Android has had robust multi-profile support for years, which is especially helpful on shared devices. However, the functionality hasn’t changed much in recent history, and Google itself seems to occasionally forget it exists — Google TV, which is based on Android, didn’t receive multi-profile support until October of last year. Thankfully, it looks like a few improvements are on the way for Android 13.
The second Developer Preview of Android 13 was released last week, and even though there aren’t any profile-related features available by default, there are a few experimental changes being tested. There’s a new profile picker button in the status bar, when the ‘flag_user_switcher_chip’ flag in SYstemUI is enabled, which shows a list of available profiles when pressed.
Another change in development is a new full-screen user profile switcher, which is likely intended for devices with large screens. It can be manually enabled with the configuration value ‘config_enableFullscreenUserSwitcher’. There’s also an updated settings menu for creating user profiles, with several color options to choose from when not using a profile picture.
It’s not clear if the new profile features will be enabled for everyone in the final Android 13 build, or if Google will wait for a future release. It’s possible that some (or all) of the new functionality will only show up on tablets, where profiles are likely used the most, but we’ll have to wait and see. There’s also a profile switcher on the lock screen, which has been in testing since the first Android 13 Developer Preview.
Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also has runtime permissions for app notifications, improved Japanese text wrapping, a new Text Conversion API for languages like Japanese, COLR fonts, MIDI 2.0, Bluetooth LE Audio, and other changes. Check out our main Android 13 Developer Preview 2 coverage for more information and all download links for Pixel phones.