How to start an iOS 8 Family Sharing account to share apps, music, movies & more

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2014
Once users are running iOS 8 on their iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, they'll be able to share all iTunes account purchases, including apps, music and movies, between up to six people in their family.




The new Family Sharing feature in iOS 8 can be enabled by launching the Settings app, choosing iCloud, and then selecting "Set Up Family Sharing." Doing so on the initial device will establish that person and their account as the "Family organizer."

Apple's Family Sharing system works by having the organizer and their credit card control purchasing of content on the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore for up to five other people.

As long as all users are making purchases with the same credit card, all content purchased separately on different devices can be freely shared with one another. This includes legacy content tied to a separate Apple ID that may have been purchased with a different credit card.




After setting up the payment method and adding authorized users, past purchases from other Apple IDs under the Family Sharing umbrella may not appear immediately. In our tests, we had to download content --?a free app did the trick -- in order to view others' purchases in Apple's three online storefronts.

Application developers do need to enable Family Sharing for their content to be available on separate devices. In our tests, content from the iTunes Store and iBookstore was unrestricted.

To view and download purchases from other Family Sharing users, find the "Purchased" menu in the App Store, iTunes Store or iBookstore. Once there, iOS 8 provides a list of your purchases, as well as "Family Purchases" from other people on the shared account.




Family Sharing goes beyond copyrighted content, however. Another feature is easier location sharing, allowing users to track each others' devices with the Find My iPhone app.

By default, family members' device locations are shared in Find My iPhone. This can be disabled through the "Share My Location" setting in the iCloud app.

The Family organizer can also identify members as a parent or guardian, which authorizes them to approve "Ask to Buy" requests from children in the family. Using Family Sharing, parents can control what apps their kids can buy remotely, accepting or declining attempted transactions from their own iPhone or iPad.

Family Sharing also includes a dedicated iCloud Photo Stream for family members. Posting a photo, video or comment to this stream will make it available on all members' devices, and notifications will be sent once someone adds to the stream.

Finally, Family Sharing members also gain access to a new, automatically created "Family" list in the iOS 8 Reminders app. As expected, new items created on this list will be seen on all members' devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    Nice to this formalized at last. It was always possible to have family members split their Apple ID use between their own for Mail, Calendar and Contacts and a shared 'master' one for iTunes and the Apps Store but it was a little confusing at times.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    I actually find this Family Sharing more confusing. In our family, we had a separate account for purchases (Apps, music, books, movies, Tv shows) that was shared by everyone. The benefit was that purchases were also automatically downloaded. And private accounts for emails, calendars etc. That worked just fine. Although I guess I can see how new clients will find the Family Sharing feature useful, as it does not require creative thinking....
  • Reply 3 of 63

    When I try to enable family sharing on my iPhone I get a message that tells me to add my birthday to my account in iCloud settings.  Where and how do I do that?

  • Reply 4 of 63
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,980member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post



    I actually find this Family Sharing more confusing. In our family, we had a separate account for purchases (Apps, music, books, movies, Tv shows) that was shared by everyone. The benefit was that purchases were also automatically downloaded.

     

    The downside is that each person has to pick and choose from the entire list of content your family has purchased to get what they need.

     

    In most families, the kids don't listen to very much of the same music their parents do (and vice versa).  Same for TV shows and movies.  So each person has to manually curate their content (and continue to do so as new content is purchased).  By having separate accounts, each person only gets the exact content they purchase (and only gets the content of other family members if they so choose).  Much less hassle IMO.

  • Reply 5 of 63

    Good point. Now I only wish that Apple could migrate Apple IDs. So that I could move all the stuff we purchased on the Family ID to my ID... Otherwise we end up with a a legacy Family ID, and individual IDs for each of us.. hm.

  • Reply 6 of 63
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by auxio View Post

     

     

    The downside is that each person has to pick and choose from the entire list of content your family has purchased to get what they need.

     

    In most families, the kids don't listen to very much of the same music their parents do (and vice versa).  Same for TV shows and movies.  So each person has to manually curate their content (and continue to do so as new content is purchased).  By having separate accounts, each person only gets the exact content they purchase (and only gets the content of other family members if they so choose).  Much less hassle IMO.




    I agree to a point.  It is nice to have instant access to all content under the old system though.  I will have to see how the family sharing feels after I use it for a while.  A huge improvement for us is going to be # of devices...we always ran into the max of 10 devices per Apple ID...under family sharing we should be good to go...

  • Reply 7 of 63
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    sflagel wrote: »
    Good point. Now I only wish that Apple could migrate Apple IDs. So that I could move all the stuff we purchased on the Family ID to my ID... Otherwise we end up with a a legacy Family ID, and individual IDs for each of us.. hm.

