Does the iPad Support Multiple Users?

There is no easy way to switch between multiple users with different settings, configurations, and apps with the iPad directly out of the box. The iPad is designed to be a single user device, which means the central login is stored in the iPad's settings. This login controls access to the app store and iTunes store but doesn't save information such as which icons to display on the device or where to display them.  

This extends to apps like Safari, which will keep track of bookmarks and web history for all users rather than a specific user.

How to arrange your iPad for multiple users

While it is possible to log in and out of multiple Apple IDs on the same iPad, this is impractical when it comes to actually using the iPad. This doesn't change the settings or the layout of the iPad. It only allows purchases to go to a certain account or specific subscription services to work. 

It will also get old very fast, which is why it may be easier to simply arrange your iPad to be used by multiple users 

  • Create a folder on the first page of the Home Screen for each user. The folder should contain apps that are only used by that person. This will make it much easier to find and use specific apps.
  • Get used to using Spotlight Search to launch apps. Two users mean the iPad is much more likely to become filled with apps, which may make it harder to find certain apps. Spotlight Search is the easiest way to launch apps even with a single user and can be a must-have feature for more than one user.
  • Download separate email apps. The default Mail app is very good for managing multiple email accounts, but the default view will put all email messages in a unified inbox. It can be easier to use specific email clients like the Yahoo or Gmail app for one user and the unified mailbox for the other user.
  • Use two different browsers. Safari is the default browser for the iPad, but you can also download Chrome or Firefox. This will allow each user to keep track of their own favorite bookmarks.
  • Decide who will use a third-party app for social media and who will use the web browser. While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have third-party apps, you can use a web browser for these services as well. This allows both users to stay logged into their respective accounts.  Not that sharing photos and videos from the iPad will go to the account logged into the 'official' app and not the account logged in through the web browser.

What if I'm a parent and I want to both childproof the device and still use it?

It's certainly possible for multiple people to use the iPad, but this becomes a little more difficult when the iPad is going to be used by small children. It's easy enough to childproof an iPad to restrict the ability to download age-inappropriate apps, the music of movies, but this disables those features for parents as well.

Another problem parents run into is the iPad's insistence on resetting restrictions when you disable them. So if you wanted to gain access to the Safari browser by disabling restrictions, you would need to turn Safari (and every other restriction) back off again when you enabled the restrictions.

This can make it impractical if you want to restrict web access when the kids use the device and still have it when you use the device.

Jailbreaking may be the only solution. 

I don't recommend jailbreaking an iPad. Downloading apps outside of Apple's ecosystem means the apps don't go through Apple's testing process, which means it is possible to download malware. However, apps can do a lot more to customize your experience on a jailbroken device, including apps designed to help those who want multiple accounts and experienced for their iPad.

This certainly isn't a good solution for a parent wanting to share the iPad with their kids but could be a good solution for friends or family members who want multiple accounts. Lifehacker has an excellent article on how to set this up. However, jailbreaking is only recommended for more advanced users. Find out more about jailbreaking the iPad.