I am setting up my parents with an Apple iPad. I was wondering if I can configure it so that they share a single iCloud account for email, calendar, contacts, photo stream, FaceTime calls, etc. Is there a better way than a shared iCloud account if I want them both to be able to use it and there is only 1 device?

I do not think the IOS on an iPad natively supports multiple user accounts like Mac OS X.

  • Anecdotally, when we set the folks' first iPad up so they had some form of multi-user experience, they never figured out how to use it. The solution eventually, was an iPad each, 2 accounts & Family Sharing. I've had to do no tech support since ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 17, 2015 at 8:19
  • Thanks so much, that's helpful feedback. They did not grow up with computers (there are in their 80s), so the ease-of-use is a big consideration for me. Perhaps eventually they can each have their own. Dec 18, 2015 at 13:11
  • Yes, both mine are in their 80s too. For the first year, when they shared one, it became simpler for them to just share it both using the same ID, one email address, everything. They were fine with the iPad itself, but just didn't grasp the 'switching' idea. One just used an old XP machine for email, to keep the 2 separate. Once they had one each, then I split their IDs properly & they've been happy ever since. I also got them an iMac as a central backup & the old XP went in the bin where it belonged ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 18, 2015 at 13:18
  • That's helpful info, thanks so much. It sounds like sharing one ID including the mailbox may be best for them. Dec 21, 2015 at 5:12

3 Answers 3


There is actually no other option (unless you want to do some more advanced stuff which probably shouldn't be done on a device you don't use yourself). There is one user (or more precisely one set of settings) on an iPad and you can configure one iCloud email/calendar etc account. You can have a separate account for iTunes and the App Store, but this is probably not what you are looking for.

OTOH, you may want to look into iCloud email aliases to give both your mother and your father individual email addresses. See the answers on Is it possible to have 2 iCloud email accounts in IOS 5? for details.

  • OK great, thank's the for the info as well as the link. I will look into the email alias idea, that would be nice if they each had their own mailbox. Dec 15, 2015 at 20:17

Not sure if this helps but you can create/link as a family, with one account as primary (perhaps you so can admin) then you get a shared calendar, shared photo cloud, and share app/music purchases (each can DL as wish).

Email can always be setup via IMAP for both to share independent of the above. Likewise you can always share cloud and calendars, but the family thing is cool bc then you can share purchases too.


You can add multiple iCloud accounts on iOS, however, the second one can only be used for Mail, Contacts, Reminders, Calendars, and Notes. Only the main iCloud account can be used for Bookmarks, Photo Stream, iCloud Drive, Backup, and Find My iPad. Simply go to Settings, select Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then Add Account and select iCloud.

FaceTime can be set to respond to multiple IDs, as can Messages.

  • OK, great, this is very helpful to know. Thank you for the clarification, it's good to know they each will be able to have their own mailbox yet still will be able to share the device. Dec 15, 2015 at 20:19

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