Leveraging Shared iPads in schools and enterprises

Wayne Thompson

Feb 1, 2023

7 min read

Apple’s Shared iPad feature, designed for use in schools and enterprises, offers a solution for multi-user access to a single device while maintaining individual privacy and security. Unveiled in 2016 for schools with iOS 9.3, the feature utilizes Managed Apple IDs for teachers and students to log in. In 2020, the feature was extended to enterprises with iOS 13.4, allowing multiple employees to log in and out of Shared iPads using their unique Managed Apple IDs issued by the organization through its Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager accounts.

Explore Hexnode’s Apple device management features

Prerequisites for Shared iPads

  • An Apple School/Business Manager account.
  • A Mobile Device Management (MDM)/Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution
  • Needs iOS 9.3+ version for ASM and iOS+ 13.4 version for ABM
  • A supervised device with least 32GB of storage.

Shared iPads in a school setting

Schools can implement an MDM/UEM to streamline user setup, manage device settings, and distribute applications and books purchased through Apple School Manager. It enables your school to deliver a personalized environment on an iPad that many students may access. You can rapidly create user accounts with school rosters and classes. Furthermore, you can integrate with Student Information Systems (SISs) directly or via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).  Additionally, they allow students to log in to their profiles on Shared iPads via Managed Apple IDs when installing these devices for shared usage.

Protecting student and teacher privacy: What, Why and How?

Streamlining education with the Classroom and Schoolwork app

Classroom is an app for instructors that allows them to offer courses in a physical class, remotely, or in hybrid mode. You can start a specific app, website, or textbook page while lecturing in class. It works best with a class size of 60 or less. The Classroom can run applications or eBooks on any iPad in the class, receive a summary of students’ actions. Furthermore, it lets users collaborate and work with each other, and a lot more.

Children using Shared iPads at school
Children using Shared iPads at school.

Apple Classroom and Schoolwork together make classroom administration straightforward and uncomplicated. Schoolwork is a strong iPad software that assists you and your students in making better use of the iPad for the teaching and learning process. The simple and elegant interface helps to create and exchange projects with a few touches. Schoolwork allows rapidly delegating and maintaining tasks, tracking student progress, and interacting with individual students. Students would not be able to tamper with or modify their classmates’ work or projects.

For example, drawing and editing photos or videos has been one of the most common activities performed on an iPad. Some schools use the Shared iPad feature for the art classes. This allows students to login to the device with their account and logging out after the class is over. This makes the device ready for the next student without the involvement of the instructor and no fear of losing the work.

Temporary session on Shared iPads

Apple allowed a Guest login feature from iPadOS 13.4. By clicking Guest at the login screen, a user can begin a temporary session without entering a username or password. After the session and when a visitor checks out, all of the data, including their browsing history, is erased. Any user may unlock and access the iPad without a password for a temporary session. Furthermore, using Temporary Sessions with Shared iPad, prohibits users from changing account settings or logging in to Apple services.

Setting up Shared iPads

The set up begins with adding devices to Apple Business Manager, where iPads are registered using an automatic enrolment profile with shared mode enabled. Employees can log in with their Managed Apple ID and password issued by the firm. Admins enjoy the power to onboard any supporting iPad in “shared” mode, which allows users to have a personalized home screen appearance until they sign out. Shared iPads have certain distinct features, making them a top alternative for multi-user devices in the Apple ecosystem. For example, it secures each partition of the iPads with a different device passcode established locally by the user, making each partition unique to the user.

Apple Business Manager administrators can also generate this device passcode on behalf of users and reset it if necessary. Although device supervision gives administrators access to APIs for locking down Apple devices, shared mode goes a step further by totally obscuring the functionality of numerous inessential systems, programs and settings for all users. All the data is cached locally on the iPad. Thus, when the user returns, they will see a list of recent users from which they may choose.

Shared iPads in a business environment

Shared iPad for business has been used in multiple industries that include healthcare, retail, manufacturing, etc. For example, a nurse and a doctor can use a single device since they can each safely access their user profile. Furthermore, in retail businesses, frontline personnel can be provided access to the product and its information. For example, in an electronic appliance store, different employee can have their account depending on the products they are responsible for. This would help to engage with consumers and create better shopping experiences.

In offices where people work in shifts, like manufacturing industry, an employee can login using his/her managed id during the shift. The next person can join only when his/her shift starts, and the other person has signed out of the device. Thus, the user now has their own Mail accounts, files, app data, and other features. The firm saves employee data in iCloud, allowing employees to sign in on any of the company’s Shared iPads. This caches the user information on the Shared iPad.

Employee using iPad at work
Employee using iPad at work

Hexnode UEM for Shared iPads

Hexnode helps in Shared iPad management by providing the following features:

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Shared iPad is a low-cost tool that assists organisations and schools with device tracking and data protection while still providing privacy on a shared tablet. As a result, it lets every user feel like they own the device. Simultaneously, it helps to make sure that it is used for the benefit of the school or the organization. They simplify the maintenance process by reducing the number of devices and lowering the cost. Not to forget, using the iPads along with a UEM software, you can simplify device enrolment, ease store and business app administration. Additionally, it lets you remotely diagnose devices, and increase the overall productivity of your business.

Wayne Thompson

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Busy doing what looks like fun to me and work to others.

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