Some of my accounts are bound to personal gmail address and some for business gmail address. They are needed for automated logins like on StackExchange websites.

So if I want to login to this group, I have to sign out from business gmail and log in to private gmail just to be able to log in to StackExchange.

Is there a way that I can have something like multiple identities in Google Chrome? For example, in one screen I use identity Personal where I am logged to my private gmail and use services connected to this email. And in the another screen I can log in to my business gmail and use services connected to this gmail address.

  • You could for instance run your business profile in chrome, and your personal profile in an incognito instance.
    – Moose
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:56
  • I think I tried it but incognito does not remember open tabs and all cache is deleted after closing chrome so each time I have to open all tabs and login to all services.
    – JoeM
    Nov 12, 2015 at 9:58
  • Questions about Web browser functionality belong on Super User.
    – ale
    Nov 12, 2015 at 12:42

3 Answers 3


Google Chrome does support multiple profiles: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2364824?hl=en
Every profile is its own separate instance of Chrome, with its own saved tabs and sessions.

I've got a button in the top right of my screen which lets me switch profiles. I use it both on my work computer and my personal computer. The screenshot is from Chrome 46.0.2490.80 on OSx
Chrome profile switcher

  • I use multiple profiles to keep my different "personas" separate and it works great.
    – ale
    Nov 12, 2015 at 12:43
  • It's not a separate instance of Chrome, just a new window. (on Mac at least)
    – Tuesday
    Nov 12, 2015 at 19:50

Awhile back I was using the same computer for work and home, I ran into the same issue with having to use my Google accounts to sign in to other services. So I set up a second profile in Google Chrome, and then set up icons for each profile so I could quickly access them at the click of an icon.

I'm on Mac OS, but the same should be possible on Windows as well.

To do this, you'll need to know the name of the directory your profile is in. On Mac OS 10.9 this would be the name of the profile folder found in:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome

(On Windows 7 it would be %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data)

Generally the first profile is named "Default" so the command to start an instance with that profile would be:

$ open -n /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/ --args --profile-directory=Default

Your second profile is usually in directory named something like "Profile 1" so the command should look something like:

$ open -n /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/ --args --profile-directory=Profile\ 1

(You can also write it as --profile-directory="Profile 1" if you prefer)

As explained at https://mathiasbynens.be/notes/shell-script-mac-apps we can set up app icons on Mac OS by creating an executable bash script somewhere in your $PATH, I usually create it in /usr/local/bin:


APPNAME=${2:-$(basename "$1" ".sh")}

if [ -a "$APPNAME.app" ]; then
  echo "$PWD/$APPNAME.app already exists :("
  exit 1

mkdir -p "$DIR"
cp "$1" "$DIR/$APPNAME"
chmod +x "$DIR/$APPNAME"

echo "$PWD/$APPNAME.app"

Then you create an simple shell script for each of your profiles, that contain each of the above commands to start the browser instances. For instance, create a file called chrome_personal.sh:

open -n /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/ --args --profile-directory=Default

Now use appify to create an icon from the shell script:

$ appify chrome_personal.sh "Personal"

Finally, to set the icon just go to your real Google Chrome icon in /Applications and right-click and choose "Get Info". Then click the icon and use Command-C to copy it. Now right-click on your newly created icon and choose "Get Info". Click on it's icon and use Command-V to paste the Google Chrome icon into it.

Then repeat the process for any other profiles you want icons for.

You should be able to set something like this up on Windows, too. You'd just have to create the custom icon on your Desktop or in your Taskbar and use the same above options like --args --profile-directory=Default after the command in each icon, and the process for setting the icon will be different. (I don't have a Windows system to test but it should be just right click the icon and select "Properties", I believe).


By default, Google Chrome does not support this functionality. As a work-around, you can download Google Chrome Canary, which is the development version of Google Chrome with the latest features.

Canary can run as a separate instance of Google Chrome entirely, and allows for the installation of add-ons, keeping your history & sessions, tabs etc.

This should allow you to achieve what you're looking for, by using standard Google Chrome for your business account & then Chrome Canary for your personal account, or vice versa.

  • How safe is it to use Canary? I mean Canary is something like alpha build, right?
    – JoeM
    Nov 12, 2015 at 11:35
  • Chrome does support multiple profiles Nov 15, 2015 at 8:22

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