In an ideal world we'd all have a single Google ID to which all our contacts, data, media and apps are tied, that we carry with us to each phone, tablet or PC into which we sign in. In reality that's often not the case.

In my own experience I had cause to create a new Google ID after I got married and my surname changed, and I have a third, separate account for work. But I had been an Android user long before my wedding, and effectively mirroring the old account to the new one and changing the email address associated with the plethora of online services I use was going to be a mammoth task.

Fortunately it's pretty simple to add multiple Google IDs to a single Android device, then over time gradually reduce your reliance on the old account. We'll explain how to do this below. 

If you no longer need the old Google ID, we'll also show you how to remove it from the device and add a new Google account. This might also come in handy if you're lending your phone or tablet to a friend for a short period of time and don't want them accessing your data (although you might prefer to add a user account for them).

How to add multiple Google IDs to Android

Most people will add their primary Google account to an Android phone or tablet during the setup process, but actually you don't have to do so at all. If you have no interest in taking advantage of any of Google's services or downloading third-party apps in the Google Play store, an Android device does not need to be signed into a Google account.

Regardless of whether or not you have already added a Google ID, the process is the same to add further accounts:

Add Accounts to Android

  • Open Android's Settings menu and scroll down to Accounts
  • Click '+ Account', then from the list choose Google
  • Enter your Gmail address or phone number, then click Next
  • Enter your password and click Next
  • Read the Terms of Service and click 'I agree'

Add Google Account to Android

In all Google apps that are tied to your Google account you will now be able to switch between accounts by tapping either your profile icon or the three dots at the top right and clicking the downward triangle next to the currently selected account. You will also receive notifications for both accounts, unless you change the default settings.

An alternative method of adding Google accounts is possible within the Google apps themselves. In Google Photos, for example, tap the three lines icon at the top right, tap the downward triangle next to your account name, then choose 'Add another account'.

Add Google Account in app

You'll be prompted to enter the email address or phone number associated with your Google ID, and agree to the Terms of Service as before. Your second Google ID will then be available within all Google apps on the device, not just the one you added it through.

How to remove a Google ID from Android

Having set up multiple Google accounts on a single Android device you might later decide you don't want them all after all.

You can remove all accounts and all data to the phone with a Factory Reset (Settings > System > Advanced > Reset Options > Erase all data), but that might be rather an extreme solution if you're planning to continue using the device and don't want to lose everything.

Remove Google Account

Instead, to delete a single Google ID, open the Settings menu and choose Accounts. Tap on the account you want to remove and choose Remove Account.

You will be warned that removing the account will delete all of its messages, contacts and other data from the phone (but not from the account itself, provided it is correctly backed up). If you want to go ahead click Remove Account.

Read more Android tips & tricks.