Apple patent hints at ‘Home on iPod’ Mac OS X Leopard feature

Apple’s new US Patent 7,120,785 “describes a ‘method and apparatus rendering user accounts portable’, whereby a user account can be stored to an external storage device and moved to another computer,” Simon Aughton reports for PC Pro.

‘The multi-user computer system, eg. through its operating system, locates user accounts not only in local storage of the multi-user computer system, but also in any removable data storage attached to the multi-user computer system,’ the patent says. ‘Hence, by coupling the external, portable data store to another multi-user computer, a user is able to login to any supporting multi-user computer and be presented with their user configuration and user directory.’ The patent goes on to explain that the user account may be stored alongside general data storage or ‘other functionality’.

Full article here.
“Home on iPod” finally coming soon? It would make sense with flash-based iPod capacity growing (those tiny hard drives on older and full size iPods aren’t really designed to perform as “Home on iPod” would require).

Hopefully, the cut-at-the-last-minute “Home on iPod” Mac OS X 10.3 Panther feature will show up in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. MacRumors has a cached page of’s long-lost mention of the feature for Mac OS X 10.3 Panther:

Home away from home
Ever thought you could carry your home in the palm of your hands or in your pocket? You can. Panther’s Home on iPod feature lets you store your home directory – files, folders, apps – on your iPod (or any FireWire hard drive) and take it with you wherever you go. When you find yourself near a Panther-equipped Mac, just plug in the iPod, log in, and you’re “home,” no matter where you happen to be. And when you return to your home computer, you can synchronize any changes you’ve made to your files by using File Sync, which automatically updates offline changes to your home directory.

Related articles:
RUMOR: 4G iPod to include video capabilities, ‘Home on iPod’ – May 13, 2004
Migo Personal for iPod announced, take your Windows PC settings with you in your iPod – October 05, 2004


  1. Now all Apple needs is to open up MacOS as a REAL multi-user system. Plug that iPod into a Mac and have a seat in front of the 2nd monitor/keyboard/mouse and use it WHILE SOMEONE ELSE IS USING THEIR ACCOUNT on the primary monitor/keyboard/mouse.

    Think of that for a sec. Two people in adjacent cubicles, or two people in the same house, using the same Mac at the same time. OK, so Apple needs to charge a little more for the OS that supports that cause it’s gonna cut into their profits a bit, selling one less Mac here & there. They could make it so if two users were active that no one user could hog all the cores if they were doing something intensive.

    I’d pay $300 more for it. Would would you pay?

  2. Wingsy,
    Interesting idea and I think may be feasible from a hardware standpoint quite soon. I could certainly see dual core – dual processor systems being able to handle this. I doubt that this is coming in Leopard. 10.6 maybe???

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