How to Share an iPad
By choice or necessity, nowadays many of us find ourselves sharing an iPad with someone else in the house or in the office. Personally, up until now I didn't think an iPad would add anything to my laptop/iPhone workflow, so I haven't bothered to do more than just add a few bookmarks and download a few apps to my husband's iPad. But when I saw that a new generation of pressure-sensitive stylus pens were shipping for the iPad (and a bunch of painting and drawing apps were making use of the new technology), I thought it might be time to replace my paper sketch pad with a digital sketchpad.
So I arranged to borrow my husband's iPad and began to download the pressure-sensitive drawing and painting apps to my iTunes account on my computer. Then at some point I realized that I didn't know how to install my apps onto my husband's iPad, so I searched the web for instructions on how to do this. That's when I began to worry. What I assumed would be a simple switching of users accounts, didn't seem possible at all.
If you read the various discussion boards about sharing iPads, most sources emphatically state you simply can cannot share an iPad. There are also a number of threads warning that logging in with a different iTunes account is possible, but it will cause all existing apps from the original account to be deleted from the iPad. Frankly there were so many naysayers, I didn't think it would work. But after giving it a shot, I'm here to report that installing apps from multiple accounts on one iPad can be done, and it's really not difficult. The process requires two Apple IDs, and one iOS device running either iOS 6 or iOS 7.
Switching Accounts in iOS
1. Back up, just in case. Because I'd read all kinds of scary stuff about wiping out apps and data, I made sure to first back everything up and confirm that I had all our Apple ID info at hand. You should absolutely do this as well. Even go through the extra step of Control-clicking/right-clicking the iPad icon in iTunes and choose Backup.
2. Log out of the current account on the iPad. Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Tap on your Apple ID, and then tap on Sign Out
3. Sign in with your second account. Don't enable iTunes Match or Automatic downloads.
4. Exit Settings and open up the App Store app. Click on the Purchased button at the bottom, then choose Not on This iPad at the top (instead of All). Now you can tap the download icon for any apps you wish to install on this iPad.
Your apps will be installed alongside the main account holder’s apps.
If you try to update any apps, you’ll have to enter the password of the account holder who downloaded that app. This means someone else using the apps you installed will either have to know your account info (probably not recommended unless you share a tax return), or wait until you get around to updating your apps.
When it came time to sync the iPad with iTunes, I made sure to log back into my husband’s account before he synced to his computer. In fact, because we don't know how iOS might change in the future, I would strongly advise the borrowing user to sign out as soon as apps are installed, and sign in again as the main user (or have them sign in). Making sure that the default account is always the main user should minimize any potential issues when syncing the primary account on the computer or via iCloud.
I can’t guarantee this will always work or work for you, so please always backup before trying this. And let us know if it works for you!
All this logging in and out with Apple IDs reminded me of a cool iOS tip. Whenever you need to add a .com/.net/.org, etc., hold the period key and choose the appropriate extension from a pop-up. This same technique also works to give you access to an em dash from a hyphen, and accented characters like å and é.
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