Skip to main content

Multi-user accounts on the Nexus 10

The consumer release version of Android 4.2 just hit our review devices, and I had to dive in and check out multiple user accounts on the Nexus 10. It's been in the works since Honeycomb, and quite a few of us are looking forward to being able to share one device with our significant other, or with our kids, or anyone. All without the privacy concern of letting them have access to your Google credentials.

I'm not sure just what we were expecting (myself included), but the process was super simple. You can add and remove users at will, and the whole process only takes a minute or two. 

According to the information we have, each user gets their own space for their own apps, desktop customizations, Google account, and just about every personal setting that would apply. Of course some global settings -- for example Wifi settings or app permission updates -- are global, but for the most part it seems a lot like switching users on your computer at home.

Our devices aren't yet rooted (I did unlock but had to stay ready for the OTA -- that will change shortly) so I can't really dive into the data folder and see how things are separated. The good news is that with the Nexus 10 secure and not rooted, there's no way I can get to the settings and data of the other account. Of course, all this goes out the window once you break security and root.

Enough talk. Hit the break and see how simple it is to add and remove users, and the easy way to switch users and login.

For a better look at the dialogs and what they say, here's a few images grabbed during the process.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

27 Comments
  • Jerry never sleeps when Nexus is around the corner.
  • Watch another movie and let us know if the stuttering is fixed.
  • And this is why every Nexus should come with a beard. Sweeeeet!
  • Someone forget to end the movie
  • Uploading another now. I didn't want everyone to have to wait so I left the first one in place :)
  • Cool thanks
  • Thanks for the fast review of the feature. As always Jerry the cool kid on the block. One question keeps bothering me...If one user has a payed app does the second user have to pay to install it(use it) ?
  • I had the same question.
  • I saw a glow on the lockscreen like you could swipe the clock and add more widgets. Lets see a video on the lockscreen widgets
  • Can you please check if its stuttering with dolphin hd too?
    Never liked the perfomance of chrome on android anyways
  • 10min long for 5min video, lol. Great Review though, can't wait to set a user for my kids!
  • Hey, you should cover users with the same applying installed.
  • Awesome review man...I just received the 4.2 update on my 16gb Nexus 7....just waiting on it to install...can wait to mess around with it!!! FYI I had to Clear data and force stop the Google Services Framework...it worked on my second try.
  • Will multiple user accounts only be on the Nexus 10, or will they be in 4.2 for the Nexus 7?
  • I am looking for this answer too. I really hope so.
  • Android Police confirms Multi-user is in the update for Nexus 7 as well.
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/11/13/android-4-2-build-jop40c-rolling...
  • Awesome! Thanks!
  • Is it possible to create a guest account with access to your paid apps/games but exclude things like contacts & gmail?
  • Jerry - can you test how using many apps in each user account affects the running of the device? * Open a lot of apps in User A (make sure some of them have background services)
    * Switch to User B and do the same
    * Check how it runs, the RAM, storage, etc
  • Same question about the paid apps. That would definitely be a down side if you buy angry birds (no-ads) then you have to rebuy it for your kid.
  • Ok, Jerry. You've tested multi-user support. Does that mean you have to send the Nexus 10 back now?
  • How many users can be signed in?
  • Under settings, is the previous option Under "Personal" for Backup and Reset which allow backup/restore of App data available for all users? This would allow you to delete accounts without a great deal of loss....
  • Multi User accounts are great but there is one BIG problem.... Google Talk will only function for the Owner Account that you create on initial setup. Any additional user accounts can not use Google Talk!
    This was a big let down and really reduces the functionality of a 'shared' tablet! I'm hoping Google can fix this or maybe a keen developer can find a workaround? What do you think of this omission?
  • Thanks for the video! But you really don't need to show us the initial setting.
  • Can other users access books, movies, magazines, games from the owner's account? This to me would be the whole point of shared user accounts. So other people in the house can watch a movie I've bought, read a book I've bought, or play a game I've bought without having access to my email. Is this the way it works, or would I have to buy 3 copies of a book for everyone in the house to be able to read it without giving them access to my email? Thanks!
  • To clarify for people who asked, paid apps are not shared between profiles. My wife used my nexus 10 and had a few paid apps. I added a profile for her later, and the apps are not available from her profile. So yes, if you and your kid share a tablet, and you both want a paid version of angry birds, you'll need to buy 2 copies or use a clumsy workaround.