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iPads and Departmental iTunes Accounts

February 17th, 2011

If your department seems amenable to paying for your apps, or you are in charge of handling your department’s iTunes account or P-card, consider these two models. I leave it to departments to define policies regarding the use of the P-card on these devices.

Single iPad user, two iTunes accounts

In this model, one person uses a particular iPad exclusively. The iPad is not shared. This person then would have two iTunes accounts: a personal account set up under one email address with that user’s personal credit or debit card as the method of payment, and a business account set up under another email address with the departmental P-card as the method of payment. Updates and syncing (backup) of two accounts on the iPad are handled in the same way as they are with a single iTunes account, simply enter the appropriate password when prompted to do so.

How does one switch between accounts? Look at the main page of the App Store. Scroll to the bottom of the page. At the bottom left you’ll see a button that says “Account: [your AppleId].” By clicking on this, you can enter the account, whether business  or personal, you’d like to use to purchase an app.

Multiple iPad users, departmental iTunes account

In this model, the department has a set of loaner iPads that will be wiped clean and reset after they are returned. One person, usually the departmental secretary, will act as the owner of the departmental iTunes account, with all purchases going through this person. Someone or some committee in the department should decide what set of apps will appear on these loaners. When an iPad is returned, it will be wiped and then set up again from the suite of apps in the departmental iTunes account. Remember that no data will be retained on the iPads when they are wiped by the department secretary. If someone forgets to transfer a paper from the iPad to some personal storage space, that paper will disappear. Any apps that the iPad borrower has purchased will also be wiped from the iPad. IMPORTANT: Be sure to TURN OFF the iPad before loaning it out. This will erase the iTunes password from the iPad’s memory. To turn off the iPad, hold down the Off/On button on the top right of the iPad until prompted to slide across to turn off the device.


We understand that there may be a mechanism for iTunes to recognize non-profit status, and we will learn what this is as soon as we attend an upcoming webinar. I’ll post the results on this blog. But for now, we understand that departments must ask Apple for reimbursement of taxes charged on iTunes purchases.

–Rebecca Johnson

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  1. rljohnson
    March 30th, 2011 at 19:22 | #1

    Another model for departmental deployment, and one preferred by Purchasing, is for the department to purchase a set of iTunes gift cards that will cover the cost of some set of apps. In this way, the P-card number does not need to be distributed, but taxes will still be an issue.

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