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Android L may bring multi-user support over to phones

If a new issue tracker is any indication, Google may be preparing to bring multi-user support over to phones with the introduction of the final Android L release.
August 6, 2014

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Starting with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Android tablet users have had the ability to set up multiple accounts for different users. With the introduction of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean this feature was expanded to include a restricted profile mode as well, allowing the primary device user to limit the functionality of secondary accounts. For those that have been dreaming of multi-user account support on your Android smartphones, you’ll be happy to know that it looks like Android L might do just that.

This feature will certainly be a boon to those that sometimes let their kids use their phones for games and other activities

A new Android issue tracker was started earlier today, with a user suggesting that Google introduce multi-user support with restricted profiles to phones as well. A member of the issue tracker team responded back with the following statement: “the development team has implemented this feature and it will be available as a part of the next public build.” This is pretty cut and dry, Android multi-user support is coming to the “next public build of Android”. While the team member doesn’t specify what public build he’s talking about, it’s pretty much guaranteed the functionality will arrive with Android L. That is unless Google is planning to introduce the feature in another minor KitKat bump, but we sincerely doubt it.

Honestly, we think this move makes a great deal of sense and are somewhat surprised it hasn’t been introduced already. This feature will certainly be a boon to those that sometimes let their kids use their phones for games but don’t want to give them full access. The feature could be equally useful if you want to let a friend or family member play around with your phone, while limiting what they can actually see and do.

So why wait until now? That’s a good question, though we imagine that part of the reason for adding the feature now is that they are also adding a sandboxed user profile system for their Knox-based Android for Work platform, so it probably seemed like a logical step to include the multi-user feature in Android L as well. What do you think, will you utilize multi-user accounts on your smartphone when the feature arrives?