By Stephen Schenck | August 20, 2012 12:14 PM
One of the big overlooked features that smartphone and (especially) tablet users have been clamoring for is the ability to support multiple user profiles. That way, everyone would have their own saved data for all the apps on a device. If you’ve got kids who occasionally borrow your smartphone, you already know just how useful this could be. Following the release of Jelly Bean, we learned that Android had already made quite a bit of headway towards implementing such a feature, and even without any signs of a way to create or switch users, the underlying support for multiple app data directories was in place. As we wait to see Google flip the switch on the feature officially, there’s a homebrew solution that can get you started with multi-user Android today.
As it turns out, you can take advantage of Android’s multi-user support by using some terminal commands to create and manage accounts. So you don’t have to bother with all that, the app “User Management” offers a GUI for the same functions. Using it, you can see what users are present on a device, create new users, rename existing ones, and of course switch between them.
To give this a spin, you’ll need to be running Jelly Bean as well as have your Android rooted. It’s pretty simple, for what it does, but until Google makes some official tools for managing users, this could be your best bet. The only real limitation has to do with the original, “Primary” account, which can create a real mess if you try to remove it – to keep you safe, the app prohibits such actions.
It’d be cool if someone built user-switching into the lock screen, but for now, this will do in a pinch. User Management is currently available in the Google Play Store.