How to use Browser Profiles in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge

Most of us trying to handle a lot of logins and browser tabs, and not just many websites or services, but many accounts for work, home life, our hobbies, and more. And while, of course, you can keep multiple tabs open or multiple windows for every purpose, consider one feature that has long been cooked up in your browser that might help: user profiles.

Think of profiles as different identifiers that you can change. They collect all the usual browsing data — passwords, bookmarks, your browsing history — and store it in separate buckets. Perhaps the most obvious way to use it is to have one for work items and one for personal use, but there are other uses as well.

If multiple people in a household share a computer, profiles are a great way to protect everyone from browsing. But considering how easy it is to move from one profile to another, it’s probably a much better idea to use separate Windows or macOS accounts, if you want any privacy or security there. But nothing stops you from using multiple profiles to keeping things in order.

Here’s how to get profiles that work in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. As such, the feature is not available in Apple’s Safari.

Google Chrome

Each profile is represented in a simple Chrome graphic.

David Nield via Google

To add a new Chrome profile, click the profile icon in the upper right corner-what it looks like will depend on how your browser is set up (it will show your current avatar in Google account if you’re signed in), but it’s the one to the left of the three dots that leads to the main Google Chrome menu.

Clicking input to start the process of creating a new profile: You will be asked to give the new profile a name, and you will need to select a photo from the provided gallery. You get a new Chrome window, with no history or bookmarks or anything like that-just like you just installed Google Chrome for the first time.

You don’t need to link a Google account to this profile, but you can if you wish: Just click the profile button again (on the right) and select Turn on sync. After you sign in to your account, you can retrieve all the passwords, browsing history, and other data associated with this Google account. If you do not sign in, this data is simply stored locally.

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