Apple is testing multiple user accounts on iPads

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My turn!
Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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Apple is testing a new feature that allows students to log into classroom iPads with their account profiles.

Multiuser support has long been available on Apple’s computers. With its iOS 9.3 beta release today (Jan. 11), Apple is extending the feature to iPads used in schools starting this fall.

According to EdSurge, schools will have to contact Apple to participate in the beta, which brings other education-specific iPad features, such as letting teachers view students’ screens or take control of all classroom iPads during lesson plans.

Already, iPads have supplanted traditional computers in schools, businesses, and homes. The ability to share iPads in classrooms will make it possible for students to personalize their accounts without affecting other users. A supplemental feature called Intelligent Sharing lets students resume where they last left off on the iPad after logging into their accounts.

Right now, iPad sharing appears to be a feature that will be exclusively used in schools, but the move hints at a wider rollout, possibly with the next major software upgrade. Multiuser support would be a natural fit for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, for example, a more powerful tablet that’s designed to replace desktop computing. An Apple representative declined to comment on whether the feature would be more widely available on iPads outside of classrooms.