How might I run 3+ versions of google chrome so I can log into to 3 different google accounts.

More specifically I am looking to have separate icons in the dock for the 3 separate running applications.

How might I run duplicate and or copy versions of the same application. The following linked question on SuperUser by Mark works for a lot of applications but not for Google Chrome.

It appears the following might work link.

  • @Mark As written in my answer the linked answer above doesn't work for Google Chrome.
    – William
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 23:23
  • That info should in the the question not an answer. However in this case my answer correctly answers your question and that question is not on here before I think it would be best to leave this question as is and then create a new question referring this and ask explicitly about Google Chrome
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 23:30
  • A couple of questions. What version of macOS are you running? And, are you wanting to run the three versions of Chrome simultaneously?
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 5:16
  • What does "might work" mean? Did you try?
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 6:26
  • 2
    @William I think I figured out the problem. Chrome isn't actually running as one big application that can be run separately. It's a main app that launches a bunch of other processes for each tab you have open. So when you launch it again it it just spawns a new process that gets bundled in with all the others. This prevents it from launching multiple independent copies. Could be totally wrong but I'm pretty sure that's the situation. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 22:18

9 Answers 9


I used to do that some years ago. Just tested it and it still works. Add two different accounts

System Preferences->Users&Groups
Full : Chrome1, Account : chrome1, Pass : password, Ver : password
Full : Chrome2, Account : chrome2, Pass : password, Ver : password

Open a Terminal (Applications->Utilities->Terminal) and launch Chrome under these accounts (Plus, launch one under the account you are logged in to get at total of 3)

sudo -u chrome1 /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome

Open a new tab in Terminal cmdT and enter:

sudo -u chrome2 /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome

You will have 3 separate "Chrome" icons in the Dock now. Now sign in separately into each Chrome.

I recommend that you login once to these accounts using the GUI, otherwise you will get Keychain errors when you quit Chrome.

To put direct "links" to open these browsers into the Dock

Applications->Automator File->New In the search field, enter "script", add a "Run shell script"

echo yourpassword | sudo -S -u chrome1 /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome

(Change yourpassword of course)


Close Automator

Open /Applications in Finder

Drag "Chrome1" to the Dock

Click Chrome1 in the Dock

Hope this works for you as for me.

  • Setting a bounty and not responding is kind of discouraging Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 21:49
  • 2 problems. 1) Is there a way to make a custom icons? 2) the dock icon is not used by the application when it opens so there are essentially 2 icons in the dock(3 if you include the original google chrome icon)
    – William
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 1:56
  • 1) Change icon as usual? Right click, Show in Finder, right click, Get Info, paste you custom icon on the application icon. Should work. 2) Different story. What I do is I just assigned a key combination to the "Lauch Applications" so I can open my 4 different Chrome browsers by pressing Ctrl-Shift-F9 to F12 and I don't keep them in the Dock. Then, only one Icon appears in the Dock per Chrome when I open them and I usually don't quit the applications but just close all windows. I'm not aware of a way to directly link clicking the dock icon to opening the application under a different user. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:01
  • 1
    Keychain : You may try this discussions.apple.com/thread/7464268?start=0&tstart=0 under the additional accounts Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    Thanks for that. If you need multiple icons, you need to copy Chrome. Let's say you copy to "Google Chrome 2" etc. Then, do "Show Package Contents", Contents, Resources. Replace app.icns with a new icon set. Then, go to a Terminal and do "touch /Applications/Google\ Chrome\ 2.app/". Voilà. Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 16:00

Google Chrome Canary is a bleeding-edge version of Chrome which uses its own profile, so it can be run in parallel to a regular copy of Chrome. The Canary browser is the least tested version of Chrome in their development pipeline (Canary → dev → beta → stable), but contains the newest features. For this reason it may not always work as expected, or sometimes not at all. It receives updates every single day. This SO post describes it in more detail.

  • I gave it an upvote because this is what I am currently doing.
    – William
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 17:03

Perhaps a relatively new feature in Chrome might do the trick, except you won't have two icons in the Dock, and only one instance of Chrome running:

enter image description here

You can have multiple user's accounts at the press of a button:

enter image description here

  • 1
    I want multiple dock icons.
    – William
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 14:49

I recommend Incognito Mode for a second instance of Chrome.

For Windows, create a desktop shortcut and use this line:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -incognito

For macOS, use this method found here:

How do I open Google Chrome in Incognito mode by default

  • This will work, but your login, preferences, etc, will not persist between sessions or between windows. Some sites, especially those that require multiple windows, will not act as expected when visited under Incognito mode. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:41

It really depends on the application. More specifically, it depends on wether the application needs exclusive access to it's support files.

If all you want to do is use a second online user, you want a second browser, not specifically a second session of Chrome. Use Safari.

  • Creative although certainly not what I was looking for.
    – William
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 23:43
  • Another option is to run an OS in a virtual machine, like Linux Mint and use the second Google Chrome from there. If you don't already have VMware Fusion or Parallels, both are paid apps, there is VirtualBox for free. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 0:46
  • @user3439894 the OS in the VM could be OS X so no need to learn another OS
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 0:57
  • @Mark, Yes one could use OS X in the VM however OS X performance in a VM basically sucks, no Accelerate 3D Graphics and sound is choppy, just to name 2 of its shortcomings. Linux Mint is extremely easy to learn, especially if just using as a Browser Appliance and the performance in comparison to OS X in a VM is night vs. day. The UI can be customized so the Close, Minimize, Maximize buttons are on the top left like OS X, etc. I'd only run OS X in a VM where it was an absolute necessity to have it even with its degraded performance. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 1:18
  • and Firefox if you need one more. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 5:21

You just need to create a different user data directory for each chrome instance. Something like this:

alias chrome1='/Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --user-data-dir=/Users/<USER>/chrome-config/chrome1 > /dev/null 2>&1 &'

Where you would create /Users/<USER>/chrome-config/chrome1 directory to keep config data for this instance.


There are different ways to login as two users.

  1. Create a new desktop and open the Chrome again.
  2. Add another person to your Chrome account. Go to Chrome > Settings > Add Person
  3. Open a new Incognito window and sign in as someone else.

One of the easiest solutions for me was to find a custom build of the browser. In Russia, those are Yandex Browser and Atom.


You can run Google Chrome and Google's nightly developer build, Canary (https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/canary.html), on the same machine at the same time.


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