What we have on a Mac is mainstay of Unix and Linux systems. Multi-user support. That’s right. Your Mac can be set up for you, your spouse, and any number of the family’s children. Each with their own app usage and user space for photos, music, Documents and everything else; safe and secure from each other. Why don’t we have multi-user support on iOS?
About The Benjamins
My wife and I share a common password for our iPhones and iPads. That makes it easy for each of use to gain access to the other’s device; good for emergencies and convenience, and neither one of us is worried about it. For iPhone and iPad– prior to Face ID on iPhone X– we even shared a common fingerprint. She would use the forefinger and thumb on her devices; twice for each one. On the 5th option we would use one finger to gain access via Touch ID. It’s a convenience thing, but it’s not multi-user support which would, as it does on the Mac, give each user their own space on the device.
Where is multi-user support for iPhone and iPad? Don’t hold your breath? What about multi-user Face ID for iPhone X? Will. Not. Happen.
What’s the problem? It’s not a technical issue. iOS for iPhone and iPad is based upon Mac OS X which, with its Unix heritage, is true multi-user from the get go. There is no technical reason why Apple could not implement a similar multi-user access into iPhone and iPad, but it won’t.
It’s all about the benjamins. Money. Imagine an iPad with multi-user access whereby each user could have their own space; photo and video storage, music storage, applications, and settings. That means one iPad would or could suffice for a family of four. By eliminating multi-user access on iOS Apple can sell four iPads. Or, at least, a new iPad every year or so while older iPads get handed down within the family. Still, it’s four iPads vs. one multi-user iPad.
iPhones are different, right? Yes. And no. Yes, because most of us have a single phone number and we’re the user and don’t share iPhones with anyone else. Still, I see plenty of parents who hand over their iPhone to their younger children while they’re out dining or shopping, and a multi-user mode or guest access mode would be very handy, right?
There is a difference between having multiple users be able to access an iPhone or iPad via Touch ID or Face ID vs. multi-user access as it is with macOS. Yet, Apple could easily set up both Touch ID and Face ID so that when a different face unlocks the device, iPhone and iPad go into multi-user mode, with each user having access only to their files.
Other than convenience for customers, what’s in it for Apple?