Apple delivers multi-user support for iPad – in schools only

Apple’s iOS 9.3 preview describes features for educattion, some of which have long been requested by users, especially multi-user support. Unfortunately, it seems the highly-sought-after feature is only for education at this time.

Features for education include:

• Shared iPad for students: Students can log in to any iPad in any classroom and make it their own.

• New Classroom app: Teachers can guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track.

• Apple School Manager: Now admins have one portal where they can do everything from create Apple IDs to purchase apps to prepare devices for MDM.

• Managed Apple IDs: A new kind of ID for education, Managed Apple IDs are created and assigned by the school.

As soon as students log in to an iPad, they have access to all their apps, books, and documents. So when class is ready to start, they are, too. For students who use the same assigned iPad in a class each day, starting a lesson is hassle-free. Thanks to intelligent caching, when students log in they don’t have to wait for everything to download — it’s already there.

More info via Apple here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, multi-user support would certainly be useful for families, too. You know, like we have on our Macs with OS X.

So, how ’bout it, Apple?

What’s more important to Apple: User satisfaction or intentionally limiting iOS in order to try to maximize iPad unit sales?

As we wrote over three and a half years ago in May 2012:

It would be relatively trivial to bring at least Fast User Switching over to iOS from OS X. That Apple hasn’t done so long ago suggests to us that they’d rather sell an iPad to every family member than a single iPad per family.

If we’re right about why iOS still doesn’t have multi-user support, then Apple’s wrong.

Not only are they failing to “delight customers,” but they are failing to realize that it won’t impinge iPad sales, but enhance them. Enabling multi-user support, makes the iPad even more attractive to families and, once families get their first iPad, they quickly realize that they need more than one. One iPad, even between only two people, just isn’t enough.

Enabling multi-user support will actually end up selling more iPads. So, get on the ball, Apple. Enable multi-user support in iOS already!

(If it’s a storage space issue, make the feature available as “dual-user” on 32 GB iPads and “up to four users” on 64GB models. That’d give more incentive to buy more spacious and higher priced models and, since Apple already sells a 16GB model, they tacitly endorse 16GB as the base requirement for an iPad user.)

Apple ‘currently investigating’ iOS multi-user support – May 7, 2012


  1. the obvious opportunity, to me, is to enable multi-user login triggered by TouchID. Wouldn’t that make so much sense. Of course you would need a primary Admin login and then User logins but that could all be managed with TouchID, as well. The problem with a multi-user device is that Apple sells less iPads this way.

  2. “What’s more important to Apple: User satisfaction or intentionally limiting iOS in order to try to maximize iPad unit sales?_

    Who says this is what Apple was doing? You make it sound like this was some simple feature that Apple could’ve just flipped on with a switch. Android tablets have it but the implementation sucks.

    1. Please. OS X, from whence iOS is derived, has had multi-user support for many years.

      As a developer I know it is relatively TRIVIAL to implement.

      Apple withholds this useful feature for some reason. MDN is correct, as usual.

      1. OSX has its multi user issues, so I’d like to see those fixed before they bring that situation to iOS. It USED to be pretty solid, but there’s a problem now that will, out of nowhere, logs all users out, taking you back to the login screen, losing work in the progress.

        However as a developer, I’m sure you can post a link to YOUR OS so we can try it out, you know, since it’s so trivial to create it.

  3. I suppose one possible side effect could be lowered App/iTunes sales due to families only purchasing a single copy vs copies for each member of the family.. Also should family members pass away their purchased media/Apps wouldn’t be ‘lost’ to every other family member.

  4. Multiuser would be extremely useful in the enterprise as well. It would make it much easier to manage the BYOD world. A user could have their crap under their username, and the company stuff could be separate. Both worlds protected from one another. It’s not about selling more iPads.

    Pretty chicken shit Apple.

  5. This is finally a partial response to having lost their huge lead in the education sector (see MDN Chromebooks article from about 2 weeks ago). But this stuff should come to home users, too. As big an Apple fan as I am, my daughter’s first tablet was an Amazon Fire received for Christmas, $36 on Black Friday, $49 regular price. It allows two adult and four kid accounts with strict parental controls, if desired. And a micro-SD card slot for memory expansion. Not as nice as an iPad mini, but most of what she needs at 1/8th the price. If they won’t compete on price, Apple needs to at least provide such desired features as multiuser support for families.

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