Can you share an iPad?
December 6, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Hubby says we should get an iPad for Christmas and share it. How many couples do this and find that it works out ok? My first thought was that a mobile device is usually personalized. What if I put my books and tons of apps on and he thinks its too much and gets in the way of his finding stuff? Can we each have different "home pages" or am I just being selfish? I'm more techie and experimental than he is. How do we decide who gets custody of the iPad and when? I dunno maybe I'm over thinking this.
posted by sandra194 to Computers & Internet (39 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Must it be an iPad? A Nexus 10 will do profiles, so you can each have a login.
posted by Blake at 6:22 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I can't speak for if Ipad could do this, but the tablets running android 4.2 now allow for multiple user accounts so each user only sees their stuff. It is possible they'd eventually implement this for iOS, but I've seen no plans to.

If an Ipad is a requirement they have the option to group your icons in different section. So you could have a his and hers, or ones you use, ones he uses, and joint ones? The possibilities are endless, but the customization is at least decent and you can keep it organized and clean with minimal effort.
posted by Twain Device at 6:24 AM on December 6, 2012

No multiple profiles on an iPad. I think the bigger problem will be both of you wanting to use it at the same time, so multiple profiles isn't really going to help.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:26 AM on December 6, 2012 [11 favorites]

My wife and I share an iPad, and it's fine. You can personalize with different programs--i.e., one of you uses Mail, and the other will use the gmail app.

How do we decide who gets custody of the iPad and when?

This is more a question about your relationship with your husband. When I want the iPad, I ask "Hey, can I have the iPad?" and my wife will say "Sure" or "In a bit, ok?"
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:27 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

To me, that's like deciding to get one pencil for Christmas and share it. But then I'm using my iPad when I'm awake, so, that's me.

Also sometimes when I'm asleep.
posted by tel3path at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2012 [14 favorites]

My partner and I share an iPad. As for too many apps, we just put all of our personal apps into folders... he has one, I have one, and there is one for games. We decided not use the mail program for the iPad. We each access mail differently. The only thing that got a little funky was syncing address and calendar. I have a Mac, and iPhone, and I do all the syncs and updates on the iPad. I had no idea that he had added contacts to the address book, and then did a sync which added them to all of my devices. Not a major deal... but a little annoying.
posted by kimdog at 6:37 AM on December 6, 2012

As you said above, you could organize apps you use that he doesn't under one icon, so he doesn't have to scroll past a large amount of "clutter" on the home page. That being said, my husband and I could never share an iPad because we're both too greedy. It wouldn't be worth the $300 saved.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

From personal experience, being cuddly in bed watching Friday night lights on Netflix late at night can be kind of sweet.
posted by roboton666 at 6:41 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I share an iPad with my four year old son. The only real problem has been that I keep catching myself playing games designed for four year olds.

I wouldn't be able to share with an adult, though; there would be too many apps that we'd both want to use (especially mail, contacts, reminders.)
posted by ook at 6:42 AM on December 6, 2012

I agree with other posters that sharing in a sequential fashion will really not be that problematic, the customization isn't that big of a thing and you can use folders / different pages of the home screen / whatever.
posted by Perplexity at 6:44 AM on December 6, 2012

I thought when we got an iPad we would share, but it didn't work out that way. It became mine. Also, when I told a (long-married) friend about the plan, she said simply and somewhat ominously "don't share computers" so I vote for not feasible really.
posted by bananafish at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you both want to carry it to work every day that would be hard to split but if you just keep it around the house to use when you have free time, no big deal. As far as mail, it's easy to set up two accounts in the native mail app and to switch between them.
posted by tracer at 6:48 AM on December 6, 2012

We share an iPad between two adults and a 3.5 year old. We don't have different profiles, but we each have a page with our apps on it. Our daughter's is the home screen; swipe one to the right and get mine; one more and get his. Plus you can just use spotlight search if there is too much.

