Share media with Google Play Family Library
Google Play Family Library lets you share items you’ve bought with your family, explains Jim Martin
If you buy a book or CD, you don’t think twice about how to lend it to someone else. But when you’ve bought an app, TV show or an ebook from Google Play, there’s no way to share it: only you can read, listen to or watch it. However, the situation has changed, so here we show you how to set up and use Google Play Family Library. Don’t forget you can also get Google Play on an iOS device.
Go to tinyurl.com/jnubky3 and sign up. It’s here that you will become the Family manager. Pick or enter a credit- or debit card’s details. You can invite up to five family members. New purchases can be automatically added to Family Library.
There are quite a few limitations with Family Library. First, only children over 13 can be invited to join. This may mean you’re forced to lie about their date of birth in their account if they’re under 13, or you have to sign into their device with your Google account – rendering Family Library a bit useless for young children. Also, not all content can be shared. For example, music and newsstand purchases can’t be added to Family Library, nor can TV shows, films or books which you’ve rented (as opposed to bought).
The restrictions continue: you can’t share in-app purchases, and apps or games bought before 2 July 2016 can be added only if the developer has ‘made past purchases available’. Google says you can see if it has by tapping ‘Read More’ on the apps page in the store.
It’s similar for books: you can share them only if the publisher allows it. That’s why it will pay to check for the Family Library icon next to apps, games, TV shows, movies and books you’re thinking of buying to see if they’re eligible. It looks like grey house with a white heart inside it.
Also, if you subscribe to Google Music, you can add Family Library to your Google Play Music family plan – you still need to subscribe to the Music family plan to do this, of course.
Set up Google Play Family Library
Open the Play Store on your Android device, or go to tinyurl.com/jnubky3 in a web browser. Sign in if prompted.
By clicking Get Started, you’ll become the manager, just as the next screen explains. Click Continue and the next screen explains that one credit or debit card will be used for all purchases from members of the Family Plan, and that you can only invite family members aged 13 or older in the same country to join it.
On the next screen, select a card or, if it has expired, enter the details of a current one.
Next, type the email address or enter the phone number of someone you want to invite and hit Send. You can invite more people later by tapping the menu icon in Google Play, then Account > Family > Manage family members > Invite family members. When someone joins, you’ll get an email confirming it.
Any content you purchased prior to setting up Family Library can be added so that everyone can access it, but after signing up only items purchased using the family payment method (or a promo code or Google Play voucher).