I got a Nexus 9 tablet that I'm sharing with my wife.

I set myself as owner and set my wife as another user.

How do I give the other user access to some of the apps I have installed, without re-installing the apps in the other user space?

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    possible duplicate of How do I share apps between users in Android 4.4 KitKat?. Although the Android versions are different I think the answers are still valid for Android 5.0
    – bmdixon
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 16:01
  • Not the same OS at all. One of the answers uses an app which is in beta and requires root access.
    – ChuckO
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:34
  • I don't have an answer since I don't have Android 5.0, but I've read that uninstalling an app uninstalls it for all accounts. Which would seem to indicate that the app itself is shared, even if the data is separate. Are you seeing something that indicates otherwise? I.e., device free space decreasing by the size of the app when it's added to the second account? Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 19:39

6 Answers 6


You reinstall the app, but they use the same install with different data, so the apk isn't downloaded twice (when you click install on a app that is already installed for the other user you will notice it is quite quick). So they already use the same app.

However if you want to share data, you could use one local account, or log in both yours and your wife's local account into the same account for whichever service you wish to share.

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    I've done this, but I thought there would be some way to indicate whether apps are to be for user only or shared by all users.
    – ChuckO
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:40
  • All apps are sand boxed to each user, whether or not they use the same account is irrelevant, the app doesn't know that account is registered twice on the device. So any indicator would say all apps are user only Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:42
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    ChuckO, If you want a list. As a primary user, I think you can use the "Restricted Profile" feature. That should list all the apps you have on the device with a toggle on the side that shows if you want your secondary user to have access to each app, or not. The disadvantage then becomes that your secondary user will be restricted by the profile you set up (which is a side-effect of the procedure). Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 7:23

I haven't read Android 5 manuals, everything said is just a ~2 hour experimentation since I've opened nexus 7 box and upgraded it to Android 5.

There are several types of users: Owner, Normal, Restricted and Guest.

  • Owner can share an installed application to Restricted users (even if it is purchased application). Data in this case is separated (each user has his own app data).
  • Normal users can install apps on their own (haven't tried yet to share from normal user account to restricted). Normal users do not see applications installed by owner.
  • Guest user can use a base set of applications from vanilla installation (may be more) and all his cached data can be removed upon next login or data can be reused.

These observations are incomplete.

If you desire to grant access to applications you installed in your account to your wife, probably best way is to create a restricted account for her, otherwise you may need to pay for some of these apps again.


I was able to share apps on our Nexus tablet, running Android 5.0.2. We have two accounts, mine (as owner) and my wife's. I had installed some apps as owner. Then, when logged in my wife's account, I opened Settings, then Accounts, and added my Google account (so my wife's account has both her Google account and mine registered). I disabled notification/sync for email etc. for my account. Then, I was able to visit the App store and install apps that I had purchased with my account, such as Beautiful Widgets


Google Play's Family Library with app and game sharing goes live July 2, 2016.

From the relevant post on the website Android Police:

Family Library and sharing have been a long, really long, time coming on Google Play. In his different app teardowns, Cody has repeatedly discovered strings pointing out to the feature coming to Play Books, Play Movies, Play Services, the Play Store, but up until recently, the only Google entity that had benefited from any kind of family sharing was Play Music and its Family Plans.

But at this year's Google I/O, Google announced that Family Library was coming to Google Play app and games purchases with the new changes taking effect on July 2nd.


What has already changed though are the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. A new section 5.4 explains how a family group, with one manager and different members, can purchase the product once and share it with other members of the family. So starting July 2, any purchases you make on the Play Store will be available for sharing with your other family members.


That's not ideal. All you have to do is turn on sync and you can then read all your emails.

A solution I've just tested and seems to work is to install your purchased apps on your user. Switch to the other user and add your Google account. Then install again all the apps you wish to share. Once installed for them, remove your Google account. The apps stay and are usable for them.


Old question and not sure if this works on ancient Android versions. This answer is for other users struggling to find the solution, tested on Android 13. You can use this command in adb shell or in terminal emulater with root access:

pm install-existing --user USER_ID PACKAGE_NAME
  • Hello. This doesn't answer the question. OP specifically mentioned "How do I give the other user access to some of the apps I have installed, without re-installing the apps in the other user space?". Your answer suggests reinstalling the app for the other user.
    – Firelord
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 16:35

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