But this has a lot to do with how we use it - my husband reads the papers in the morning with coffee, while I'm using my iphone. We both have our own laptops for actual work. I watch television shows before bed. The three year old uses it for netflix and games periodically. If any of us were heavier users, it would be harder, I guess. We've contemplated getting a second, to be sure.
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:48 AM on December 6, 2012

My fiancee and I share an ipad. I bought it, so it started as mine, but now we share it. I think she uses it more than I do when we are at home, I definitely use it more when we are traveling.

Since it started as mine, I have my mail installed. Since her mail is on her phone, it's really not a problem. (If she wanted her mail installed instead, I would be okay with that too). We rarely want to use it at the same time because of our schedules and internet habits (often, I'm on the computer, she's on her phone, and the ipad is unused). If we do both want to use it, it's really not a significant problem - we have plenty of other devices between us (kindle, two iphones, two macbooks).

You can't make profiles, but you could put all the apps you both use on one screen, one person's apps on a second screen, and the second person's apps on a third screen. Depending on how many apps you have, folders might also work.

The only problems I foresee are that (especially when it's new), you might both want to play with it at the same time. You won't need to - you're fine without it now - but you might want to. And, only one copy of each app can be installed - so, for some apps that don't support multiple log-ins, you'll have to either share it or decide who gets to use it (i.e., you both might have to play the same Angry Birds, instead of each having your own copy of the Angry Birds app & being on different levels).
posted by insectosaurus at 6:48 AM on December 6, 2012

I agree with those who say it depends on what you want to use it for. Games, web browsing, and movies? Sure, you can probably share assuming neither of you hogs it. If you actually want to use it for work (calendars, contacts, etc) I think an iPad would be frustrating. You could use different contact and calendar apps as suggested above, but that's an awkward workaround and the Apple defaults are better integrated into the OS and thus (IMHO) easier to use.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2012

We basically do the same thing Admiral Haddock does. We also both have iPhones so there are some things that we can do on those so that things don't get mixed up on the iPad.
posted by brilliantine at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If someone suggested that to me I would say "hell no". YMMV.
posted by windykites at 6:54 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

As others have said, this is less about the iPad and more about the nuances in your relationship.

My wife wanted to share a laptop with me. It lasted less than one day. She visits sites that puts crap on her computer, while I am more careful. She wanted a tiny laptop, almost a netbook, while I needed a desktop replacement with a 17" screen for video editing without connecting a second monitor.

We both also like to cuddle up on the couch with our laptops and do completely different things at the same time.

It just didn't work to share a laptop.

Since you are asking the question the way you are asking it, I think that this is the real issue and it's not going to work the way you would like it to with just one iPad.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:58 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

We did this last Christmas. We flipped a coin and gave it his apple ID. We created two folders on the desktop for his apps and my apps.

Three months later the iPad ended up becoming mine because my partner doesn't have wi-fi at work and I do. So I started using the iPad to take notes in meetings. And track my calendars. And my vacation time. And my work email. Then it pretty much never left my side.

Don't cry for him. He bought a MacBook a few months after that. As he was getting that set up, I switched the iPad over to my Apple ID.
posted by kimberussell at 7:05 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

We share an iPad. We both have our personal computers so do our email reading/work on those. iPad is mostly used for drawing with our son, games for cats, angry birds, Netflix and reading for school. I'm the only one who takes it out of the house though, to take notes in class. If he wanted to do the same, we'd have a problem. So figure out what you want to use it for and how territorial you are. I don't mind when my husband puts his apps (for example music-related) on it and we don't even bother with separate screens.
posted by Shusha at 7:15 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wife and I shared our iPad for a while. Then she began using it seriously for her job and taking it to work every day, so it became "her" iPad. I didn't really mind, except I had a few pricey apps on it (like the $10 version of How to Cook Everything). When I finally got my own iPad, I couldn't transfer the paid apps from her iPad, and didn't feel like paying again for something I had already bought. So now my wife has a few nice apps that a bunch of nice apps she never uses, and I'm still making print outs of recipes for dinner.

The only real problem has been that I keep catching myself playing games designed for four year olds.
Have you played "Where's My Perry"? That game is flippin' sweet!

posted by slogger at 7:21 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wife and I (and our toddler) share an iPad and it's perfectly fine for us. We are pretty good at sharing though. I will be kinda sad to leave it home when I am traveling solo next month.

