I often need multiple browsing sessions for logging into multiple services with different accounts at one time. I don't want to have to use multiple browsers, nor do I want to use a different release of Google Chrome. I would be open to running multiple instances of Google Chrome. However, I've tried using open -na Google\ Chrome and it won't open a second instance. Is there a way to do this on a Mac with Google Chrome?

6 Answers 6


Chrome supports multiple user profiles, you can make use of this to have multiple browsing sessions.

Click on the Chrome Menu (Mac users: Chrome-Preferences) → Click on Add New User. Now, there's a new instance of Chrome with a entirely different profile from the current user, so the cookies and the like are not shared.

Now, when you launch a new window, you can select a user profile to switch between & hence have multiple sessions.

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  • 1
    Thanks! Sorry it took me so long to accept. I forgot about the question :-)
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 16:26
  • 1
    @daviesgeek hehe, not a problem
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 6:20
  • +1 This answer perfectly solves my needs! Too bad I didn't know about this feature before... Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 18:14
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    For me, on a Mac, I had to choose the following from the menu: "Chrome | Preferences" then look for "Users" and click "Add New User", using Chrome Version 24.0.1312.52 ("Chrome | About Google Chrome")
    – Brad Parks
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 13:24
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    @Howie yes, that's possible.
    – Sathyajith Bhat
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 9:51

I don't know about the MAC, but

mkdir newProfile
chrome --user-data-dir=newProfile

Works great here on Linux!


Found this marvellous solution: https://sites.google.com/a/yarina.org/dougs-notes/home/mac-os-x/multiple-instances-of-chrome

I would probably alter the solution a bit by having the chrome function point to a time stamped directory in /tmp/. That way a new instance could be created each time by typing in only chrome rather than chrome /tmp/junk/.

I've also been using http://watir.com/ which launches new Chrome instances. Would be nice to look into watir's source to see how they do it.


Try using an Incognito window.

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    Thanks for your answer. I have used an incognito window, but I can't run more than two sessions at one time. I need several sessions open at one time.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 5:16

This one: http://techparade.blogspot.com/2011/03/multiple-user-profiles-in-google-chrome.html allows you to set up a full-fledged Application for multiple instances of chrome.

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    Avoid simply linking to the solution as links can sometimes disappear over time. Post an excerpt or key parts instead.
    – Will
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 18:44

If you do not want to use google account for loggin in, then use this plugin https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/freshstart-cross-browser/nmidkjogcjnnlfimjcedenagjfacpobb?hl=en

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