Apple rumored to be investigating multi-user iPad support

new ipad photo gallery

Apple is supposedly looking into developing a way for multiple users to access one iPad with separate accounts and home screens. In response to an emailed suggestion for the feature to be added,  Apple said that it was a known issue being investigated by engineering.

"After further investigation it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering," the official response from Apple Developer Connection's Worldwide Developer Relations team reads.

This is a reasonably generic response and could be just a standard emailed reply sent by Apple for suggestions and bug fixes. The developer does claim that many other filed bugs have never received such a response so maybe there is hope.

Sharing the iPad with other family members is common practice but the ability to give them separate accounts makes a lot of sense. Each family member could have their own login screen, home screen and favourite apps all password protected so other family members could not delete or change anything. Only problem with this solution would be the additional storage space required for multiple users. Of course if you plan on using your iPad this way, you could always just buy the 64GB.

Both Apple's OS X for Mac and Microsoft Windows, as well as various Unix, Linux, and other computer systems, have provided multiple user logins for decades. So far, Apple has avoided that with iOS. Instead of multiple user logins for each member of a family, they seem to prefer multiple user devices, where each member of the family has their own iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

That doesn't address other common situations, however, such as handing an iPad to a friend or guest, and providing a way for them to use it for web browsing or gaming without giving them access to all your other personal information.

So, while the response from Apple above may well be boiler plate, it does serve to bring some much needed attention to the issue.

Is multitple

Source: Apple Insider


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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There are 21 comments. Add yours.

daniel says:

The iPad does support multiple users, just not in the UI

Ian Thain says:

Saw this and though back to a blog I wrote in Jan 2011 ... Ever Passed Your iOS Device to Someone and Wished You Had Not? iOS Enhancement idea

DARK_BLU says:

Nope. Never passed my IOS device to anyone including my Macbook. Someone needs a computer or device, they can bring their own. I don't trust anyone on my computing devices. None of that One computer or one laptop to share nonsense. Get your own. LOL!!

Kris says:

that doesn't quite work with friends and family. That is unless of course you prefer being a loner.

DARK_BLU says:

Yea. NO. I don't do PC, laptop, Phone or iPad sharing in my house. Everyone has their own equipment or at least they did when my kids lived with me. This feature is one I don't need, thanks. I'll pass on it.

Lui says:

Yes, multiple users, so the Little one keeps to age appropriate games, and away from the GTA clones. Dont mind passing the iPad to guest, but they don't need to know I've been researching in-grown toe nails either.

Tuna Glen Ellyn says:

of course this needs to be done - its a no brainer. If my ipad is in the family room, and I am in the basement and my wifes ipad is sitting there and I want to look something up, why should I have to walk upstairs to get my device?
I can't believe it is taking this long to add what is a basic computer function - a login with security, and based on who logs in, they are provided with their screen, access, access to their specific mail account, contacts, calendar, etc.
I would have a guest login for my grandkids, or whoever stops by the house, so they could access the internet, etc.
the ipad is a powerful device - it should be available and ready to go at all times, not just when one specific person wants to use it.
Apple - please - get this done, sooner or later. stay ahead of the droids/windows devices that are no doubt going to be constantly nipping at your heals.

pete says:

Yes, simple concept that's way overdue.
At least for those of us with families, not those who are single and still living in their parent's basement. Granted, we are probably the minority on these blogs.

Marc says:

Yes, the company I work for would like to see multi-user support for iOS devices such as the iPad. This as something that businesses, not only families, could use. It would allow multiple team members to share a device when in the field completing orders. I assume it could be developed so that multi-user support could be activated or deactivated for those device owners who don't want it.

jeremynebraska says:

I would love to see this come out in a future update. I can understand this being on the iPad or iTouch, but don't really see any benefit for it on the iPhone. That's just me, though.
I'd love to see this, so my girlfriend can have her drawing/design apps on her login, and keep it different from gaming/comic apps I have.

jsd says:

That's a generic response. I've filed tons of bugs/enhancement request with Apple and more than 75% of them are closed with the exact same message. Of course they're "investigating" it... will it ever make it into a consumer release? Don't hold your breath. Apple makes their money on hardware. Why would they make it easy for a family to share one iPad? They want every family member to have their own!

West says:

And the iPad moves closer and closer to full pc functionality.
The iPad will cease to exist if this continues. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing (especially if this is an optional feature) but even giving people the choice adds complexity that is antithetical to the purported purpose of the iPad.
Too bad Microsoft seems destined to bungle every attempt to modernize and mobilize their o.s. A full, no-compromises tablet is what I wanted, but I'm not willing to wait forever (again) for yet another disappointment (ala HP).

Carlosalvarado says:

Once again another apple rumor that i seee potenitial in but people arent seeing the big picture, this wouldve worked for apple if they wouldve added this as part of buying icloud storage for a second account, thus having up to as many accounts on one device as you need, with a hefty price behind it, it would only work this way for people because im using a 64 gb ipad and with all my photos, music, apps, ibooks, movies and videos this amount of storage is not enough. Think about it Apple wants each person to have their own ipad, iphone, ipod its been making them money why change it now besides you dont want to hand over an ipad to just anyone i mean most people spend over a grand on their babies

garylapointe says:

It'd sell more iPads overall. IMHO.
Yes, some couples would only own one. But memory issues would eventually force families to get multiple models.
But letting other people use it would expand the experience for them and get them hooked. If it had multiple "logins", I'd set up one for my Mother and every time I went over there I'd have her check her mail and a few other things (without the 500 other apps on her screen). After a few visits she'd ditch her PC.
I think the same would go for people who have family who haven't gotten a computer yet.

Joe scro says:

There is a jailbreak tweak which already provides this. Not sure of the name anymore but the concept is the same. Has almost a "Windows-like" sign on feel

williamsbh76 says:

Slap a finger print scanner on there for me too! ;)

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Peter H says:

Use PrintnShare Pro - our medium sized business has been using it for months ; it means we all get access to our own files, emails and even websites ; this is great as it doesn't matter if you're in Marketing, sales or training when we fleet share our iPads; no one gets to see other data. They should really market this - it could be the next Angry Birds!