Fast user switching

Fast user switching lets you quickly switch between two or more logged-in accounts on the same device, without requiring you to re-authenticate.

Fast user switching is currently in alpha. To try it, follow the steps below to enable it for your network using Tailscale v1.34 or later.

The fast user switching feature is available on all plans.

This feature is currently supported for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

How it works

A Tailscale client device allows only one active account to be logged in at a time. With fast user switching, a user on the client device can quickly switch to an account on another tailnet.

This will not require re-authentication unless one of the following is true:

  • The account being switched to has never been used on the device.
  • The device’s node key for the tailnet being switched to has expired.

A device is not able to transmit packets on multiple tailnets simultaneously. When using fast user switching between tailnets, one tailnet doesn’t have knowledge of the other tailnet’s existence, nor whether the client device is also in another tailnet.

Note that the active Tailscale client account is independent of which account is used to log into the Tailscale admin console. You can have only one active account logged into the Tailscale client on a device, but if you have multiple browsers open, you can simultaneously use different accounts to log in to the admin console.

Adding an account to a device

You can add an account in either the client application (for macOS and Windows) or using the Tailscale CLI (for Linux, macOS, and Windows).

Adding an account using the client application
macOS
  1. Click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click Add another account.
  4. In the browser window that opens, log in with the desired account to complete the authentication process.
Windows
  1. Hold the Option key and click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click Add another account.
  4. In the browser window that opens, log in with the desired account to complete the authentication process.
Adding an account using the CLI
  1. Run the tailscale login command:

    tailscale login
    
  2. Use the URL that is opened to specify the account that you want to use and complete the authentication process.

Switching between accounts

You can switch between accounts in either the client application (for macOS and Windows) or using the Tailscale CLI (for Linux, macOS, and Windows).

This step assumes you have already added an additional account to the client device.

Switching between accounts using the client application
macOS
  1. Click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click the account that you want to switch to.

You won’t be asked to re-authenticate unless the device’s node key for the tailnet being switched to has expired.

Windows
  1. Hold the Option key and click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click the account that you want to switch to.

You won’t be asked to re-authenticate unless the device’s node key for the tailnet being switched to has expired.

Switching between accounts using the CLI

Use the tailscale switch command to switch between accounts.

tailscale switch alice@example.com

You won’t be asked to re-authenticate unless the device’s node key for the tailnet being switched to has expired.

If you previously set a nickname for an account, use the nickname when you switch between accounts.

tailscale switch work

Viewing all accounts

You can view accounts that have authenticated with the device, using either the client application or the Tailscale CLI.

Viewing account using the client application
macOS
  1. Click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.

The list of accounts will be displayed, with a checkmark indicating which account is currently logged in.

Windows
  1. Hold the Option key and click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.

The list of accounts will be displayed, with the text (current) indicating which account is currently logged in.

Viewing accounts using the CLI

Run the tailscale switch command with the --list flag:

tailscale switch --list

The list of accounts will be displayed, with an asterisk indicating which account is currently logged in.

alice@example.com
alice@gmail.com *

If you set a nickname for an account, the tailscale switch --list command displays the nickname:

alice@example.com
work *

Setting a nickname

Use the tailscale set command to set a nickname for the currently active account.

Before setting the nickname in this example, let’s assume that tailscale switch --list shows the active account is alice@example.com.

tailscale switch --list

The output is:

alice@example.com *
alice@gmail.com

Set the nickname of the active account to work:

tailscale set --nickname=work

Run tailscale switch --list again, and see the nickname work appear in the output (instead of alice@example.com):

alice@gmail.com
work *

Logging out of an account

You can log out of an account using either the client application or the Tailscale CLI.

Logging out using the client application
macOS
  1. Click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click Log out.
Windows
  1. Hold the Option key and click the Tailscale icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click the account that is currently logged on.
  3. Click Log out.
Logging out using the CLI

Run the tailscale logout command to log out the currently active account:

tailscale logout

To log out a specific account even if it is not the currently active account, specify the account:

tailscale logout alice@gmail.com

Limitations

  • This feature is currently only supported in the Tailscale CLI for Linux, macOS, and Windows.
  • This feature is currently only supported in the Tailscale client application for macOS and Windows.
  • You aren’t prevented from switching between accounts in the same tailnet. If you don’t want to switch between accounts in the same tailnet, re-authenticate the device instead of switching between accounts.

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