The only minor issue is that while we both have iPhones, the iPad is linked to my iTunes account - so all the iCloud info (Contacts, Bookmarks,etc.) is only shared between my phone and the iPad. This has some pros and cons - my Contacts are now immaculately organized - but I also have bookmarks for trashy gossip blogs on my phone - so I guess that's a wash.
posted by gnutron at 7:21 AM on December 6, 2012

When I finally got my own iPad, I couldn't transfer the paid apps from her iPad, and didn't feel like paying again for something I had already bought.

Sign in to her Apple ID account on your iPad. Download app. Sign out of her Apple ID and into yours. You will have to re-do this process if you want to update the app or make in-app purchases.

posted by Rock Steady at 7:34 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

What are your other technology devices? We share an iPad and it's totally fine. But we each have a MacBook, an iPhone, one of us has a Kindle, and a few other random devices. I use it more, but it's been totally fine to share between the two of us. Might not work if it's your main iDevice.
posted by barnone at 7:46 AM on December 6, 2012

Have you played "Where's My Perry"? That game is flippin' sweet!

posted by ook at 7:53 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

My wife and I share an iPad. We've got both our email accounts setup in the mail account (we don't care if we read each others email). She uses the Facebook app, I use Facebook in Safari (if I want to do something on FB). I have a folder with all my bookmarks, she has a screen of apps that only she uses.

It's not as convenient as 2 iPads, (or multi-user), but it works well for us.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2012

My wife and I share one. It's nominally "mine," and the various mail and web accounts are set up as mine, but she gets a fair amount of mileage out of it (also possibly significant, she has a laptop and I don't).

There is an app that lets you switch profiles for your web logins. I don't have any experience with it, but there you go.
posted by adamrice at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2012

In my house we have two iphones, three ipads and one main computer (no one uses the laptop except for minecraft over lan). There are two adults, one teen and two younger children.

All devices have our separate gmail accounts so we can check email whatever device we have. At first I had installed a few web browsers but we all seem to share the same one. Setting a default facebook/email has caused a little rejigging but workarounds have been found. The apps vary a little between the pads but are mostly duplicated. There is a "favourite" ipad (the new white iPad 3) that one member tends to hoard/hide but otherwise the sharing is pretty natural, that includes two or three people using one ipad to watch a show/create something with apps.

Although we live in a small house, we like to facetime; that is at least one benefit to multiple ipads. Although I am the one that has bought all these idevices I am the one stuck reading case law on a tiny iphone screen, lol.
posted by saucysault at 8:33 AM on December 6, 2012

My boyfriend and I "share" an android tablet. By share I mean that technically he owns it but I use it pretty much all the time. Whether this will work for you depends on a lot of factors.

Why it works for us:
1. He primarily uses it during his commute (via train or bus).
2. We also have a desktop and three laptops so if someone just needs to check something really quick - there are other means.
3. Neither of us spend lots of time on it. I use it to play games if I'm bored or check my email or to look up that thing on wikipedia to prove I'm right. He uses it to read reddit while we are watching a tv show he doesn't care that much about or to check sports stats while watching football.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:23 AM on December 6, 2012

We share an ipad. Hell, we share it with our 2 year old too. We have separate twitter apps, he uses the facebook app and I use facebook in Safari. He uses chrome to browse and I use safari, so our bookmarks and passwords and such are separate. We use his apple id and his gmail account is linked to the mail app, so I use gmail in Safari when I need to, but most often use my phone for email.

We also both have iphones, so one of us can use the phone or our desktop when the other is using the ipad. If one needs it and the other has it, we say "Hey, can I use the ipad when you're done?" and the other person says "sure!"

It can be done with little to no hassle, but if I had extra money to blow, I'd buy a second one.
posted by chiababe at 10:00 AM on December 6, 2012

I share my husband's iPad. His family & I purchased it for him for a big birthday, and he works from home, and has a varied and busy schedule. So he uses the mail & calendars & facebook apps (although my calendar is also synced). I used the Gmail app, and Chrome for facebook, RSS feeds, and generally browsing (synced to my Chrome account so it has all my bookmarks.) I just have one folder with my apps.

