As the development of Android 14 speeds along, we’ve obtained little nuggets of information about the new software ever since the first developer previews went live. One of these was the inclusion of app cloning, a feature offered on Samsung phones for quite some time now. Back in February, Android expert Mishaal Rahman offered us an early glimpse into Google’s implementation of app cloning for Pixels. Rahman has now provided an update on the feature, with a new option that allows users to hide cloned apps from their Work profile.
Rahman says the feature is enabled with the ENABLE_APP_CLONING_CHANGES_IN_LAUNCHER flag. As described, this will hide any cloned apps from your work profile, making it possible to use a secondary login for an account only for your personal profile.
However, the primary complaint from the February update, i.e., the inability to differentiate between your standard app icons and cloned app icons on the home screen in your personal profile, is still present. This is despite the Settings page for app cloning highlighting a distinctive badge for cloned apps. This gives us hope that this will be fixed by Google in a subsequent release, as identical icons defeat the purpose of cloned apps.
App cloning could be immensely beneficial for users who want to run two accounts for the same app. This was previously possible with third-party apps and other workarounds, like getting a device with dual-SIM connectivity, Google appears firm on baking in app cloning with Android 14 this fall, but as always, a yet-to-be-announced feature like this could be scrapped in the last minute.
When widely available, app cloning should be accessible under Settings > Apps > Cloned Apps. Google creates a “clone user profile” when an app is cloned, with each subsequently cloned app going into the same profile. A negative here is that users have to set up their password and other information when they first access the cloned app for obvious security and functionality reasons. Users can delete the clone by going back to the same Cloned Apps settings page or through the App info interface.
Google’s next major software release could also include a handful of other changes, such as a significantly improved screen recording experience and separated ringtone and notification alert sliders. The recent Android 14 Beta 2 release also includes a whole lot of bug fixes with a few developer-oriented updates sprinkled in.