Android’s upcoming “app cloning” feature will make multiple accounts easy


Android 14 Preview 1 got here out yesterday, and whereas Google is doing its finest to cover the attention-grabbing consumer-facing options from this early launch (both as a result of they are not completed, or for a giant I/O reveal), that is not stopping the Web from discovering attention-grabbing options. ‘App Cloning’ is a brand new function apparently hidden within the transport Preview 1 construct, and Mishaal Rahman, writing for XDA, managed to allow it.

The function leverages Android’s multi-user system to have two copies of the identical app however with completely different knowledge, permitting you to log in to every with completely different accounts. Some apps assist a number of accounts and a few do not, however this function would deliver a number of account assist to all the pieces. It could additionally deliver a substantial amount of consistency to having a number of accounts—each app might take care of a number of accounts in the identical means, with one icon for account primary and a second icon for account quantity two. Below the hood, the entire function sounds loads like Android for Work however with out the difficult Work Profile setup course of and with the flexibility to select which apps you need to duplicate.

App cloning in Android 14.
Enlarge / App cloning in Android 14.

You may need seen this function in some Android skins and third-party apps, so that is making it into Android correct as a part of the conventional upstreaming course of. As Android System UI lead Dan Sandler as soon as defined at Google I/O, the System UI crew’s function loop is usually “we see a paradigm within the wild, we take it, we find out about it, we make it safer, after which we contribute it again to the framework for everybody to make use of in Android.”

There’s a lot about this function that is not completed proper now. There is not any clear option to make a cloned app aside from going by means of the obscure strategy of discovering the appropriate settings display. When you do this, Android’s launcher can not differentiate between the cloned and unique apps—the icons could have the identical identify and icons. Android for Work offers the duplicate work icons slightly briefcase badge, however there’s nothing like that right here.

The one huge draw back to this function is that Android OEMs can management which apps use the cloning function, which is able to hopefully not be abused with no motive. Cloned apps have been getting Android growth work for a while, with the Android 13 Compatibility Definition Doc mentioning a “cloned apps profile” (that sounds such as you’d solely be capable of create one further cloned app) as a compulsory function. There is not any telling if the function will likely be prepared for Android 14’s launch within the second half of the 12 months, but it surely’s actively being labored on.