iPad mini 3 gold touch id hand

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an intriguing post over at The Loop which I felt raised a valid point about multi-user access in iOS, or the lack of.

It’s especially relevant in light of the fact that Android Lollipop enables multi-user support on phones.

Tablets, of course, have had this for nearly three years with Jelly Bean and up. Now, adding the ability to share your iPhone or iPad with someone else isn’t as trivial as it may appear at first sight as there are many technical hurdles to overcome.

On the other hand, can anyone imagine Apple not working on solving this pain point for its users? I mean, OS X supports multiple user accounts by design and iOS is basically a slimmed down version of OS X.

Anyways, is multi-user access one of those features the company should prioritize for the next major refresh of iOS, do you think?

Debating this with a few friends of mine the other day, I quickly ran up against a counter argument from certain naysayers who strongly oppose multi-users access because the iPhone and iPad were conceived as personal devices.

Be that as it may, it would be an awesome family sharing feature: parents would undoubtedly realize the value of being able to give their little ones an iPhone to use for a bit, knowing their secrets are safe.

Then there are those who nurture the view that multi-user support should be limited to the iPad or exclusively reserved for enterprise users.

Is multi-user access in iOS something you care about?

Cast your vote below.

Touch ID and a souped up version of iOS Restrictions could be tapped to give different people access to your device, but each one would first need to enroll their fingerprint on your device.

In my view, there should be a limited access feature — a guest account of sorts, if you will. This would be Godsent for ad-hoc device sharing. I just want to be able to borrow my device to a friend to look something up or play a song, for example, and resting assured that iOS would keep my private information and app data safe from prying eyes.

Make sense?

How do you suggest Apple go about implementing multi-user support in iOS and what safeguards should be put in place to protect the owner’s privacy?

  • Virus

    Apple wants you to purchase two iPads instead

    • Fajr Lodhi

      Yep, one for work, one for home!

  • rockdude094

    Why is there an I don’t care option? I wouldn’t bother voting if that was the case.

    • Franklin Richards

      Because if there are some people who don’t like others touching their gadgets because of fingerprints and oil marks etc. but don’t want others to miss out on a feature just because they personally don’t want it. So they couldn’t care. Great to know it’s there but won’t use it if not necessary.

  • Of course they should, but that has the potential of cutting down on profit, and that’s their number 1 priority…sadly.

    • Not quite sure how it’d cut down on profits. Most people and going to say “I don’t need to buy an iPad anymore I’ll just share”. I have no evidence to support this but would like to think that multi user support would benefit people that probably wouldn’t be an iOS device in the first place. If anything I’d think this could boost profits since people that wouldn’t normally buy an iOS device can share with someone else and if they like it they’ll buy apps (which Apple gets a cut) and if they really like it they’ll buy an iOS device of their own…

      • Sharing with another individual isn’t the only use of multiple user accounts you know. As I stated below, in this BYOD era, companies still want to keep their data safe while on your device. With multiple user accounts, you can have a personal account, and a restricted account (which you can link to your company’s data). Whereas in the case of the iPad/iPhone, you’ll be forced to either keep the entire device restricted, or buy two of the same device (profit for Apple).

      • Whereas in the case of the iPad/iPhone, you’ll be forced to either keep the entire device restricted, or buy two of the same device (profit for Apple). That’s why I see my iDevice colleagues with 2 iPhones.

        Or just not restrict your device and use it for both work and personal life…

      • Maybe your company would be ignoramus enough to do that. Not the case here.

      • The whole point of BYOD is to Bring Your Own Device and not Bring Your Own Device That You Are Only Going To Use For Work And Nothing Else (BYODTYAOGTUFWANE)…

      • Dude, they’re not saying bring your own device to use facebook like you’d normally do at home. They’re saying bring your own device to safely use at work, and take home with you for any other personal use. iOS devices, being so limited (no multiple user accounts), don’t allow that. Simple fact, no need for any nonsense sugar coating.

