Scott Hanselman

Getting a new iPhone or iPad? Don't forget to enter your password 7 times!

March 17, 2012 Comment on this post [19] Posted in Apple
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I like it when companies have a single login. I've got a single Windows Live ID, a single Apple ID and a single Google login. For the most part, that along with my OpenID unlocks 90% of the Internet for me. What I don't like is entering these single IDs more than once on the same device. I was restoring an iPad from its backup just now and since passwords aren't stored in backups, I needed to re-enter mine. I entered my work and home email passwords, which makes sense. Then, rather than entering my Apple ID once in friendly Settings applet called "Enter your Apple ID only once here and I'll handle the rest," or even better, being prompted to enter my Apple ID when I started the device for the first time, again just once, instead I proceeded to have to enter the same Apple ID and password at least seven times.

Let's review, shall we? First, in the Store that manages your ID for applications and automatic downloads.*


Next in Video for Home Sharing...


But also Music for Home Sharing...


Then Game Center, which still looks totally ridiculous and out of place.

Game Center

Don't forget iMessage and also click Receive At to make sure all your emails are listed. But, you can't use your phone number here, so good luck getting iMessages to sync across devices.


Also add FaceTime which is not iMessage. No one ever FaceTimes you but, they might, so, be ready.


Don't forget iCloud. Remember also that Find My iPad in here is NOT the same Find My Whatever from MobileMe, and that's maybe not the same ID and password.


I love the hardware, the design and the devices, but man, Single Sign On anyone? Did I miss any?

* Ya, I know, two iOS posts in a row. Sue me. Or, better yet, just Mark as Read and we'll talk tomorrow, OK?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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March 17, 2012 9:09
If you encrypt backups through iTunes, you get all your passwords back on restore.

This doesn't mean you have to stop using iCloud for backup. You can just do an encrypted iTunes backup right before you're going to restore a device.
March 17, 2012 9:11
But agreed, it makes no sense that if you do an unencrypted backup, you have to enter usernames and passwords all over the place.

I also did one of those tonight, not so fun.
March 17, 2012 9:16
Not to be an android fanboy, but android gets this right at least, with other apps that want to use your google login just give you a prompt in the app saying they want to use it, and then an accept/deny button at the bottom. Does WP7 handle it any better?
March 17, 2012 16:22
Agreed. Spent lots of quality time with my new iPad rekeying passwords a bajillion times. I also don't understand why a restore cant restore icons to their original locations. Ah well, first world problems, I spose.
March 17, 2012 17:14
I agree with fryguy. The experience for this type of thing on Android is much better.
March 17, 2012 17:33
Atleast with the AppleID I can develop for iPhone and iPad. Can't do that with Microsofts stupid Windows Live ID, and with MS being so segregated it will never get fixed.
March 17, 2012 18:59
The multiple sign-ons don't bother me in certain cases. My wife and I use the same iTunes account for purchases and separate ones for email, etc. No doubt some of the others coule be combined.
March 17, 2012 20:44
To some extend it males sense: I live in the US and in Europe. I have 2 AppleIDs and depending on myq current location i use some services from on or another. So i like it better than Androids real single sign on. Becacuse regional restrictions occour on all Platforms and multiple AppleIDs is one way to work around that problem.
March 17, 2012 23:43
And if you change your Windows domain password at work, you have to go and change it multiple times in all iOS devices. sigh ...
March 18, 2012 0:05
It's not any better on their website. Tried updating my address and credit card and had to enter my password at least half a dozen times.
March 18, 2012 4:34
We have 5 iDevices - only one of them would benefit from a single sign on, as we share accounts for some services.

I think that the entire ecosystem of security/passwords/accounts is pretty stone age and untenable, and all platforms have room for improvement.
March 19, 2012 3:51
Bring on fingerprint recognition dinosaurs!
March 19, 2012 5:35
Some are redundant (like Home Sharing for Video and Music), but not all. As an example, my wife's phone has the same AppleID as me for the iTunes Store (sharing apps) and iTunes Match (music)... but her own Apple ID for iCloud, Game Center, and iMessage.

I think the UX around those could be better so that they're not scattered around Settings (maybe a single "Credentials" page) - but it makes sense that difference services might use different credentials. We have some friends who used the same credentials when iCloud appeared (because they were using the same for iTunes)... and HIS contacts/calendar replaced HERS on HER phone. So definitely some room for improvement in the way it's all presented/explained.
March 19, 2012 13:46
It's a pita, probably this happens as a security measure if your backup is not encrypted. To the Android fellows, i pay you a beer if you can make a full backup of your apps, settings and restore everything without internet connection like iPhone or iPad. AND custom stuff (root + custom recovery) isn't valid. PS: I'm an Android user with Samsung Galaxy S.
March 19, 2012 17:05
Just wait until you set up "allowance accounts" in iTunes for your kids... Each device will have multiple accounts on it... It's actually very cool, but I can hardly keep it all straight and I work in technology!
March 19, 2012 20:39
I setup my new iPad this weekend, entered my password 3 times (fresh start, not a restore from backup). Once for the store on the initial setup screens where it asks for an iTunes account (my family of 6 shares one iTunes account for purchases). Once for iCloud in the setup process which makes sense because each of the 6 of us uses a different iCloud account. After the setup was done I entered it once for home sharing.

I've setup a ton of devices and every time I enter the home sharing info for music it automatically populates to the video one.

After those three setups, my game center was automatically there as was Messages and FaceTime.

Posts like this almost make me mad enough to wipe my device and record a video of the setup process to show the exact sequence.

Just wiped the home sharing info on music (it automatically wiped it on videos) and reentered it just to check. Yup, it automatically populates to the video section.

So why is Scott inflating the number of times info needs to be entered?
March 20, 2012 7:22
This mostly doesn't happen on android as you always have multiple twitter, Facebook, corporate, blah credentials. With keep ass, things aren't too bad.

Did you try iKeePass?
April 01, 2012 6:27
"Does WP7 handle it any better?"

Yes, yes it does.

It does something even better: after you've setup the phone (the connections to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), when you setup Windows 8 with the same account, you only have to enter the (now) Microsoft ID. Once. And everything shows up in Windows 8 -- even those annoying Facebook updates from your friends.
July 02, 2012 15:22
While having an encrypted backup it is good to have different passwords but we should have a restore point.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.