Google Chrome Profiles on OSX (Old)


This guide is now obsolete, and you should use built-in support for multiple profiles in Google Chrome.  This document is saved here for posterity only.


The following is a short guide to setting up multiple profiles for Google Chrome on Mac OSX.

Replace text that appears as {profile} with whatever is appropriate for your particular profile name.  See important warning below on valid profile names.

Note: this guide assumes that you installed Google Chrome in /Applications/, and that the profile data should be saved under ~/Library/.

Creating the shell script:

$ mkdir ~/bin/
$ cd ~/bin/

$ emacs google-chrome-{profile}

Enter the following text, substituting your profile name as desired:


GOOGLE_CHROME="/Applications/Google Chrome"
USER_DIR="/Users/$USER/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/${PROFILE_NAME}"

    --enable-udd-profiles \
    --user-data-dir=$USER_DIR &

Make the script executable:

$ chmod +x google-chrome-{profile}

Warning:  Due to an issue in Google Chrome, the {profile} name must include only a subset of ASCII characters.  Known to be safe are are [a-zA-Z0-9_\-].

If you see the following error when installing Chrome extensions or applications, please change the {profile} string above to use only the safe subset:

Could not create directory for unzipping: /Users/
/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome//Temp/scoped_dir_ …/CRX_INSTALL

Confirm that the new profile works from the command-line:


$ ~/bin/google-chrome-{profile}

A new Google Chrome instance should now launch and execute the first-run script.  If this does not happen, please debug before proceeding.

Creating the application launcher:

$ cd ~/Applications/
$ mkdir -p "Google Chrome ({profile}).app/Contents/MacOS/"
$ ln -s ~/bin/google-chrome-{profile} \
    "Google Chrome ({profile}).app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome ({profile})"

Confirm that the new application works from the Finder:

Open the ~/Applications folder in the Finder and double click on the Google Chrome ({profile}) icon.  

Note: the icon will appear as generic executable for now.

Change the icon of the new application:
  1. Single click on the new application in the Finder and Get Info ⌘I
  2. Find a file from which to copy the new icon and Get Info ⌘I
  3. Copy ⌘C the icon from upper left of the source file
  4. Paste ⌘P it into the icon on the upper left of the new application
Change the theme of the new Google Chrome profile:
  1. Launch the new application
  2. Click Chrome > Preferences ⌘,
  3. Click Get Themes and select a new theme for the profile
Repeat as desired:

Create as many profiles as you like, changing the name of the script and the application, modifying the shell script accordingly, and setting unique icons.


The new application can be dragged to the dock or the Desktop and run just like any other OSX application, or run from the command line as needed.