      • Why is it not possible to use an iOS device for both work and personal use? It sounds perfectly feasible to me…

      • ‘Cause they don’t give any way to separate and protect company data from personal data on the same device. Again, maybe your company is that ignoramus to not care about such problems, not the case here at my work place, hence why we see employees with two of the same iDevice.

      • You’re argument is invalid as soon as you consider the fact that if company data is so important you shouldn’t be relying on Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Insert_Company_Here to protect your data and you most certainly shouldn’t be allowing users to bring in their own device which could potentially contain malware and viruses…

      • Sounds like you’re having a hard time realizing that various company data have various levels of importance, and thus require various levels of restrictions. Either way, keep ignoramusly telling yourself that. Take the red pill whenever you’re ready…

    • Cameron

      if people wanted to share their iPads, they would just share it, even without specific features for it. Do people even buy non iPad tablets instead of iPads for the purpose of sharing it? Almost Never. But of course being you, you had to jump on the opportunity of bashing Apple.

      • George

        Um no, I don’t think a family iPad can be shared with a teen and a parent without worrying about your parents seeing your activity and such. Multi accounts with passwords is the way to go.

      • Is sharing the only use of multiple user accounts you can think of? Here’s some newbie insight for you.

        In this BYOD era, companies still want to keep their data safe while on your device. With multiple user accounts, you can have a personal account, and a restricted account (which you can link to your company’s data). Whereas in the case of the iPad, you’ll be forced to either keep the entire device restricted, or buy two of the same device (profit for Apple). Being you, you just had to get butt hurt by an Apple criticism, couldn’t bother thinking beyond your limited scope of use.

      • Cameron

        Limited scope = Majority.
        Your scope = Minority.

        Case in point, your explanation above.
        Most people do not share your interest of All in one transformers, including having multiple accounts in them.
        Most people could use dual sim function phones, most people would rather get two separate phones anyway.

        My limited scope usually sells more.

        Besides, if companies wanted to keep their data safe, they’d issue their employees a device whether or not they own an iPad, technically you are claiming that every who works these days own a tablet.

      • “Most people do not share your interest of All in one transformers, including having multiple accounts in them.”

        You sound just like BlackBerry and Nokia back in 2007. They were both shortsighted, looking at only their current sales. They played too-big to listen, and look where they are today. The same thing is already happening with the iPad (http://bit ly/1tVwdIy), and many are gaining interest in the Surface Pro, including former Mac users (http://bit ly/1tVwdIy). Apple, being Apple, is hypocritically bad mouthing the competition first, then they’ll eventually release their own version of the same thing (refrigerator toaster in this case). I bet you will eat those words when Apple releases their own version of the same thing.

        “Most people could use dual sim function phones, most people would rather get two separate phones anyway.”

        Uhm, where in the world did you draw that conclusion from? Your family again?

        “Besides, if companies wanted to keep their data safe, they’d issue their employees a device whether or not they own an iPad, technically you are claiming that everyone who works are forced to already have their own tablet.”

        Not sure how you came to that conclusion either. With devices that support the BYOD (bring your own device) scheme (such devices have multiple user account support), companies would rather save and be secure, than just be secure.

        “This article has absolutely no mention of your BYOD point, all the mention of sharing, and yet you find a way to bring some reasoning to your sole purpose of bashing”

        Sorry, I don’t limit my scope of thinking to an Apple blog’s articles, and definitely not to articles written by Christian Zibreg. Consider thinking outside the box.

    • Dean Johnson

      Every company’s main goal is to make profit

      • Customer satisfaction should be the top priority. Felt like it was with SJ leading Apple, barely the case with Tim Cook. Believe it or not, there are still companies, like T-Mobile, that make customer satisfaction their #1 priority.

      • Cameron

        where has Apple failed in customer satisfaction? they already have a no questions asked return policy, ive warranty replaced iphones in the past numerous times for minor faults (sometimes not really at all), with almost no questions asked. They have been and i think still is rank no.1 in customer satisfaction rating websites.

