Today we’re looking at an Android app that lets you run two instances of the same app completely isolated from each other. Whether it’s making sure one Android app isn’t reading the other’s data, having two different accounts for messaging or social media apps (like WhatsApp and Instagram), or playing the same game with two accounts different, Island can overcome many restrictions imposed by the manufacturer of your smartphone or Android itself.
It is quite common to have – and easy to obtain – a second phone number, even without owning a dual SIM mobile phone. Whether you need it to separate your work and personal life or to foster two different personalities for different types of friends, a second number can come in very handy. Many smartphones already have “dual app” features to help separate messages for the two numbers, but these features are not without flaws.
Traditional app cloning tools face several feature-related issues, ranging from limited storage access to syncing issues with cloud storage. These issues, at best, can worry users; at worst, they deter people from using the dual app features entirely.
Meanwhile, many apps on the Google Play Store claim to add dual app functionality if your Android smartphone or tablet does not inherently support it. However, to reap the benefits of this feature, you need to be prepared for frequent app crashes, simply because most app cloners only run a Progressive Web App (PWA) instead of install a second instance of the app you want to duplicate. . This is where Island stands out.
Another phone in your phone
The name Island is a metaphor for the app running in a discrete space away from the phone’s main premises, or “continent”. Island does this by running alternate instances of the application using a mechanism called sandboxing. A virtual sandbox is an environment separate from the main system where applications inside and outside do not interact with each other.
Island is created by Oasis Feng, who has previously developed apps including Nevolution and Greenify, the latter of which has over 10 million downloads.
Once you have installed Island from the Google Play Store and opened it, you will be guided through the initial setup process. Once your profile is set up, you can clone any app by tapping on the continent name and then on the + bottom button. You will be asked if you want to download a new copy from the Google Play Store or clone the installation package from the existing installation. Once cloned, the second instance of the application will appear under the tab titled Island as well as in the app drawer under Work apps.
When you launch a cloned app for the first time, you will be asked to sign in to an account, which will be inaccessible from outside work apps. All your data, including contacts, will be separated from your personal apps and will not be shared. Therefore, if you need to share contacts, you will need to clone the Contacts app and save or sync the phone numbers again.
You can also completely remove the space from the island by tapping the three-dot button and then going to Settings > Extended Settings > Island > Destroy Permanently.
How Island helps me solve double application problems
Island is a fascinating app that has helped me get more out of my phone and use it more fully. Here are some of my favorite reasons and ways to enjoy the app:
Get rid of bugs
The dual app features are riddled with annoying issues, ranging from trouble creating a second version to limited access, storage issues, and the inability to use essential services like Google Drive backup. Island circumvents this by installing the same app in an isolated storage partition.
For example, you have two WhatsApp installed on your phone – one on the mainland and another on the island. These two instances cannot interact or access each other’s chats, media, or stickers. Now, because they don’t share common storage or use the same framework of Google services, they don’t interfere with each other’s work, eliminating any potential bugs.
Separates work and personal applications
All superheroes need time off from work, whether they wear capes or not. Since the pandemic, there has been a growing movement around separating our personal and professional lives, which has become even more critical for those still working from home. Using your work profile, Island allows you to have separate versions of chat apps. When you’re done with your work day, you can either set the work profile to turn off on a schedule or do it manually. Alternatively, when working, you can selectively disable notifications from non-work apps, thanks to separate versions created with Island.
But you don’t need to use Island to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Instead, you can use it to pursue and maintain a secret second life – unaffected by peers, social pressure, or parental expectations. Don’t use it for anything illegal — remember you’re better than that!
Experience the same app in different ways
Many apps, especially social media, allow you to log in with multiple accounts, but that may not be the case with all apps. Sometimes you can enjoy an app or game so much that you want to enjoy it again from the beginning without losing your progress.
I use Island to discover new features in apps by comparing two versions or installing the beta version alongside the standard version. But you can use Island for more exciting activities, like replaying storytelling games but with a different strategy or a different character or revisiting older Spanish lessons with Duolingo without resetting your achievements.
An app to improve all my other apps
Not everyone needs Island, but if you’re like me and often need multiple copies of the same app, this is the best solution I’ve yet to find.
But is it all secure? Since you have to sign in to system apps and again to your Google account for Island apps, this might alarm a few who might think this data is visible and exploited by the developer.
In reality, the Android for Work framework controls this segregation of data. Oasis Feng, the creator of the app, tells us, “The Android framework even guarantees DPC [Device Policy Controller] application – [Island in this case] – could not access user data (including Google account) and application data. In some special cases, such as “Security Audit” which provides security logs to the DPC application, Android also ensures that DPC cannot run it without the consent of the end user. »
Second, Island is an open source application and its source code is available on GitHub. This means that any other developer can view, analyze or replicate their code to find security holes or create a spin-off.
When you combine the secure assurances with the smooth running of Island, it ends up being a killer app – and one I can’t see myself living without anytime soon.
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