There aren't many apps on which you can switch accounts, but usually it doesn't matter because only one of us uses it, or we use it together (games).

We have a Windows laptop, a macbook, an apple desktop, an iphone, and an ipod touch. We usually don't have a problem deciding who gets to use the iPad, because it's his, and because I don't mind the small screen of my ipod unless I'm watching TV.

So, definitely do-able and I only have a few small complaints. No desire to buy another one or switch to an Android device.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 11:39 AM on December 6, 2012

You can do this, my SO and I are much happier each having our own Nexus 7 than we would ever be only having one tablet. I don't use mine all that much, but it's almost always when she's using hers for something else. Also, I'm constantly screwing with my tablet, sometimes in ways that temporarily break it. Such is the life of a tinkerer.

My recommendation would be to buy two 7" Android tablets for the price of one iPad unless you're already tied to the Apple ecosystem. (or require certain apps that are only available on iOS) A bigger tablet doesn't bring anything to the table for us because we can play any media we've got on any TV in the house with the touch of a button and the 7" form factor is perfectly good for web browsing, book reading, or whatever.
posted by wierdo at 11:53 AM on December 6, 2012

You can buy two Kindle Fire 8.9's for a little more than the price of one iPad. As others have said, the Nexus 10 will do profiles and is $100 less than an iPad. You can buy two Nexus 7s $100 less than an iPad. (I have a Nexus 7, and think it's great). The iPad has better apps than the others, but they're otherwise just as fast and and capable.
posted by cnc at 12:04 PM on December 6, 2012

It depends a bit on your other options -- for example, I imagine my spouse and I could share one, because we both have computers and iPod Touches, so it would be a novelty toy in our household. Of course, if that changed (e.g., one of us preferred carrying that to shlepping a computer around, or stopped using their iPod), then its status might change too, but maybe we wouldn't care (or maybe we'd spring for another). Hard to know unless you know in advance what specific niches in your world you want it to fill.
posted by acm at 12:30 PM on December 6, 2012

There is an app that lets you switch profiles for your web logins. I don't have any experience with it, but there you go.
I have experience with it. It's called "Our Pad", and there are seperate versions for the iPhone/touch and iPad. It's meant to allow multiple people access to their web-based accounts on the same device. Each person can have an account with a custom pincode. Each account can have one or more web access accounts tied to it. The list of account types is eclectic. Dropbox, Yahoo, and Google, but no sign of Hotmail/Live that I could see. And they just added Pocket.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:02 PM on December 6, 2012

Like others, I'm sure that you can--my partner and child and I have shared a tablet for the last nine months or so. That said, it basically sucks, and for Christmas, the giftmas fairy is bringing everyone a Nexus 7. If you're not already super-wedded to the iEcosystem, I highly recommend them.
posted by MeghanC at 3:02 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Depends what kind of users you guys are. I couldn't share a tablet (we don't share computers either). I use my tablet for entertainment, not work, so for me scheduling its use would take some of the fun out of it. Plus I wouldn't feel as free to load the thing up with embarrassing music or games or the weird videos only I like! In our house tablets are like toothbrushes. This one's mine, it's got my personal germs all over it.
posted by asynchronous at 9:22 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not my relationship (we have separate iPads; even though we are not really power users, it would never occur to me to share an iPad with another adult so...) but my friend and her husband tried this and weren't successful. They seemed to always want to use it at the same time, but for separate activities that were ideal for the iPad (Netflix versus eBook, for example). So, it really would depend on factors we can't predict for you.
posted by sm1tten at 5:30 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks to all you guys for the great answers.
As for some of the comments--yes my hubby is wedded to the iEcosystem--I even told him how much research I did on other tablets and we could 2 Kindle Fires for 1 iPad--or about the wonders of Nexus 7. Anyhoo he drank the iKool-aid and I'm an Android geek but I have nothing against the iWorld. Our desktop blew all to bits so he wants to get the iPad to replace it. We both have laptops for work.
posted by sandra194 at 1:37 PM on December 10, 2012

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