How to use a single Mobile phone for work and personal needs?

This post explains a couple of methods to use your Android phone for personal, and business needs instead of carrying two phones. There are ways to achieve this on iPhone using unofficial versions of apps. However, this article focuses on methods for Android phones. The post explains how to get rid of one of your phones – Android or iPhone – and use two WhatsApp and Skype accounts on the same Android phone. Steps are provided to use separate address books for work and personal use. Leave a comment below if you have an alternative solution or have a question related to the implementation. Please help to share this post with anyone who might find it useful.

Background

Due to various reasons, many professionals keep two separate phones for individual and business needs. If you own one of the latest Android phone models and still keeping two different phones due to technology constraints, there is good news for you! Dual SIM Android phones like Samsung Galaxy S7 or later models1 have a feature called “Dual Messenger”, which can become handy in combining the phones. Some of the other popular Android phones have features equivalent to Dual Messenger, as listed here. Xiaomi has Dual App, Oppo has Clone App, Vivo has App Clone, and Asus has Twin Apps. These models support two instances of social media apps, such as WhatsApp. Most of the Samsung models with Dual Messenger will also have an alternative feature called “Secure folder”. Secure folder feature helps users to have two instances of all apps2. Read further to understand how to configure a single Samsung mobile phone for your personal and business requirements through these features.

Dual messenger

Dual messenger feature helps the user to install another instance of WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, FB Messenger, and few other messenger apps. Access the “Dual Messenger” feature on your phone by clicking on the “Advanced features” from the Settings to view the list of apps supported on your phone.

Once you install the second WhatsApp app using the “Dual Messenger” option, the second WhatsApp icon will appear with a “Dual Messenger” symbol on the lower right side, as shown below. You can use this second instance of the app the same way as you use your main WhatsApp account. Click “Separate contacts list” to use different contact lists for “Dual messenger”. Currently, Samsung “Dual messenger” only allows 1000 contacts to be added.

Secure folder

“Secure Folder” helps to make another instance of all apps in a separate folder with a password and biometric security. You can access the second instance of those apps only after first opening the “Secure Folder” app.

Dual messenger vs. Secure folder – Which one should I use?

If you don’t require additional security but wanted easy access to the second instance of WhatsApp, Dual Messenger is the option to go. However, if you are looking to have extra security, go for the Secure folder. Similarly, if you wanted to use more than 1000 contacts in both instances of WhatsApp, then Secure Folder will be appropriate for you.

If you are using non-Samsung models mentioned above, check if the model offers features equivalent to the Secure Folder. E.g., Private Space in Huawei. Check if there is a limit on the maximum number of contacts similar to Samsung Dual messenger.

Keeping Separate contact list

Most people who use two phones prefer to keep the personal and work contact list separate. Creating a different contacts list makes it easier for future maintenance. To achieve this, add a second Gmail account to your android phone as the first step. Import the contact list from the second phone to the newly added Gmail account.

Importing contacts from iPhone

  1. Sync your iPhone contacts with iCloud
  2. Login to iCloud.com on a computer and click on the “Contacts” menu.
  3. Click on the Settings button on the left bottom screen. Click on “Select All” and use the “Export vCard” option to export all contacts.
  4. Login to Google contacts using the second Gmail ID and use the Import option to import vCard.

If your second phone is an Android phone, you can export the contacts to CSV, which you can import to the new Gmail account.

Addition of contacts to Dual messenger contact.

There is no easy single-click option to add all contacts to the Dual messenger from the second contacts list. You can utilize the method described below to make this process efficient. The idea is to add a keyword, say a word related to your work or company name for all contact in your second contact. To achieve this, you have to edit the contact file before importing to Google Account. Given below are the steps to follow.

  1. If your second phone is iPhone, you need to convert the vCard file to CSV file first. This can be done by Google contacts you are going to use.
    a. Import vCard file to Google account.
    b. Export to CSV file.
  2. Edit CSV file (CSV file exported from Android phone or from the iPhone as explained in step 1) to add a unique term to each item in the first column – Name. As an example, the term “Taxi -“ is added in the image below.
  3. Once you add this unique term, import the CSV back to Google contacts. Now you can see that all the contacts in the second contacts list start with the unique term you inserted.
  4. Now, go to the “Dual messenger” in the Settings and click on “Separate contacts list” and “Select contacts” . Click on “Add” and search for the unique term set for your second contact list. Click the “All” radio button to select all the contacts filtered by this unique term. Please note that if the unique term appears anywhere in the first contact list, those contacts will be filtered too.

Things to note.

When you import the CSV file exported from vCard files, there are chances some phone numbers are not recognized properly and rounded to 1000s – numbers ending with “00000”. In my last experiment, I found 20 such cases from around 1000 contacts imported. You can correct these by referring to the original vCard file. Similarly, you can ensure correct country code is inserted for all numbers so that WhatsApp recognizes the users when you add the contacts to Dual messenger. This editing is an excellent opportunity to weed out duplicate and obsolete contacts in your address book.

Note that WhatsApp currently does not allow importing message backup from iCloud to Android3. Hence when you migrate from iPhone to Android, you will lose the message history. You can use the Export Chat option to send important chat history to yourself by email.

Additional information

Given below are some of the reasons why people prefer two phones and some technical tips to overcome those challenges.

  1. “I switch off my work phone when I don’t want to get disturbed, e.g., Weekends”. If you are using a single Dual SIM phone, check the options to change to Silent Mode for only one SIM card using the SIM Card manager.
  2. “If I use two phones, I can use it for more time without worrying about drained battery”. A power bank is a cheaper answer to a dead phone.
  3. “If I lose one, I have a backup phone”. Yes, it is an expensive solution to the potential risk. However, for a cost-effective solution, you can sync your data, contact, and photo with cloud services like Google Photos, Google Drive, etc.
  4. “My phone will be wiped out by the IT department when I leave my current company, and I will lose personal data and photos ”. The solution is the same, as mentioned in point 3.

As more and more corporates are encouraging the BYOD4 (Bring Your Own Device), these concerns could be disappearing soon.


  1. https://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/what-is/dual-messenger/
  2. https://support.samsungknox.com/hc/en-us/articles/115012597568-Which-devices-support-Secure-Folder-
  3. https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/iphone/20888066/?category=5245251#iphonebackup
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bring_your_own_device