Es­sen­tial Guide to Fam­ily Shar­ing

Share iTunes pur­chases, cal­en­dars, and pho­tos with fam­ily.

iPhone Life Magazine - - Front Page - by Becca Lud­lum

Up un­til re­cently, shar­ing your dig­i­tal pur­chases with fam­ily was a huge in­con­ve­nience. In or­der to share an app or movie with a fam­ily mem­ber, you had to share your Ap­ple ID, mean­ing you not only shared all your pur­chases but all of the app's data as well. So if you down­loaded games you didn't want your kids play­ing with, tough luck! Thank­fully, Ap­ple's new Fam­ily Shar­ing fea­ture al­lows ev­ery­one in your fam­ily to share their iTunes pur­chases and co­or­di­nate sched­ules while still main­tain­ing in­di­vid­ual ac­counts. It al­lows up to 6 peo­ple—chil­dren or adults—to share their con­tent with one an­other across 10 de­vices. Aside from gain­ing ac­cess to each other's mu­sic, apps, books, and movies, once you're set up, you can even cre­ate fam­ily cal­en­dars and re­minders so ev­ery­one's on the same page.

And don't think that Fam­ily Shar­ing is just for the kids. It's just as use­ful for adults, al­low­ing you to share books with your sis­ter, your fa­vorite apps with your hus­band, or mu­sic with your best friend (who's ba­si­cally fam­ily any­way).

If you have pur­chases that you don't want to share with your fam­ily, that's okay—you can eas­ily hide them. And if down the road you would rather not use Fam­ily Shar­ing at all, that's fine too. You can leave your iCloud “fam­ily” with­out any heart­break. You can eas­ily trans­fer chil­dren to dif­fer­ent fam­ily groups.

To use Fam­ily Shar­ing, each fam­ily mem­ber must have his or her own Ap­ple ID. Yes, even the kids. While it's not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing to share an Ap­ple ID with your lit­tle ones, there will come a time when your chil­dren want and need their own ac­counts. Shar­ing an Ap­ple ID also makes it im­pos­si­ble to use fea­tures such as FaceTime, iMes­sage, and Game Cen­ter with them. Have you heard your friends com­plain about their kids' apps and mu­sic au­to­mat­i­cally sync­ing onto their phones? That hap­pens be­cause their fam­i­lies share one Ap­ple ID. Your kids will even­tu­ally grow up and move out, want to pay for their own con­tent, and per­haps be part of a fam­ily of their own!

Set­ting Up Fam­ily Shar­ing

But how, ex­actly, do you use Fam­ily Shar­ing? You'll be happy to know it's a lot eas­ier than you might think. All you'll need is your Ap­ple ID and an iDe­vice run­ning iOS 8 or later.

To start, go to Set­tings > iCloud > Set Up Fam­ily Shar­ing > Get Started. Here, you'll con­firm that you're the Fam­ily Or­ga­nizer, which is a fancy ti­tle for the per­son who will be

You'll be prompted to click through a few screens that tell you a lit­tle more about Fam­ily Shar­ing and what it of­fers, and then you'll see a screen that says “Share pur­chases” at the top. Though you're agree­ing to share your pur­chased con­tent with fam­ily mem­bers, re­mem­ber that you can ac­tu­ally pick and choose the con­tent that you share and down­load.

Af­ter con­firm­ing your pay­ment method, you get to de­cide whether you'd like to en­able the Ask to Buy op­tion,

which alerts you, the Fam­ily Or­ga­nizer, when some­one in your fam­ily wants to make a pur­chase from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks. You'll only have this op­tion for the kids—not for other fam­ily mem­bers such as your spouse.

Adding Fam­ily Mem­bers

You can eas­ily have up to six fam­ily mem­bers in your Fam­ily Group by go­ing to Set­tings > iCloud > Add Fam­ily Mem­ber. Re­mem­ber, ev­ery­one must have an Ap­ple ID to use Fam­ily Shar­ing.

Once you send an in­vi­ta­tion, the re­cip­i­ent will re­ceive a no­ti­fi­ca­tion with the op­tion to ac­cept or decline the of­fer. It's prob­a­bly best to tell your fam­ily mem­bers about Fam­ily Shar­ing be­fore invit­ing them, so they'll be ex­pect­ing the no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Cre­ate an Ap­ple ID for a Child

To in­vite your chil­dren un­der the age of 13 to Fam­ily Shar­ing, you're re­quired to cre­ate an Ap­ple ID for them. To prove parental con­sent, you'll be asked to en­ter the CVV code from the credit card as­so­ci­ated with your Ap­ple ID (debit cards are not al­lowed). Though you must up­date the Fam­ily Or­ga­nizer's pay­ment method to a credit card in or­der to reg­is­ter your child's Ap­ple ID, you may switch back to your pre­vi­ous card as soon as your child is trans­ferred.

Note: Add your credit card as your pay­ment method be­fore at­tempt­ing to cre­ate your child's Ap­ple ID by go­ing to Set­tings > iTunes & App Store > Ap­ple ID > View Ap­ple ID > Pay­ment In­for­ma­tion.

Fam­ily Shar­ing may seem like an all-or-noth­ing deal, but re­mem­ber that you have the op­tion to

hide pur­chases you'd like to keep pri­vate.

You can add a fam­ily mem­ber by us­ing your stored con­tacts or by en­ter­ing the email ad­dress

as­so­ci­ated with the con­tact’s Ap­ple ID.

The Fam­ily Or­ga­nizer pays for and ap­proves all

iTunes pur­chases.

The Ask to Buy fea­ture puts you in charge of

your chil­dren’s pur­chases.

Cre­at­ing an Ap­ple ID ac­count for a child is easy,

and re­quires only a credit card.

Your child’s user­name must end in

@icloud.com.

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