One of the biggest advantages Apple Inc.’s (NADAQ:AAPL) tablet competitors hold over the iPad is the support for multiple user accounts. With the exception of the education market, AAPL’s stance has always been one iPad, one user. But that could change with iOS 11. A new report claims the latest version of Apple’s tvOS for the Apple TV includes support for multiple accounts. And if that’s the case, there’s a possibility we would see iOS multi-user capability as well, when Apple introduces iOS 11 at WWDC 2017.
On the surface, a tablet being able to support multiple user accounts may not seem like a big deal. But for many people — especially families — it is. Since Apple first started selling iPads, consumers have had the choice of buying one for each person in their family, or dealing with the consequences of everyone sharing the same Apple user ID.
Why Support for Multiple User Accounts Matters
Because there is no iOS multi-user support, this means that if a parent let a child borrow their iPad, any changes that child made would stick when the adult went to use it. That includes apps downloaded (or deleted), preferences and user settings changed. In addition, the person borrowing the iPad would have full access to any content, including potentially sensitive documents and photos.
With kids trying to share a single iPad, this is a virtual guarantee of non-stop fighting that simply isn’t worth the hassle for most parents.
Apple’s tablet competition supports multiple user accounts on one device. Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows tablets support multi-user login. Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) introduced multiple user support for tablets with Android 4.2 in 2012. Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Fire tablets offer Household Profiles with support for two adults and four children on each device, with shared content access plus private content and personal settings based on who’s signed in on the device.
Apple May be Working on iOS Multi-User Support for iOS 11
9to5Mac picked up on a report from The Verifier that claims AAPL is adding support for multiple accounts to the next version of tvOS for the Apple TV.
What does this have to do with iPads? AAPL’s tvOS is based on iOS. If Apple introduces a fundamental feature like support for multiple accounts in tvOS, there’s a good chance the same capability is built into iOS. With that new version of tvOS scheduled to be unveiled at WWDC 2017 in June, that means we may just hear about iOS multi-user support when Apple takes the wraps off iOS 11 at that same event.
And Apple did build in a form of support for multiple users on iPads — available exclusively to the education market — with iOS 9.3 in early 2016.