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How to use multiple accounts on your Chromebook

Some of us need personal accounts, joint accounts, professional accounts, work-controlled accounts... really, it's enough to make your head spin. And while Chrome OS using your Google Account login is blissfully simple, it leaves many users confused as to how they use all of their Google Accounts on one machine, preferably at the same time.

Well, let's clear some things up: you can absolutely log into more than one Google Account at a time. Here's how.

Switching accounts within Chrome browser

For light use, switching accounts in the Chrome browser.

If all you're needing to do with your secondary accounts is log in to check email or reply to a Google+ notification, then you can switch accounts in Chrome the way you would on any other machine. On any Google page with your profile image in the top right corner, you can click that image to bring up an account menu. This menu includes account settings and it is where you can add an account.

Once you log into your secondary account, and you can then switch between accounts using this same menu. Now, this account switch only applies within the Chrome browser, so you cannot log into a secondary account and then access that account's Drive files in the Files app. For that, you'll need to tap the time in the bottom corner of your screen and log out of your account.

Separate logins

Adding accounts is simple and the best way to keep your accounts absolutely separate.

Because your Chrome OS login is your Google Account, you can add each account you have as a separate user on your machine. You'll click add account and then log in as normal. Now, you have separate accounts and can log in and out of each one as needed.

For lighter users, you may not need to go this far, but when you'll be settling in for a long session of grading papers or organizing Drive files, being able to log into a dedicated account is useful. Now, because these are separate logins with separate profiles, you'll have to re-install any needed apps from the Chrome Web Store, but at least that means that your apps for work won't be cluttering up your personal account's app launcher.

So, is switching within the browser enough for your secondary account needs? Or do you need the digital wall of the dual accounts? Chime in below in the comments, and share your tricks for managing your many accounts on your Chromebook/box/base.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

14 Comments
  • Ara, how are you liking the Yoga Chromebook? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Now that I have it back again, I'm liking it a lot. Nothing beats the angles on the Yoga when if comes to typing on the couch.
  • I love my(wife's) HP Chromebook, I just found the swap accounts feature and it is fast. Just one click then log in and I am in another profile. Chromebooks are the way to go.
  • Thank you for posting this! I have three Google accounts. I just purchased a Chromebook as a business expense, and plan to use it the way you described.
  • My pleasure! Be sure to stay tuned, there's more Chromebook content coming!
  • Vaghela. Jitu.accepted.mi
  • My wife and share ours. The multiple log ins is the best feature about it. In the market to replace our old one now. Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Well, there's a lot of updated models starting to push out (Dell, Acer, HP), but I really do love my Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook. It may not be sexiest looking Chromebook there is, but it lasts me my whole shift and thanks to the Yoga and tablet modes, this laptop can adapt to wherever and whatever position I'm typing/browsing/watching in. Oh, and when it's full-screen, it's the perfect aspect-ratio for mirroring to the Chromecast.
  • I been using my chrome book more and more. This is really helpful. Thanks Google+ All Day Everyday
  • It'd be good if installing the same apps on different profiles did not take up twice the space on the Chromebook... I've been meaning to test if that's how it works... Do you know?
  • I do not. I honestly don't use separate logins much myself since my 'professional' account is essentially just for email. The app itself might share space, but any data specific to that account will mean that you're doubling up on data in some cases (like pinning stuff in Play Movies & TV). Not entirely sure, though...
  • Chrome multi-user pro tip: cycle between users that are logged in with the shortcut CTRL+ALT+< (or >). Such a time-saver! Gosh I can't get enough of my pixel.
  • Another trick is opening up an incognito window by going to the upper right corner, clucking on the icon as if u were going to go to Settings. The drop down menu shld offer several options including creating a new incognito. Posted via Android Central App
  • MY 2 CENTS: I love MY CHROMEBOOK, it is now my primary tool. With all the capabilities, I HAVE THE H/P-C/B 14, I.e.4 USB ports etc.. I can't help but wonder why the developers have yet to create an option to plug in an external disc drive? Seems to me, this would be a great addition to the CHROMEBOOK, (the only thing I really miss), hopefully this will be an option one day, ANYONE AGREE?? WONGA