“Multiple users can use a device and the user experience remains personal even though the device is shared”


You’d be correct in thinking the concept of shared devices has been around a while now. Many MDM vendors offer a propriety solution to use devices across multiple employees, but we have seen limitations with these solutions. Common problems include apps not signing users out between sessions and caching of data across multiple users. These are serious failures, which raise many security and privacy issues.


Android and iOS Shared Devices

Both Google and Apple have come to the rescue this year, announcing a native shared device offering where the shared functionality is built into the operating system.

Multiple users can use a device and the user experience remains personal even though the device is shared.

Android and iOS shared device functionality both require a mobile device management (MDM) solution, and at the time of writing we are still waiting on most of vendors to catch up. We expect that each vendor will release the capability to configure the required integrations from their consoles within the year.

Apple has offered shared iPads to their education customers for a while now and their enterprise version has been released with iPadOS version 13.4 so let’s have a look at their offering in more detail.


Sharing an iPad Device

iPad sharing requires each shared device user to have a Managed Apple ID, either created manually in Apple Business Manager or via Microsoft Azure AD federation – you can learn more about Managed Apple ID’s via this Apple article. The Managed Apple ID allows for user data to be stored in iCloud for personalisation and efficiency with the login experience.

Each iPad must have at least 32 GB of storage and be procured via the Apple DEP process, which is a part of Apple Business Manager. You can learn more about Apple Business Manager here.

iPad sharing system requirements:

  • iPad Pro

  • iPad (5th generation or later)

  • iPad Air 2 (or later)

  • iPad mini (4th generation or later)

iPad Sharing Storage space Requirements for Users

Ideally you need to make sure the iPad is configured with all the apps and documents so you can view how much storage space remains for the users and then decide how many users will be able to log-in.

You can specify the maximum storage allocated for each user or set the maximum number of users that can be stored on a device at one time. The default is 10 and Apple recommends you should try to keep this to the same 10 users per device if possible.

A shared iPad allocates storage based on the device’s capacity with allowances for system, apps, media and user data.



Optimising Apps for Shared iPad

If your app is cloud-based or doesn’t store data locally, your company app(s) may already support Shared iPad. We recommend you individually test your apps and the user experience between sessions before rolling each one out.

If you are using AAD federation for the managed Apple ID, then single sign on (SSO) will be enabled for the Microsoft Productivity suite of apps as they are using the same identity to authenticate.

For custom apps, you will need to work with your app developers to ensure the apps follow Apple best practices for data management and sync to support Shared iPads. This includes leveraging purgeable local storage or persistent storage in the cloud depending on the data requirements of your apps.


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Apps are only deployed to Shared iPads using Apple Business Manager and your MDM. For apps that are pre-validated for use with Shared iPads you will see a flag in the Volume Purchasing Portal for an app ‘ Optimized for Shared iPad’.

If you would like to know more about Shared iPads, Mobile Mentor have a team of Apple Certified Engineers that can help. Contact Us.