        Is it because they do no satisfy customers as they have made all their customers brainwashed sheep?

    • Mattoligy

      Well said

  • TJ

    Not quite sure how multi-user would be implemented due to the whole range of features that would need to be used by everyone registered on the one device.

    Take things like notifications, if an email or message comes through does it choose to show on the lock screen and if so who’s notifications does it show? The same with Notification Centre, who’s notifications and widgets are shown? If a user swipes up to access the camera which users camera roll does it save it to? Then there’s apps, if you purchase an app on your user account does that give everyone on the device access to it or is it user specific? If multiple users all have their own iCloud logins how does device backup work?

    Those are just a few examples but there’s many more features that just wouldn’t work with multiple users or would be difficult to implement. You could turn all these features off when multi-user access is enabled, but then it dumbs down your device for the sake of allowing multiple users.

    • It’s rather simple. You have a login screen and an icon on the homescreen to logout. Everything is stored in seperate folders so nothing gets mixed up…

      Of course implimenting the above in code is the difficult bit…

      • TJ

        That would rather dumb down the usability of the device. If you logout then you’re losing all access to any notifications and the ability to reply to them, no access to save photos taken with the camera, etc. You have to keep logging back in from the lock screen every time you wanted to have access to anything in much the same way that you do on a computer. I know that if it was my iPad being shared with other users I wouldn’t want to keep logging in and out all the time and I certainly wouldn’t want to lose the ability of being able to access things from the lock screen.

      • With what I proposed you’d still be logged in on the lockscreen and have notifications and what not until you logged out. Really though there’s multiple ways to pull off multi user support. If it’s definitely happening then I’m sure the brains at Apple have thought it all out in order to make it happen in a non-intrusive fashion.

    • Anonomous.TECH.man

      Android does it.

  • Inseltraeumer

    I don’t think that will happen, because Apple focuses with its products on those 10% of people with 90% of the world’s material wealth. They don’t even have to bother with thoughts such as sharing. Their customers can afford to buy more than one.

    • coLin

      interesting point. wealthy people don’t share lol

      • Inseltraeumer

        IF you think that’s what I was trying to say here, that’s unfortunate, but whatever

      • coLin

        No. The second sentence is my own conclusion. No sarcasm here

  • Hammam Boutafant

    I m going to create a whatsapp or telegram group to talk about iOS and Android too, contact:facebook or 0034631537416 (telegram or whatsapp)

  • Cameron

    This isnt the early 2000s where computers were expensive and families typically had one in the living room. Same goes with iPad, theres little reason to have multi-user support.

  • Der Faust

    that is a BIG, “YES!” :)… multi-user support/access should be iOS wide.

    • Der Faust

      heck…. use the whole continuity thing and allow us to log in to our macs with our iCloud accounts using the phone’s touch ID or something

      • Bugs Bunnay

        now that’s letting you’re imagination running wild. I never thought of it like that. hope apple picks this up!

      • radrabbit

        your best option is to use an app called fingerkey for what you want or my fav is knock just need Bluetooth on and set it up to unlock
        you knock on the device twice to access your mac
        windows coming soon
        they may have finger print recognition on newer iPhone for knock but im not sure as i have the iphone 5 which doesn’t have finger bio metrics

  • Ryan

    This is something that should be added before the addition of Force Touch

  • Andres

    Yes, but only for kids under the age of 15. Middle school age and below. We need to make sure kids are safe online

  • SteveJay

    For phones it’s useless IMHO but for Tablets makes absolutely sense having a multi user feature because most of the times, just like a PC, Tablets are a family device.

    Forget the nerds in this picture, we all know that we don’t share our devices with anyone…

  • Byron C Mayes

    Couldn’t care less *about* it.

    It’s extremely rare that anyone else uses my iPad, and nobody ever uses my phone for anything but the occasional phone call (which is not user-linked), so it’s irrelevant to me. If I ever have kids, they’ll get their own small-capacity wifi only tablet (maybe not even an iPad until they reach adolescence) while mine stays mine. Tablets are portable and relatively inexpensive and they don’t have nearly the space of a desktop. No need to share.

    If someone else wants to share their limited capacity with their teenager or spouse, let ’em. But if Apple does implement this it had better not impede on my ability to continue using as I do now, or put me at greater risk for hacks.

  • Rowan09

    Personally it doesn’t really matter if they allow multiuser access on my iPhone or iPad. I’m not going to let someone have the same right to my phone since it’s a personal device. On my iPad i wouldn’t want it either because of the limited amount of space. If the iPad had 400Gb then sharing wouldn’t be an issue for me.

  • IlIl

    Not only this could be used for multi-user settings, it could be used as profile. One user for work and another for personal.

  • John

    I thought that Apple won’t do it cause another company has the patent that allows multi user on portable devices. I think google owns it or something so maybe apple dont wanna pay royalties until the market is more ready for it.

  • Andrieux Querido

    The Ios already takes a lot of Space on the SSD, we dont need more.

  • MacGuru96

    Definitely. They should’ve added it years ago.

  • john diaz

    Yes for those nosy people.

  • Tommy

    Pointless discussion as even if 100% voted yes Apple wouldn’t do shit. They give you what they give you, and you take it as is. No complaints. Nada.

  • Vamsi VVK

    Yes! for iPad

  • Bugs Bunnay

    it may be a nice feature, but better make it the lowest priority on the development department and fix whatever bugs iOS may still have.

  • Andrew

    Because I doubt Apple will ever do this, I recommend GuestMode on Cydia for $0.99. It’s a really well made tweak and I use it all the time when I lend my friends my phone.

  • iPhoneWINS

    Yes will be useful to many people

  • Lagax

    Are People still sharing computers these days even?! And if you have to share an iPhone, how can you afford having one in the first place? I think it would make the user experience worse, almost nobody (especially non-techie) will use it and it’s just going to “sit in the corner” and would be a huge challenge for apple for nothing.

  • QuarterSwede

    I refuse to buy multiple iPads for my family until it can do everything my MacBook can do. I’m waiting for multiuser accounts or a much more powerful iPad.

  • Alberto Espinal

    Why should I share by iPad with anyone, go buy your own!

  • Lagax

    iPhones and iPads are very personal devices… Especially iPhone, multi-user for them would hurt user experience very badly.

  • radrabbit

    Apple earns more then the US government in cash flo surely that cant be the issue or can it i think it is.
    Did you know apple are now working on a car as we speak come on whats next

    To me this is simple apple loses in sales from iPads if it were to go through
    but regains profit in itunes and app purchases with multiple user accounts added
    think how many people cant buy apple product due to cash issues
    but would have to sign up for an account per user if multi user was added
    you would make it back in sales of apps and music that people would buy that wouldn’t normally have a device like that for themselves


    I’m a father i have 8 kids i am not spending $13,000 to have an iPad for each of them
    and then have separate accounts for each of my kids purchases as well
    plus for myself my iMac iphone and ipad
    what about the people that cant buy another one or wont buy another for work and home plus kids we need this added asap

    my kids drive me nuts when one of them deletes an app the other was playing separating it would make sense and save me drama app support would be great to
    one install of an app if both want to play it it goes in the shared folder and depending on which account your in it would show the scores accordingly
    it would be great if it were like mac admin user standard user and parental account setup
    where there is no access to each others files apart from one shared folder every user can access multi share game info or other shared info that is stored and loaded into apps to save space and the need to install multiple copies of a single app for each user
    separating everything for security is best
    to force purchase of apps multiple times to make up money is what they will do
    they could make it were each account has to purchased the app
    if the other accounts haven’t purchased the same app then no play
    everyone has to of purchased the same app for it to share and access it in the shared folder
    for the purpose of game score sharing, single app install for all users
    and it has to swap info accordingly for each user