Temporarily add a google account to my phone.
April 14, 2017 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I have an Android phone and my work uses google for all our stuff. I would like to *temporarily* and *completely reversibly* add my work email/calendar/hangouts to my phone.

Hello! I DO NOT like having work stuff on my personal phone, at all, period. For reasons. DO NOT WANT. Please don't convince me that this is what I want. It's only a little for security reasons, it's primarily because it'll annoy me and I really don't want info to cross-share.

However. I'm traveling for work next week, and it will be much, much easier for me if I can have access to my:

-google hangouts/chat
-google drive

from my personal phone, without having to sign in with google authenticator every couple hours to the shitty mobile browser view in an incognito window. And anyway, I have no idea how to access my work account's hangouts/chat from an incognito browser.

I use google and android products (inbox, calendar, the android "messages" app) for my personal stuff on my phone. I would prefer to keep each account siloed. At the end of the week, I'd like to be able to seamlessly take the work account off my phone again.

Can I do this? How do I do this? Thanks! Happy to provide any more tech/spec info if needed.
posted by phunniemee to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some options:

- Some Android phones have multiple profiles or even kid accounts. If you can enable that and set your work stuff up on there it wouldn't touch your personal stuff.

- I don't know if hangouts would work, but you could download an additional browser (Opera, dolphin, Firefox) and login to your work Google there and only do things in that browser. It wouldn't be as pretty but it might work.

- Someone you know may have an older phone sitting around. Heck, I have 4. You could set that up and just use it on WiFi or if your real phone allows tethering, share the connection.
posted by k8t at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just add a second Google account to your phone. All the apps will let you switch between work and personal accounts. Calendar will show both.

At the end of the week just remove the work account. All the work data will *poof* disappear.
posted by GuyZero at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have an iPhone (but had an Android several years ago)...can you download the Google apps (mail, drive, etc) and use them to log into your work stuff but do NOT allow it to sync to your phone account (i.e. only check Gmail in the Gmail app and not the usual Android mail app)? That's what I do on my iPhone, but since Android is run by Google you may already be running off those apps. Although last time I had an Android, the individual Google apps weren't available...I don't know how it currently works on Android.
posted by MultiFaceted at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2017

Ok, I like the idea of adding a second user profile on my phone. Problems.

When I tap the little head icon guy as indicated here, I don't get the user account screen as it shows will happen. Instead my phone opens up my own contact record.

If I go to settings as indicated here, I don't have the user option at all.

I have a Motorola Droid Maxx 2 running Android 6.0.1, this should be a thing I can do, yes?
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 AM on April 14, 2017

I would do one of three things:

1. Just add the account but do not sync the contacts. I found those are the hardest to separate out later. (That could be user issues.) At the end of the week, delete the account. Also, put in a separate widget for your work account in GMail. (On a homepage with a blank spot, press and hold until the widgets option on the bottom comes up. Press that and scroll down to GMail. Hold and drag widget onto a homepage. Probably would set up a new homepage for just work stuff. Set up the Gmail widget to default to the work account and name it something like work account (natch). If it were me, I would do the same on another home page for my personal account too. I have 5 Google or Google Apps accounts on my phone and never the twain do meet.)

2. Set up a second user and make that a work user with work exclusive accounts.

3. Get a $30 burner type phone or used phone and use that for the week or whenever you need to have the work stuff with you.

It is my experience (with 5 Google accounts on my phone) that if you take the time to use the dropdown menu for switching between accounts, they will stay separate. You just need to remember which account is in use at any time.
posted by AugustWest at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2017

Well, balls. Looks like that's out.
posted by phunniemee at 10:22 AM on April 14, 2017

Oh good grief. Does the phone still support multiple accounts even if it doesn't support multiple users? You should be able to have multiple accounts for a single user still. I hope.
posted by GuyZero at 10:38 AM on April 14, 2017

I went ahead and added as an additional google account on my phone, making sure to TURN OFF auto-sync beforehand, and I mean so far it's fine--the account is there and everything's working, so that's good. We'll have to just wait and see if it untangles itself later on down the line.

Thanks for the help! Bummed that Motorola is dumb, but whatreyougonnado.
posted by phunniemee at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I add and remove accounts all the time. It's fine and not a big deal. The only thing to be careful about is if you add a new contact to your phone, for instance, check and see what account you are associating the contact with. Same if you install any apps. But by default, I believe it should go with your personal account.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:14 PM on April 14, 2017

posted by WCityMike at 4:40 PM on April 14, 2017

Update for future readers!

I added my work google account by opening the gmail app (as suggested by a coworker) and choosing the add account option. I turned off auto-sync before adding the account. This was a mildly clunky workaround because I wasn't getting my regular notifications for my personal google stuff on my phone for the week I had the work account added on there, but! I had pull work account access on every google product and that was super helpful for me.

At the end of the week, I went back to the gmail app and removed the work account, and it seamlessly removed itself from my entire phone leaving no residue, which is exactly what I wanted. Turned auto sync back on and everything is totally back to normal.

Thank you!
posted by phunniemee at 7:24 AM on May 5, 2017

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