Unlike most computers, the iPad isn’t designed to be a multi-user device. iOS doesn’t support multiple user accounts or profiles – that essentially means one set of device and application settings along with a personal collection of information like notes, email, browser bookmarks, and stored passwords for different online services. Sharing a device with that much personal data makes it easy for someone to snoop while using another person’s iPhone or iPad or on an iPad that is commonly shared between multiple users.
Passtouch is a web browser for the iPad that’s designed to offer at least some multi-user capabilities as well as to secure web-based information like bookmarks, cookies, and stored passwords. It doesn’t offer whole-device accounts or profiles but it does offer some extra security for devices that are regularly shared.
There are a handful of situations where iPads are commonly shared. A family having one or more iPads that everyone uses throughout the course of the day is one prime example. Another is when you’re meeting or social event and hand your iPad to a friend or colleague to show off something or let them perform some type of internet-oriented task like checking email, bank balances, or something else through a web-based service.
Then there are situations where iPads are intended to be shared. A great example of this is in the classroom, particularly in elementary or middle schools where there isn’t 1-to-1 program providing a iPad exclusively to each student. Others examples include shared devices at a conference or training center, patient iPads at doctor’s office or hospital, or even a collection of corporate owned devices shared by an entire department.
Passtouch offers the ability for each user to have their own web browser environment that is protected by a gesture drawn onscreen. The browser is designed for multiple users and guest users. It isn’t the perfect multi-user iOS solution, but it is a good one for certain situations. The novelty of its startup/lock screen (shown above) is designed not just to look good but also to help users remember complex gesture passcodes.
Passtouch probably isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t offer Safari’s level of integration with iOS and iCloud, but it is a good solution for iPads that get shared on a regular basis either at home or in certain office and education situations.