you to sign into a profile and then log you into that user profile with those settings assigned to that specific person. Different accounts, apps and pretty much everything about the phone can be changed with this framework, and it’s in the code now, but not quite finished. However, with some tweaks through adb it can be turned on.

There isn’t much functionality, but it is a proof of concept on how close Google is to finishing this new feature of Android. CyanogenMod has had profiles for a long time now but it seems Google is looking to do it themselves. Are you excited to see this feature sometime down the road?

Via: XDA

  • DefZilla

    Finally, the parents rejoice!!!

  • BigODroid

    This would be great on my phone. Then I dont have to look at Talking Tom, Talking Tom2, Tom Loves Angela, Talking Ben, Talking Pierre, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Sesons, Angry Birds in Space……I think you get the picture. The kid can have his own profile while I have mine. Love it! Hurry Google, I cant take the Tom and Ben News another second!

  • Jeff Dunn

    This would be amazing for a tablet, or a phone that you wanted to let your kid play with to keep them busy out and about but didn’t want them messing all your settings/apps/pictures/etc up.

    Can’t wait for the official release of this!

  • Realistic87

    sounds good to me

  • Neil Voskeritchian

    This is crucial for tablets but also useful on my phone when my kids want to use it to play games.

  • This sounds very much like Blackberry’s partitioning feature, which allows you to have an “At work” state of your phone and a “personal” state. Actually a really cool feature from an OS no one cares about anymore. Actually, this may never make it to a production build if BB hasn’t already shipped this already. So Android may be able to take some credit as the first.

    • 4n1m4L

      What’s a blackberry? 🙂

  • Havoc70

    it would be nice to separate work from home on the phone, but really who is going to hand someone their phone so they can login and use it?

    • MrWicket

      not to hand to someone to use but I would like to separate work and home plus have an account for the kids that limits them from deleting or breaking something. I see it mostly being useful on a tablet though that tends to be a family shared device.

  • Knlegend1

    I think this is a lovely idea, however, I just have one question. How does this effect memory partition? This feature is useless on an 8gb Nexus 7 don’t you think?

    • tyguy829

      Uses par tof your 5gb with Google drive?

      • Knlegend1

        Does that work with games too? I would think that would have to be local right.

        • tyguy829

          I think youre missing the point. If user 1 downkoads a game, it will show up for user 2 as well, just like installed programs on a computer. What wont be shared is the game data. So if user 1 is on level 5 and user 2 logs in and opens the game, it will be as if its a different device and start at level 1. So the app will still only be saved once on the local storage. They may even be able to sync the game data with the cloud, but i dont see it being a big file.

          • Knlegend1

            That s all I was trying to figure out.

  • Not very useful for a phone, but this would be a great for a tablet.

    EDIT: I see this has been mentioned already.

  • Michael Johnson

    This could be awesome for tablets!

    Just think: Your spouse/kids have their own accounts on your tablet with separate app storage that syncs with Google Drive which syncs to their phones.

  • Raven

    Yes! 1000 x yes!

    This may not be terribly useful for phones, but for Tablets I think it is almost an essential feature for widespread market adoption, especially with the customizability of Android. My wife and I have long shared a couple of tablets (an ASUS Transformer and an Acer Iconia A100) and we recently just added a Nexus 7 into the mix. I set all 3 up originally so they are rather customized the way I like them, but she, being a lover of pink, would like to have a very different look to her tablet. We, of course, both have multiple email addresses and Facebook accounts and it would be so much more convenient if we could just sign on as ourselves and have everything set up the way each of us likes it. Then, there is our daughter who also loves to use our tablets. It would be great to have a simplified layout for her with just her games on the main desktop. There are so many reasons that this should have been included from the beginning that I would not even begin to list them all here. Android is based on Linux which is inherently multiuser with a Java based GUI on top of it. It should have been designed in from day one, not something that may show up in 4.2 or later.

  • Chris

    Find any hidden code for group messaging for the stock messaging app? Sick of third party apps! and google talk is worthless if everyone you know is a loser and has crapple 🙂

  • DivingDancer

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this doesn’t really excite me. I don’t WANT my phone or tablet to work like my desktop PC or my laptop. My Android devices are personal devices, and I have absolutely no need or desire to pass them around to multiple users. Can somebody tell me why we need this? Why is this not just the beginning of the bloat of an elegant efficient OS?

