Monday, 12 May 2014

Logging in to your school and personal Google accounts at the same time

If your school or Uni has moved to Google Apps, and you have a personal Gmail account, you’re probably going to want to access them both simultaneously. If you just try to login to both accounts in different browser tabs, you’ll be logged out from one when you login to another. However, there are several ways to access these two accounts at once:

Google Chrome’s multiple users feature

This creates separate Chrome profiles for each Google account, and both can be run simultaneously. This is also useful for separating your personal and work-related bookmarks and history. Learn how to set it up in the Manage multiple users on Chrome Google help centre article.

Multiple sign-in feature

The multiple sign-in feature can be used to easily switch between accounts (or have both open at the same time). Simply login to one account, click your account name at the top right of the screen and click ‘Add account’. A new browser tab will open, where you can login to the second account. Learn more in the Sign in to multiple accounts at once Google help centre article.

Private browsing feature

You can also use your browsers private browsing feature to isolate the two browser sessions so the different accounts do not conflict. This is known as incognito mode in Google Chrome, Private Window in Firefox, InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer 8+ and Private Browsing in Safari. Simply login to the second account in the private browsing window.

Different browsers

The final alternative is to use different browsers to access the different accounts. For example, you could use Google Chrome to access your school Google Apps account and Mozilla Firefox to access your personal one.

So which option is best?

It’s hard to go past Chrome’s multiple users feature. It’s easy to use and keeps everything completely separate. The ability to assign pictures to each profile also helps you identify at a glance which browser window belongs to which account. However, if you are using a Chromebook, this feature is not yet available (although it is in testing). Using Incognito mode or the multiple sign-in feature would be the next best options.


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