Future versions of Android might support app cloning

Other OEMs already include it in their skins, and it looks like Google might follow suit


Google has been adding plenty of features to Android over the last few years, but many already existed in various OEM skins. One such feature is app cloning, which lets you install duplicates of apps that you can run side by side, and it could be coming in a future Android 12 update.

As spotted by Mishaal Rahman, the Android 12 compatibility definition document mentions a new profile called “clone,” which should create a copy of the desired app, letting you run them side by side and logged in with different accounts. You can get an idea of what that could look like with these screenshots from my Galaxy S21:

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Technically, you could already do this by setting up a work profile, but that’s not the kind of process your average user will want to go through.

Before you go looking for this in your newly updated Pixel, there are some things you should know. While the feature is in AOSP, it doesn’t currently work out of the box in Android 12. There’s no menu or workflow to set any of this up.

It’s also incredibly buggy if you do manage to enable it, with the feature randomly cherrypicking apps to duplicate, and the clone profile is seen as a work profile by the launcher. It isn’t anywhere near ready for prime time yet, and there’s no way of knowing when or if Google will enable it.

Running multiple versions of apps at once is incredibly useful for many users, letting you use two Snapchat accounts at once, view two documents side by side, or any other use case you can think of, and while there are apps out there that can help you do this, having it built-in would be even better. Hopefully, we’ll get lucky and see it in Android 12.1 later this year.

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