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Using Your Phone for Work AND Personal

This post starts with a lot of explanations and then I get to the, THIS IS WHY!!

A lot of people I know have two phones. Two actual physical phones, one a work phone and one a work one. I find this weird as I can't imagine ever wanting to carry a redundant piece of equipment. "Why do you have two phones?", I ask, "Coz I don't want my work stuff on my own phone". That is a totally wonderful reason ... let me tell you how I do that with one phone. 

Of course people have multiple Google Accounts, be that work & personal ones, or multiple personal ones, or personal ones and club ones ... we've all got a few accounts.
On Chrome / Chromium you can have multiple profiles managing each of your accounts. Yes you can have many accounts in the one browser profile BUT trust me it's a LOT easier to have separate profiles, keeps everything separate and synced appropriately, and a theme helps remind you which one you're in.

And those Chrome profiles automatically turn into Chrome OS logins, voila, all your apps and bookmarks and extensions and passwords and ... stuff.

Personal Profile

Let's now look at the phone (phone, no-one is buying Android tablets, surely!). On the phone you get two profiles, personal and work. Hmmm, not quite the same flexibility as Chrome but it's better than a kick in the arse.

Imagine that the default profile, the one you didn't know you were using, the one that is there when you do nothing, is your Personal Profile. In this you pop all the apps you wanna use when you're not working, all the Google (or other) Accounts you want to use for personal things.

Work Profile

Then, if you're gonna use your phone for work, you create a Work Profile.

When using the Work Profile use your Google (or other) Accounts, install work apps, even if they are already installed in your Personal Profile - got Gmail for personal use and work, then you have 2 Gmail apps, one personal and one work.

Your work data + apps and personal data + apps are kept separate.

Your workplace may also want to set policies in your Work Profile for security and the time you leave / lose your phone so they can ensure the data is wiped etc.

In newer Android versions (11+) you can connect your work and personal apps, for example, by connecting your calendar app you could view your work and personal events together.
Because you are able to have completely different settings in the two profiles, one trick I found useful was setting the keyboard under the work profile to a totally different colour than my regular Android keyboard. It was a quick visual reminder of which profile I was using, particularly when using an app common between profiles such as Gmail.

Turning Off Your Work Profile

This! THIS is the reason I love using a Work Profile (apart from different notification sounds), you can turn the pause it, in essence turn it off.
When your work profile is running, your work apps can run and generate notifications that appear alongside your personal notifications. Pausing your work profile temporarily disables your work apps and notifications, allowing you to use your device without any work interruptions. You may want to pause your work profile when you're not working. For example, at the end of your workday, over the weekend, or when you're on vacation.
Not only can you manually turn it off / on but you can schedule it to automatically turn off.

Simply head over to Settings > Digital Wellbeing and Parental ControlsWork profile schedule, tap to set your schedule.

5:30pm, my Work Profile turns off, stopping all work app access and notifications, until 7am the next day when it turns back on automatically. Perfect.

The final hurdle is for the Work Profile to have a completely different phone number to your Personal Profile ... do-able when you have eSim capability as a lot of the newer handsets do.


  1. Very useful article, Mike. Now, if you could only write one about getting your wife to understand why you're not getting her 'reminder' emails on the weekend because your work profile is switched off...

    1. Why is she sending non-work stuff to your work account?


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