    • Archer

      For tablets. They use the same OS. It can be disabled (or not used.)

    • will bartlett

      you are exactly right cause families dont, you know, have tablets or anything

    • capecodcarl

      Because I have a wife and two little kids and I don’t want them screwing up my e-mail, calendar, or app settings while they’re playing around. If they had their own account they could be free to do whatever they want with it when I’m not using it. It’s not useful for phones, but essential for tablets IMHO. Even at $200 a Nexus 7 is not something you just go out and buy a 4 year old kid so he can have his own to use rather than share yours.

  • This is absolutely an awesome idea

  • Teabling

    I will be once I get a tablet. That way I can set my kids up with a “kid account” and it well be set up for them and I wont have to worry about them getting into my stuff.

    • DivingDancer

      For under $200 dollars you can just get them their own tablet to abuse 😉

      • That idea is too short sighted. When you have a TF Infinity pad or one of your higher priced & larger tablets that can take the place of a laptop, the ability to maximize your investment across multiple users makes sense. This is not just for the N7 or even your phone. 1 OS on all devices, remember?

        • 4n1m4L

          I’d pay $200 to protect an infinity….

  • bose301s

    For my phone I don’t care, I always turn profiles etc. off as I am the only one who uses my phone. For a tablet however this would be sweet, being able to easily have separate profiles would let multiple people play teh sames games etc. and have their own save games allowing for a much better experience.

  • sc0rch3d

    I barely use profiles let alone have a need for multiple users. however, this could be very useful for companies that have a shared on-call phone.

  • John Burke

    Could be cool on a tablet

  • Michael_NM

    My thoughts: Get your own damn Android device, you can’t borrow mine. 🙂

    • This is more for a tablet that a family shares. Like one you leave on the coffee table for communal use.

      • Also, remember the Ubuntu on Android thing? This would be perfect for that!

        • That way I can set my kids up with a “kid account” and it well be set up for them and I wont have to worry about them getting into my stuff...FreeLancerGetWork.blogspot.com

    • nightscout13

      So that kids can stop purchasing apps in the Play store since Google already has my credit card preset.

      • Gr8Ray

        They already allow you to assign a pin code to the play store for this purpose.

        • nightscout13

          The payment thing is only the tip of the iceberg…Kids change phone settings, look at your bookmarks, delete your bookmarks… It’s a viscous never ending cycle.

    • jldleo

      Michael those would be my thoughts as well.. The down vote must be someone who can’t afford an Android device..

  • Jarren

    Unless you’re cheating on your gf, not that great of a feature IMO.

    • It’s a brilliant feature.

      My parents have an iPad (yes, yes, I know). They share it to read emails, browse the web, etc etc. But my dad can see my mum’s apps, browsing history, emails, app data and stuff – while my mum can see my dad’s. They don’t want to see each others stuff.

      If they had multiple accounts on the iPad, my mum or dad could select their account when they wake it up, put in their pin, or password or whatever, and have their own account, tailored to them. Apps, emails, browsing history, photos – it’d all be there. If they both wanted a specific app (let’s say they both wanted Angry Birds, although neither of them play games), they could tell the iPad to install it to both their accounts. Done. They’d also have their own app data – so in Angry Birds, previously, they’d be playing the same game, playing on each others levels etc. But with multiple accounts, they could progress themselves, without the other interfering in the others’ game.

      This will be Android’s step-up feature over iOS for a little while I think.

    • nightscout13

      You must not have kids.

  • I see this being more useful on a tablet than a smartphone since someone is more likely to share a tablet than a smartphone.

    • PuzzleShot

      Could use it to switch between a work account and a personal account maybe?

    • Gr8Ray

      Yup, I had to tell my wife she can only use my new Nexus 7 if she promises to stay out of my Words/Scramble with Friends games.

  • How does profiles take priority over notification toggles? Almost every ROM and OEM skin has notification toggles except for stock Android. Cmon Google, get on the ball and make notification toggles standard already.

    • Michael Johnson

      I’d take user profiles over settings toggles for my tablet. Still, Google needs to add stock toggles…