iOS 9.3 Finally Adds iPad Multi-User Support, But Only For Education

Apple released the first beta for its upcoming iOS 9.3 update and with it is a new website that lays out the new features and functionality. One of the more intriguing ones is "Shared iPad," which like it sounds allows for multiple users to log in to an iPad tablet, much in the same way that Mac OS X and Windows allows for more than one account to share a single device.

It's a long overdue feature for the iPad, though unfortunately it appears this will only be a feature for students and teachers, not home consumers. The way it's worded on Apple's new preview website, students will have their own profile, which they'll use to hop on iPad devices in different classrooms and other scenarios.

iPad Education

"When a 1:1 student-to-iPad ratio isn't possible, Shared iPad offers an elegant solution that lets students enjoy the benefits of having their own iPad in whatever classroom they're in. They simply log in to any iPad, and their content is ready to go," Apple explains.

By allowing students to access their profiles and school work on multiple iPad devices, Apple essentially gives schools the flexibility of ordering less tablets. Ideally a 1:1 ratio is the ultimate goal, but schools don't always have the budget for such things, especially as enrollment continues to grow.

The Shared iPad feature is one of several designed to make the iPad more appealing to educators. iOS 9.3 also introduces simpler login for younger students, the ability to launch and lock apps remotely, share student work on the big screen, and more.

All the new features also make the iPad more competitive with Google's Chromebooks, which have gained a foothold in education thanks in large part to their low price tags.