SwitchMe brings multiple user profiles to (rooted) Android phones and tablets

January 26, 2012
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There's one thing that I've heard requested more than anything when it comes to Android tablets: support fur desktop-style user profiles. It's rare that more than one person uses a smartphone, but tablets were practically made for sharing, especially in the communal area of the family coffee table. While Google graciously allows you to connect more than one Gmail account to a single device, true separation (as in apps, passwords, and settings) is impossible. Enter SwitchMe, the first enabler of a truly multi-user device. The app is free in the Android Market, but requires a $1.98 license key for more than two profiles.

The idea is pretty simple: install SwitchMe on your main profile, then use it to define more profiles and manually reboot into them. The only thing you'll be missing while in a secondary profile is storage space: the apps and cache from multiple profiles don't cross over, and are isolated onto different sections of flash storage. This could make things tight, especially if your phone or tablet has less that 8GB of space available and/or you store a lot of games, music or video.

SwitchMe is definitely for advanced users: root access is necessary to set up the different storage areas, and even the developer Fahrbot Mobile  recommends performing a Nandroid backup before using it. Ouch. That said, for the tech-savvy among you who wants to share your device with your kids or significant other, this seems like a pretty in-depth solution that's much cheaper than buying a second chuck of Android hardware. Just clean off all your gigantic game files before trying it out and you'll be set.

[via Android Police]


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