First Click: iPhone regret

November 6th, 2015


Android saved my butt today thanks to a feature unavailable to iPhone users.

This morning, my 13-year-old son approached me slowly like a shamed puppy. In his paws were the glass and metal scraps that once formed the husk of a working iPhone 4. After briefly mourning the loss of Jony Ive’s greatest design, I had to come up with a replacement, and fast. I had 30 minutes before my son would jump on his bike and cycle across The City to school, returning home later tonight in the dark. In Amsterdam, this is quite normal — but as a worrisome expat dad there was no way in hell he’d leave the house without a replacement smartphone.

My options came down to my old iPhone 5 or my Nexus 5, both setup as secondary test devices with all my accounts and data. With the clock ticking, I had to choose: give him the iPhone and lock down access to my accounts using iOS Restrictions (assuming I could sort it out in the time remaining); or figure out how to create another user profile on the Nexus. I chose the latter. It took five minutes plus another two to figure out that SMS and voice calling weren't enabled by default.

Android has featured multi-user support (AKA, Device Sharing) since Lollipop was released last year. It was rumored for iOS 9 but never made it into the final build. As a father of three, it’s easy to see how multiple private accounts on a shared smartphone or tablet would be very useful. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as replacing their hand-me-down iPhones with a shared Android device since we’re already dependent upon Apple's various family plans for apps, storage, and music.

So I’ll just wait for multi-user to come to iOS because sometimes ecosystem lock-in really sucks.

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