How to Enable Family Sharing in iOS and macOS

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,458
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In iOS and macOS, Apple includes a Family Sharing feature that allows multiple users to easily share content and interact with each other. Most notably, Family Sharing allows up to six family users to share purchases made from the iTunes, iBooks, or App Store.

The feature also lets you add family members to an Apple Music Family subscription, contribute to a unified photo album or calendar, share locations, use Find My iPhone to find a lost device, and set parental controls for children.

With Family Sharing, users have immediate access to each other's music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps, as content can be downloaded with a single tap.


Before You Start

A user needs to have a valid iCloud account in order to use Family Sharing, with OS X Yosemite or later required for Mac access. Prior to turning on Family Sharing, ensure that you are ready to designate yourself or another user to be the Family Organizer in the Family Sharing group. The Family Organizer will be responsible for all iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases made by the Family users in the group.



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Article Link: How to Enable Family Sharing in iOS and macOS
 

sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Apr 24, 2013
2,369
394
New Orleans
Why is there no 'Ask to Buy' for adults? Its my credit card, I dont want others on my family sharing purchasing willy nilly... Allow for individual credit cards to be added.

How does stored app credit work for an adult that was added to a sharing plan?

Apple, think more in depth with these things! Great idea, but seriously, needs work.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,746
Germany
Can you make a how to for Handoff? I can't get that working at all, well sometimes it does work but it is very buggy. Randomly works to the Mac but not to the phone than it suddenly works the other way around. Sometimes mail loads forever to take over or it doesn't take over at all. Imessage app opens but not showing the pre-written text. MESS
 

aslucher24

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2014
20
5
It should be noted that in order to create a child account, you need a CREDIT card only. They will not allow a debit card for authorization.

Kinda stupid if you ask me, I understand the protection, but it's not the only way to authenticate me as an adult.....
 

mainstreetmark

macrumors 68020
May 7, 2003
2,229
293
Saint Augustine, FL
It should be noted that all family members must be on iOS8. I sent and invite to my wife's iOS7 iPad, and the link in Mail.app takes you to a site that asks you to open the link in Mail.app.
 

ugadawg94

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2008
28
0
Recreated Kids Accounts

Another issue is the apple ID and the date of birth. I like many created kids accounts before Apple had kids accounts. Now those accounts are locked in as adults because of the date of birth in the Apple ID.

Apple supports solution was to delete the Apple ID and start over. In doing so I would lose the very nice @me.com email that both of my kids have.

Apple really needs to get a grip on the management functions of these IDs. We need and period to be able to merge and update IDs. I have an iTunes, which is not the same as the iCloud, but sure would be nice to merge all those into one.
 

rkilcoyne

macrumors newbie
Feb 16, 2003
5
0
Cannot convert iCloud accounts to Child accounts‽

The inability to convert an existing child's account to a child in the eyes of iCloud renders this feature useless. Especially infuriating considering their iCloud accounts were created automatically as part of the setup of their own iOS devices.

Another issue is the apple ID and the date of birth. I like many created kids accounts before Apple had kids accounts. Now those accounts are locked in as adults because of the date of birth in the Apple ID.

Apple supports solution was to delete the Apple ID and start over. In doing so I would lose the very nice @me.com email that both of my kids have.

Apple really needs to get a grip on the management functions of these IDs. We need and period to be able to merge and update IDs. I have an iTunes, which is not the same as the iCloud, but sure would be nice to merge all those into one.
 

darkslide29

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2011
1,412
111
San Francisco, California
"Other users have also found out that the designated Family Organizer needs to have the same Apple ID logged into iCloud and the App Store for purchases to be shared."

Oh no.. My iCloud ID and my App Store ID with all of my purchases are different. Apple never did allow us to merge ID's so that I could have just one.

And no this wasn't done on purpose. I signed up for icloud when it came out and it made me choose a different ID than what I used for the App Store. I can't be the only one with this issue.
 

mozart22

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2014
6
0
Why it is a waste of time for me.

I tried setting it up for a family member with his kids. The kids have their own iCloud ID's. One setup - setup a test and the purchase for one of the kids went right on through - no alerts, texts etc…

What I narrowed it down I believe is birthdate. If the one invited is an "adult" by birthdate of their account - buy away. And I think I recall at the start, getting a kid and AppleID/iCloud email couldn't happen for kids. I asked my relative what birthdate did he use for the kids ID? he used his - otherwise he couldn't get them an ID under 13.

