I am a heavy Skype user - I use it for work and to communicate with friends. Little by little my contact list grew to almost 800 people. It's really difficult to handle my contacts and put them in different lists. Searching for contacts is also not intuitive and easy task - people like to use strange usernames for Skype.

I need to divide my contacts and use two instances of Skype - for business and personal use. Do you know a way I can do that and stay online in both accounts at the same time?

  • One of the main frustrations for me is that you can not use copy-past feature for new Skype client as it runs under another user account (((
    – user2671
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 0:32
  • According to Skype Support Answer: (Way given in link) horizonsplit.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/…
    – Ansari
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 4:40

8 Answers 8


multiple copies of Skype can only run under separate user accounts, making for some unfortunate but not critical overhead. create another user account on your Mac, either business or personal. then from the other one, open Terminal and do:

$ su - [your other username]
$ /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype &

after which you can close the terminal.

edit: after running this after a bit, i should note that you will run into fun issues like separate clipboards, links opening in separate browsers, and possibly other multi-user issues which i havent run into yet.


You can certainly launch multiple instances of the application. I assume there won't be a problem with logging into the remote service twice from one computer, though I haven't tested that part.

To launch a second instance of any application, regardless of whether it is currently running, open the terminal and type:

/Path/To/Application.app/Contents/MacOS/Application & 

(more detail here)

In your case, type this exactly:

/Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype &
  • Unfortunately, this doesn't work with Skype, likely for the reason you mentioned (logging into the service twice). I just tried it and got the error message "You have another copy of Skype running" after which the newly spawned instance of Skype quits itself.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 15:22
  • Actually it works better to do open -na Skype (open a new instance of the application Skype) Unfortunately, I think you may run into the same problem.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 16:31

This simple application can help you: http://holodnyalex.github.com/SkypeLauncher

It just runs Skype as root.

  • How exactly would this help?
    – nohillside
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 8:27
  • This simple app keeps you out of launching Terminal.app and typing some commands. Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 17:54
  • 1
    Run sudo -u root /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome for setting Chrome as the default application for links opened from your second Skype instance. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 22:20

Here's a viable solution. Tested on Mac OS X 10.8.2, seems to work.


http://horizonsplit.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/running-2-and-more-skype-instances-on-mac-os-x-simultaneously/ (just a copy for the sake of redundancy)


If you only want to run a second instance of Skype, you can do this on the same OS X account with a little bash script:

rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Skype/Skype.pid
sleep 1
open -n "/Applications/Skype.app"


  • Could you elaborate on what would that do and, perhaps, a brief explanation of why it works?
    – Thecafremo
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 8:31
  • 1
    The file that is removed contains the process ID of the running Skype app. Skype uses this to detect if it is already running or not. This hack deletes the pidfile, so Skype thinks it is not yet running and starts another instance. I use this method for more than one year on my MacBook and at work on a MacMini without any problems at all. More info on pid files: unix.stackexchange.com/a/12818
    – Strayer
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 18:21

Is it possible to copy Skype.app to PersonalSkype.app and then running both ?

I have tried this with VLC (one version was 32bit and other was 64bit+older version), and they worked fine.

  • I've done this successfully with World of Warcraft, so it might work for Skype as well. Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 20:31

Although duplicating your copy of skype will certainly run two copies (or more), both will use the same properties and will share a lot of things, therefore creating possible chaos.

If it helps, you can create groups in skype and drag contacts to the groups. I have separated people I know, business and strangers from games or people I don’t know.

Skype’s service is really good, but their application is far from good and intuitive.


If you don't want to mess around with "su" and the command line, try Peek-o-Matic, designed for this type of generic situation, but it appears from the developer comments that it is heavily used by Skype users wanting multiple instances just as you do.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .