kid iPad

Google just this week released iOS and Android versions of its YouTube apps that are specifically tailored for kids. On the face of it, and especially to those not in possession of a little bundle of joy or two, the move may seem a bit superfluous. If you do happen to have a two-year-old that’s obsessed with watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos though, it’ll make absolutely perfect sense.

In fact, mine loves using the iPad in general, not just for catching up on what latest shenanigans Thomas and his band of merry locomotives have managed to get themselves into. He has games that revolve around Thomas, or Peppa Pig for that matter. He likes to use the app that lets him tap parts of an image and paint it. Sort of like those felt-lined things we used to color in with markers when we were kids. Or at least we did in the UK.

Regardless of whether you had the pleasure of not having to worry about staying between the lines or not, there’s little argument that kids enjoy an iPad, and mine certainly enjoys the iPad 2. I didn’t buy it specifically for him by the way, I’m not that bad. It was handed down for his enjoyment and no doubt subsequent destruction at the hands of a cup of juice. He almost enjoys it too much, but that’s a discussion for another time.

What I want to discuss right now is the lack of user accounts on iOS devices.

Now I know this has been argued ever since the first iPad put in its much anticipated appearance back in 2010, but I’m going to get into it again now. Partly because it’s just starting to affect me, and so now I suddenly care, but mostly because it’s the kind of feature many thought would get added in due course. Yet here we are, iOS 8 and a handful of hardware revisions later and still we’re bereft of user accounts on iOS. It may not matter on an iPhone because it’s an inherently personal device, but tablets? Well, they’re not.

So why do I suddenly have a bee in my bonnet about user accounts, or the lack thereof? Well, I’m sick and tired of things going missing.

I keep finding photos deleted from Dropbox. I keep finding photos of the boy’s feet in Photo Stream. I end up with apps that disappear because he’s figured out how to make the icons jiggle around and it’s funny. Deleting them is just a byproduct.

Now I know that at least 100% of you are now screaming at your screens that I should enable the various parental controls that Apple has seen fit to add to iOS over the years, and to a point you’re right. I can stop apps from being deleted easily enough right there. It’s not rocket science.

Oh, and I can stop photos from appearing in Photo Stream by turning it off. I can stop Dropbox files from going walkabout by either deleting the app or protecting it with a PIN. But that doesn’t cover the other apps that I have signed into Dropbox, and not all have a PIN feature to enable.

More importantly, I shouldn’t need to do all this at all.

See, while the iPad 2 in the household is ostensibly the boy’s, it also gets used by my wife when needed and I pick it up when the iPad mini 2 is hiding in my bag or wherever I threw it after another failure playing AG Drive. So, it needs to have Photo Stream on. It needs Dropbox. It needs my apps and yes, I need to be able to manage the 16GB of storage by deleting things. I’m human, and have been known to forget things every once in a while. Forget to turn parental controls back on after a marathon app purge and the boy continues my take-no-prisoners cull for me, whether I want him to or not.

I’m acutely aware that some of the problems can be fixed by fiddling, by remembering to flick switches each and every time I use the iPad in question and just generally being better at everything. I know that Guided Access will stop him from being able to switch out of whatever app I launch for him too. Apart from he constantly wants to switch between his favorite apps in a seemingly bi-minute basis. It’s doable, yes. Is it realistic? Not on your life.

Maybe I shouldn’t have such high expectations, but that’s not the kind of thinking we tend to follow as Apple fans and users.

What’s so infuriating is that all of this could be so easily fixed with a feature to switch accounts. I could have my account, with all the bells and whistles turned on. I could have one that my wife has set up for her accounts, and I could have another that has my son’s games installed and whatever apps I choose available to him. I could, if I wanted, even stop Wi-Fi from working on a per-account basis too, but maybe I’m thinking too much at this point.

It’s this kind of thing that I expect Apple to excel at – giving users the power to do what suits their circumstances. Instead we get ads that show people making movies or musicians peddling Garageband-inspired music. All I want is a way to lock the thing down depending on who uses the thing.

Is it really too much to ask in 2015, of a company that seems to reckon it can make electric cars?

Oh, and before everyone starts; yes I know letting a 2-year-old use an iPad will stunt his growth, make him single for his entire life and stop him from ever getting a job. He’ll probably grow up to be a mute recluse too. We all know iPads do that.

  • RarestName

    TIL iPads are evil

  • Dane Ayres

    Well said well said @Oliver Haslam. I really hope this article reaches the right eyes and ears.

    • John

      Why is that?

      The author admits that the device he is giving his son, Apple created as a personal device not as a device that’s meant to be shared.

      Can you imagine storing user settings in a device, imagine how much more data is going to be taken up by that. These poor people with only 16GB devices are going to be screaming murder EVEN LOUDER of profiles are included on an iPad.

      • George

        It’s called android 5.0, it does that.

      • Benedict

        right, multiuser in 5.0 for phones and 4.2 (2012) for tablets.

      • John

        Actually, this makes my point for me.
        Thank you.

        Both Android and Windows tables are set up to be multiuser devices, not individual/personal devices.

        Your point is my point.
        Again, thank you.

      • smtp25

        So your saying because of apples original lack of vision around the way iPads are used in the real world they should never support profiles? From your experiences iPads are not shared, but for most families they are shared, whether it’s an older iPad 2 for the kids to us or a newer iPad that’s kept handy on the coffee table for anyone to use when needed

      • matts1

        Oh wow, you singlehandedly got Android 5.0 to work on an Apple device?! You are a genius! Where can I try it out?

      • Dane Ayres

        Totally understand what you are saying. But thats where family sharing that’s built into ios8 will be greatly appreciated by users. We all know Apple’s track record about fading out certain technologies and replacing them. Don’t you think it’s time they fade out 16GB devices and sell 32GB for the 16GB price? But I’m sure they will soon phase it out. They could even limit the iOS to 2 or 3 user profiles. Then again that will be a next issue with some people. “Can’t please everyone.”

      • John

        Absolutely.
        The “Why does Apple still sell 16GB devices” baffles me, as does the people who buy them….but we digress.

        I assume if Apple is planning on releasing a product that performs multitasking, they would want to do it right…….ect.

      • Dane Ayres

        True

      • John

        …and hey, let’s not start on Apple and their choice for this years storage size “16, 64, 128”

        How random!

      • Dane Ayres

        Haha let’s not get started but it would be great to have a 256GB Apple device without the exorbitant price and no more 16GB.

      • John

        I’m doing more and more photography work, so ideally I would LOVE to see a 256GB iPad “Pro” (with/without stylus I’m not fussed) with an easy method for me to upload photos to it……Does the Memory Card Reader even come in a lightening connection version??

      • smtp25

        Random?!? Or obvious. 16gb is the minimum entry point 32 is virtually same cost as 64, and 128 is the premium. Sure they could have kept the 32 but that means more skus to keep on hand and it throws the price points off as they don’t want to sell th lowest model for less than the 16gb price.

      • Then Apple should quit ripping off those “poor people” (as you call them) with the nonsense 16GB storage. Storage is dirth cheap, Microsoft’s base Surface RT model was 32GB and it was still cheaper and offered way more potential uses as an ARM tablet.

      • Benedict

        It is a ripoff indeed. In contrast to this, you can get an Android tablet/phone with SD Card-Slot up to 128GB – if you need more you can swap cards…

      • smtp25

        And sd cards gave proven to be a reliable solution not. Android has limitations around what you can store on your sd card too and even androids have 16gb models as its a price point, if you want to spend 100$ on a 128gb class 10 card go for it.

      • Benedict

        Why not reliable? Drop your phone and a SD card from your roof or into water and see which one works 🙂 And what kind of limitation do you mean? You can store your large (media) files or move apps on it. And since I can swap as many SD cards as I want, I would rather buy 3x 64 GB for 30€ each, got 192 GB and still save 100€ compared to a 128 GB iPhone.

      • smtp25

        Don’t you have to pop the back cover off to switch cards? That must be fun. Where do you carry these extra cards? You can run all apps off sdcard though can you?

      • John

        Where did my reply go….
        Right. Let’s start again.

        I completely agree with you. This is one thing that annoyed me with Apple and glad they fixed with their desktop/portables a few years ago–The prices of their upgraded parts is more in line with the real world.

        I don’t know why Apple have kept a 16GB device, it makes no sense at all and as for “poor people”, I wasn’t referring to them in terms of financially challenges but rather poor as in feeling sorry for them.

      • smtp25

        Because it’s entry level.. Theyd prefer you buy the 64gb for hundreds more (for $20 worth of chips)

      • Cameron

        its as if the 64gb or 128gb really justifies the price any better. If you dont need the space but still want an iPad, money saved is still money saved. Cant afford an iPad then get a xiaomi or huawei, Apple is still a semi-luxury brand, i wouldnt be happy if they actually priced it dirt cheap.

      • Luxury my ass. Doen’t need be dirth cheap, has to actually justify it’s price tag with useful stuff besides a useless brand logo. Regardless, separate yourself from your money all you want.

      • Cameron

        Apple is semi luxury, Sebastian page was talking about this the other day. Is there a way for you to prove otherwise on this? I’d like to see. How can you make such a dumb comment like “has to actually justify it’s price tag with useful stuff besides a useless brand logo.” Are you against the luxury item market now? There’s thousands of brands out there who sell by their logo, please. Like I said, “it’s as if the 64gb and 128gb models really justify the price any better”. If you want true price to specs value, and don’t care about brand logo, you already know who to buy from.

      • In the case of Apple, Luxury is all baseless opinion, and it doesn’t add any value in for sure. Building this weak tin can sh*t (bit. ly/1sQlf29) ain’t “quality” in my book, maybe you accept it as such, all your opinion. Luxury products are said to last much longer due to their quality, perhaps for generations. That’s how it is with Mercedes vehicles, Rolex wrist wathes, etc. If you’re too dumb to realise it, Apple’s products don’t last any longer than the equivalent priced competition product, they’re just outrageously overpriced and offer less for the money, in terms of both features and versatility/usability.

        So, again, that luxury claim is BS IMO and is no justification for Apple’s overpriced products. If I want actual uses for my money, then I know not to outroght buy Apple’s products.

      • Cameron

        actually, luxury is subjective and your opinion is obviously your opinion, as long as they price it high and people actually buy them for it, they are considering it to be luxury. Apple’s quality meanwhile is not the best neither is it the worst, there are people selling iphone 2G at a high price online at this moment. Rolex and Mercedes are just two examples, theres plenty of other luxury brands that dont churn out quality neither do they last for generations, in fact, fashion only lasts for a couple of years and theres plenty of luxury fashion brands. Ive never seen anyone more narrow minded than you, not everything falls into price performance ratio.

        Follow up, even newish companies have called themselves luxury or boutique if they sell at a high price and push that they are in fact of better quality, in tech, eg. Razer. Theres no guarantee it will last for generations. (Razer is actually notorious for its terrible built quality) The difference is that Apples high priced products actually sell, making it hard to dispute that they are not luxury items.

      • Right, by that broad definition of luxury, anything expensive that sells is induldged/desired by the buyer, making it luxury. In that case, Apple is just as luxury as any other tech giant. But you being you, you’re just such a narrow minded numbskull thinking it only attains to your divine corporation, Apple, and is a reason for their overpriced stuff. Such iDiocracy.

        You literally just keep contradicting yourself in trying to justify Apple’s overpriced sh*t. I’d suggest you go and do your research outside the Apple store then maybe you’d learn to think for yourself.

      • smtp25

        How much of that 32gb was usable, about 16?

      • 24GB, plus you could easily expand it with a $30 64GB MicroSD card.

      • Jon B.

        Regarding your first sentence, the author doesn’t say that at all: “It may not matter on an iPhone because it’s an inherently personal device, but tablets? Well, they’re not.”

      • John

        I agree to an extent.
        Tablets are more ‘communial’ then phones but still, Apple has this perception that they are personal devices designed for YOU and YOUR eyes to do YOUR work on, rather then what happens in real life where you may (for example) show people photos or someone may pick up your device and search the web.

        It’s the issue we had in the Jobs era, where Apple had an idea and stuck to it when in reality, it wasn’t that way at all.

      • Jon B.

        I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another. I was merely pointing out that you were misquoting the author. 😉

      • John

        Shit. I did too.
        Thanks.

      • Jon B.

        Always happy to be a pedant!

      • jaysoncopes

        Your whole argument revolves around the lack of expandability and user-friendliness, which I find ironic.

        Apple has clearly been moving in the direction of family-orientedness. Their whole move to iCloud from MobileMe is an excellent example of that- just look at the name change.

        If people want to use their devices to something similar to that and use more data, that sounds fine. And there’s plenty of developer techniques that would be used to save storage. Maybe it would even be something only available on the 32GB+ models? Marketing technique right there!

        Overall, your argument fails to prove anything, let alone have a purpose in this forum.

      • John

        Huh?

      • QuarterSwede

        I refuse to buy an iPad for each family member.

      • John

        That’s good to know and no one has said you should…but you are aware in its current form, the iPad is not designed to be shared by multiple users.

      • QuarterSwede

        Which is why I haven’t bought one on principle.

    • Benedict

      Good article which reflects the current and past situation. Though I would have wished that the author also mentions and compares alternative mobile OSs e.g. Android to show that it is indeed possible to provide a multiuser function.

  • Freddy Born

    sick

  • Benedict

    As an Android User – reading the article with all it downsides in e.g. a family enviroment, I am curious what is the consequence not having a multiuser function on iOS for you?
    Will you wait another 3 years for Apple to implement it? Is the bond to Apple (spended money on apps, other devices of Apple, Fanboism, lack of interest to alternatives) stronger than common sense to get what fullfills my requirements of a multiuser device (or other/more features)? Or – do people just not know things like this already exist? Please reply and share your thoughts…

    • jaysoncopes

      It’s more like Apple products are worth our time because, especially amongst the jailbreak community, we believe Apple has created higher-quality products than Google. Just the fact that we don’t run off of Java alone makes me content.

      • Benedict

        Quality is also a question of user experience and function. Regarding the problem described in the article – the quality of this Apple product is insufficent. Moreover Google is not Android. If you want high quality products (in your eyes perhaps Aluminum), you can get devices with this feature from HTC, Samsung, Sony etc. And – with feature missing like multiuser (and this is only one important thing) you can’t call these products “worth” anymore because worth depends on the daily changing market.

      • jaysoncopes

        Actually, quality would not be defined by user experience. In the production world, there’s what’s called “Quality Control,” an entire department designed to ensure that screens are in tip-top shape, casings are scratch-free, etc. Of course it goes much further than that (speed testing and more internal functionality), but I hope you get the idea.

        As to your last comment, it’s been proven that iOS (Cocoa Touch, mind you) CAN and has had the capability to run multiple users through multiple jailbreak tweaks over the past couple of years, but the article discusses why Apple hasn’t added this as a default functionality.

      • Benedict

        Seems we have different views on “quality” in case of smartphones. You mean the manufacturing quality, I’m into the overall quality which includes the software – which the article was about.

  • deepdvd

    So… break away from Apple’s jail and do what you want. GuestMode, IconLock7. Let me guess, you upgraded to 8.1.3 because you love to bow down and worship Apple’s dictatorship. Jailbroken iOS > Android > Stock iOS

    • jaysoncopes

      Is GuestMode updated for iOS 8?

      • deepdvd

        I don’t have it, but the spreadsheet says it works. Just google “ios 8.1.2 compatibility list”

    • Benedict

      Inadmissible argument: We talk about stock OS here which is used by the bigger part of users.
      Else: rooted Android >Jailbroken iOS > Android > Stock iOS

      • deepdvd

        “We talk about stock OS here”… We are on the same site, right? iDownloadBlog? The one that talks about jailbreaking, you know, quite often? How exactly is it an inadmissible argument? I’m just addressing the fact that he didn’t mention the option of jailbreaking, even once, in the article.

      • Benedict

        Correct, he didn’t even mention jailbreaking. The reason is that he addresses a general known issue of iOS. Jailbreaking with Cydia’s GuestMode doesn’t change that. It still has no multiuser interface.

      • deepdvd

        True. Yet it would still address his current concerns. He should have at least said something like, “I’m whining about this issue, hoping that Apple will change it because I’m not willing to jailbreak for reasons, X, Y, and Z”

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Lol good well written article. Android has had this for a while now,and I can say from experience it works well. Their are a few jailbreak tweaks that sorta work but when its something like this direct apple implementation is the best.

  • Awesome, glad an iDB writer finally figured out the uses of multiple accounts. Too bad Apple is still not interested in giving their users such money-saving feature, they want you to buy one for you and your kid.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Well, if one hands over their iPad to their 2-year-old… What does one expect?

    Either wait until the child (infant!) is older and knows better or get him a used iPad Mini with a rugged case–JUST FOR HIS OWN USE.

    Handing down your iPad yet putting your wife into a shared 2nd class status is the problem– “Here, share the iPad with the 2-year-old”–and expecting to use his device as your own is the problem.

    Even with “his” iPad, you do NOT need to have Drop Box, Photos, etc, turned on. Just find your Mini!

    Now, having said all that, I still agree that user accounts would be good–a simple on/off icon in the control center–even with the user’s name. Just tap on the kid’s name and hand it over. When you want it back, tap,on your name.

    Of course, then what will happen is that you (or your wife) will one day forget to tap your own name off and kid will be off to the races! With gobs deleted everywhere! And, you’ll be writing a new column about the need for Apple to integrate Touch ID into the user controls, so it all happens automatically.

    —————————————————-

    Jonny, you can steal my idea. It’s probably already coming in iOS 9.