So I set it up with my kids - all over 20 with their own AppleID's - same result. Even looking in the Family part of the iTunes or iOS - they are classified as Adult - and I didn't do it. SO it is Apple doing by the invited based on birthdate. So they can buy anything they want without me having any control.

So for me Family Share is another not thought out Apple thing as of now. A lot of that lately.



Why is there no 'Ask to Buy' for adults? Its my credit card, I dont want others on my family sharing purchasing willy nilly... Allow for individual credit cards to be added.

How does stored app credit work for an adult that was added to a sharing plan?

Apple, think more in depth with these things! Great idea, but seriously, needs work.
 

r3loaded

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2008
18
0
Family Sharing is largely useless if your family largely consists of adults. No, I'm not letting my brother or my mother buy stuff on my credit card (or vice versa), I'd rather they use their own cards on their own accounts. I'd just like the ability to share purchases with each other, so I can read the book my mother bought, hear the album my brother bought or they can play with the app I've bought.
 

mozart22

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2014
6
0
For me it's not about the purchase - it was about sharing all of the past content WITHOUT having my kids having to log out on their devices - log into my AppleID just to get or re-download past content.

I have SO MUCH content over the years bought from Apple, long before my kids were 'adults" defined by Apple. I was hoping as they were - family Share would make it seamless for when they need to get again, watch again, Purchased Apple stuff. family Share doesn't do this at all. they just log out on their device and login to my account - as has always been. Family Share is nothing of the sort.

So Family Share as sold is worthless. Will Apple fix it? Not sure.




Family Sharing is largely useless if your family largely consists of adults. No, I'm not letting my brother or my mother buy stuff on my credit card (or vice versa), I'd rather they use their own cards on their own accounts. I'd just like the ability to share purchases with each other, so I can read the book my mother bought, hear the album my brother bought or they can play with the app I've bought.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,494
2,894
California
Can you make a how to for Handoff? I can't get that working at all, well sometimes it does work but it is very buggy. Randomly works to the Mac but not to the phone than it suddenly works the other way around. Sometimes mail loads forever to take over or it doesn't take over at all. Imessage app opens but not showing the pre-written text. MESS
Yep! We have a Handoff how-to. It's here: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/24/how-to-handoff-not-working/

I've had many of these issues myself, a lot of the problems were solved by logging out of iCloud on both the Mac and iPhone. We have some other solutions listed in the how to though.

----------

Why is there no 'Ask to Buy' for adults? Its my credit card, I dont want others on my family sharing purchasing willy nilly... Allow for individual credit cards to be added.

How does stored app credit work for an adult that was added to a sharing plan?

Apple, think more in depth with these things! Great idea, but seriously, needs work.
With App Store credit, the credit is used before the Family Organizer is billed.

----------

It should be noted that in order to create a child account, you need a CREDIT card only. They will not allow a debit card for authorization.

Kinda stupid if you ask me, I understand the protection, but it's not the only way to authenticate me as an adult.....
That's an odd restriction, we weren't even aware of it. Just tested, and it's true. I'll update the post to add that info.
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
118
My biggest disappointment with Family Sharing is that you can't mirror events/appointments to the shared Family calendar. If I have an appointment on my work calendar that affects my family, I have to manually replicate it on the shared calendar. That gets pretty tedious.

Second is the limited use of videos in the shared stream. For photos you can save them to your device, use them in other applications, and so on. No such options for videos. You can play them and that's it.
 

aslucher24

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2014
20
5
----
"That's an odd restriction, we weren't even aware of it. Just tested, and it's true. I'll update the post to add that info."
----

Yeah, I found out by trying to create an account for my child and his iPad.

I hate having to sign in and out of my account to add apps for him, restrictions aren't secure, he's already guessed the 4 digit password once lol and I'm afraid of making it too complicated as I only do it so often, I don't want to lock his pad up because I forgot the complex password.

My girlfriend and I are linked as a family(doesn't see this but, she has a credit card linked to her account), just won't let me create the child account, it says I have a debit card added and everything about my account. Then proceeds to tell me that it isn't enough...
 

kurosov

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
638
108
Other users have also found out that the designated Family Organizer needs to have the same Apple ID logged into iCloud and the App Store.
and this is the reason i won't be using the feature.

Back when they released iCloud those of us who had a custom name for an appleID couldn't set it up with the ID and instead had to use whatever email address we had on that account. This created a strange issue where i have all my purchases on the named account and iCloud access on a sort of new account that uses the email address to sign in. In the case of services like find my friends the form does not accept signing in with a non email address account and also asks that said email be verified, which is impossible because that email is already verified for the account with a username.