    Why not just add the account to family share?
  • Reply 8 of 63
    Seems like Family Sharing won't wirn with PayPal :(
  • Reply 9 of 63
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member

    Apple clearly states that iTunes Match is support, see here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT201079?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

     

    Why does it not work? Can Apple Insider write something about it? :)

  • Reply 10 of 63
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hydr View Post

     

    Apple clearly states that iTunes Match is support, see here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT201079?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

     

    Why does it not work? Can Apple Insider write something about it? :)


    After migrating to a Family Sharing account, iTunes Match purchases are charged through the shared credit card (as are iCloud Drive subscriptions and anything else). The Match accounts themselves, however, remain unchanged and are tied to specific Apple IDs. Nothing changes except for billing.

  • Reply 11 of 63
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,980member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     

    Good point. Now I only wish that Apple could migrate Apple IDs. So that I could move all the stuff we purchased on the Family ID to my ID... Otherwise we end up with a a legacy Family ID, and individual IDs for each of us.. hm.




    I have two accounts as well (due to the fact that I had to create a new account for MobileMe way back when).  I just added the secondary one as a family member under the main account.

  • Reply 12 of 63
    Check the Apple support forums. Family Sharing is not working for a lot of users (me included). And, people are accidentally locking themselves out of it for 364 days.

    This coupled with the pulling of HealthKit apps and the fact that the update takes 5 times the download size free on the device to install is showing that iOS 8 is full of FAIL!
  • Reply 13 of 63
    So this looks good outside of one frequent scenario that is confusing to me.

    My daughter gets a $20 iTunes card as a gift. She wants to apply it to her account and spend $11.99 right now and saving the $8.01 to use later. Can she apply it just to her account or only the family shared account? If she applies it to the family account her little sister will use the rest for gold coins in some stupid game lol.

    Sometimes credits need to be kept separate. Is that possible?
  • Reply 14 of 63
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

     

    Good point. Now I only wish that Apple could migrate Apple IDs. So that I could move all the stuff we purchased on the Family ID to my ID... Otherwise we end up with a a legacy Family ID, and individual IDs for each of us.. hm.




    Does this mean that you cannot use the "legacy Family ID" as the main account and just add other family accounts? Our Family ID that we have been using is my iTunes account. Are you implying I will have to change that account when we set up Family Sharing? Or is that everyone else in my family will have a hassle of copying the content from my account (formerly Family account) to their individual new ones?

  • Reply 15 of 63

    I saw developers have the choice to enable family sharing, and it is off by default I believe. Anyone noticed any apps that don't allow sharing?

  • Reply 16 of 63
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by smaffei View Post



    iOS 8 is full of FAIL!

     

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

  • Reply 17 of 63
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Myt family shares an Apple ID / account for all music / iBooks/ app purchases. Everyone curates their own devices. This account is also our iTunes Match account. Not sure how this differed from an family account. What would I gain from turning this into a Family Sharing account?

    The issue of individual gift cards is interesting - we have come across this problem. Does a Family Account resolve those?

    The problemfor me is that the main library (iCloud) contains a lot of redundant junk which I would love to be able to eliminate. Is it possible to purge content from one's account?
  • Reply 18 of 63
    So, I have been still trying to figure this out.... My family right now is my wife and I with two iPhones, two iPads, and an iMac. Up until yesterday, we have one account for all devices. I would get what she downloaded (apps, mail, music, photos, everything). If I didn't want that app, I would delete it. The only reason she had her own AppleID was for Find Friends. Now on iOS 8, I can't log into Find Friends with a seperate AppleID. It needs to be the same account as in iCloud. Ugh. so, I set up her Apple ID as primary on her stuff and made her a member of our family. Now, it's hard to see what tabs are open across our devices, I can't see all of our photos autmatically, and I don't even know how this will work with music and apps. Ugh. Plus, I still haven't wrapped my brain aorund how all of my photos will sync to my iMac.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    homie wrote: »
    So this looks good outside of one frequent scenario that is confusing to me.

    My daughter gets a $20 iTunes card as a gift. She wants to apply it to her account and spend $11.99 right now and saving the $8.01 to use later. Can she apply it just to her account or only the family shared account? If she applies it to the family account her little sister will use the rest for gold coins in some stupid game lol.

    Sometimes credits need to be kept separate. Is that possible?

    This is an excellent question, and I'm curious about the answer also. At the very least, you, as the organizer or designated parent/guardian, can set it up so that you have to approve children's purchases and just make a mental note that a certain child gets to spend $20 on whatever he or she wants. This obviously isn't the most convenient solution, but it would work.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Originally Posted by smaffei View Post

    Check the Apple support forums.

     

    Thanks for invalidating your claims.

     

    ...iOS 8 is full of FAIL!


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