Android 12’s new “Clone” profile might bring native app cloning support

After officially announcing Android 12 earlier this month, Google released the Android 12 Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). As we reported late last week, the CDD outlines a new “performance class” for devices that helps developers easily identify how fast an Android device actually is. Now, we’ve learned that the CDD also mentions a new profile type, called Clone, that will enable native app cloning support on Android 12.

In a recent string of tweets, Mishaal Rahman revealed that the new Clone profile would help users overcome the weird work profile hack to install and run second instances of apps. Its description states: “Clone profile is a user profile type used to run second instance of an otherwise single user App (e.g., messengers). Only the primary user is allowed to have a clone profile.”

While some OEMs, like OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi, offer a feature on their custom Android skins that lets users install two instances of an app, such a feature is currently not available on Google’s Pixel and several other devices. So, if you wish to install and run a second instance of an app like WhatsApp on your Google Pixel phone, you have to set up a work profile. This could prove to be a tedious process for an average user.

The new Clone profile aims to address this issue. With this new Clone profile, users will be able to install and run three instances of the same app simultaneously. However, as Mishaal further clarifies, it isn’t clear if the new profile will work in Android 12 out of the box. Creating a Clone profile doesn’t seem to be supported right now and there’s no flow for cloning apps or differentiating them in Android 12. In its current state, the feature seems to be incredibly buggy. As Luca Stefani found out, the Clone profile is seen by the launcher as a work profile and it randomly clones installed apps when created.

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At the moment, we don’t have any further information about the new Clone profile. We’ll make sure to let you know as soon as we learn more. Until then, if you wish to install multiple instances of an app on your Pixel device, you can use a third-party app like Parallel Space.

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