Now, because the new account that uses he email exists, i cannot change the account that has the username back to using the email address. This means no access to family sharing unless i abandon all my old app/music/video purchases and move entirely to the second account that can't even verify its email address so find my friends or any other service they decide in the future to require an email address to as userID still wouldn't work.

Apple still does not offer merging of accounts and won't even delete the iCloud account that uses the unverified email address so i could reset the username account back to sign on with the email.

This issue has been a pain in the butt the past few years and has stopped me going for some iCloud storage upgrades incase it causes trouble. Also, FaceTime/iMessage happens to be linked to the username account (because thats where the email is verified) and not the one i use for iCloud. meaning setting up a new device requires manually signing out and back in with the other details for those services.

Apple NEED to set up a system for merging accounts as they move forward with more cloud services.
 

Amadeo

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2008
97
56
I was very interested in Family Sharing until I realized that all purchases are funneled through the same credit card. Ultimately, I was able to recreate just about every other feature —*which I was also interested in.

You can create shared calendars, reminder lists, and photo streams. Furthermore, Find My Friends also already delivers on locating family members. I'm not really sure what the point of the Family Sharing platform is outside of Find My iPhone and shared purchases. Everything else has always been available to users...
 

DTphonehome

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
1,767
2,245
NYC
Big step in the right direction for Apple, but they definitely need to pump up the parental controls to fine tune what services a kid can use, and for how long. For example, you should be able to set 1 hour of movie or game time on a weeknight, more on a weekend, and 2 hours of book time. I believe Amazon does this.
 

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68000
Jul 10, 2012
1,538
1,617
I was very interested in Family Sharing until I realized that all purchases are funneled through the same credit card. Ultimately, I was able to recreate just about every other feature —*which I was also interested in.

You can create shared calendars, reminder lists, and photo streams. Furthermore, Find My Friends also already delivers on locating family members. I'm not really sure what the point of the Family Sharing platform is outside of Find My iPhone and shared purchases. Everything else has always been available to users...
Agreed. Useless for our adult family too. Everybody on Apple devices with lots of individually purchased content, but no way to share it because it relies on a single card and I don't want to be the financial node for the others who all have their own credit cards.

To me such a scenario would have been easy to imagine, so I just can't understand what the goal is in not provisioning for it.
 

birnando

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2009
111
53
Oslo, Norway
Family Sharing is largely useless if your family largely consists of adults. No, I'm not letting my brother or my mother buy stuff on my credit card (or vice versa), I'd rather they use their own cards on their own accounts. I'd just like the ability to share purchases with each other, so I can read the book my mother bought, hear the album my brother bought or they can play with the app I've bought.

Well, I reckon apple is not trying to save you money by inviting the whole Italian family tree into one account just to save you a few pennies. Perhaps a single household is more within the scope of "family" in this case?
When adult children become their own families varies for everyone, but eventually they all do. Apple seem to have set their definition of that.
As for me family sharing works perfectly. I pay with my card for purchases made by my family members. That consists of two kids with iPhones and iPads and a wife with the same.
Whenever the kids wants an application, a game or whatever, I authorize with my password and voila. Anyone can then download it to their own device. If needed, I aid with inputting my credentials.
The Mrs can as an adult member of this household do anything without my authorisation.
Simple, elegant and functional.
And I'm not gonna try to mess with the system by adding my siblings, both in their 40's with kids, in-laws, grandparents and what have you.
They'll set up their own family sharing if that's something they'll want for their own families...
 

ForkHandles

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2012
185
326
Family sharing is a great idea for families, however there was one flaw in the process that caused both of the kids to opt out of it, if this could be fixed we use it again.

The kids have their own Apple ID which they can use to buy free apps. Once I set up the option to use my credit card for purchases they then needed my permission to buy those free apps. This was a process that they weren't prepared to tolerate.

Fix this and I'm in!
 

Nuvi

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2008
1,016
380
I think family sharing is still is somewhat beta. I don't understand why there is no proper user admin pane in which one could set some users as admins and set permissions for the rest. One should be able to set purchase parameters for each user separately (some using their own credit cards and others getting green light from admins). Same goes for "find my iPhone" -feature. The way it's done now is in a way huge step back from Unix days...
 

jadot

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2010
481
445
UK
iTunes Match

I may have completely missed the point here, but is Family only for sharing purchased content? What about all of the CDs I ripped into iTunes years ago?

I pay for Match - can my wife access that centralised "shared" library?

I shouldn't even be having to ask these questions, and there shouldn't need to be a "How To" either.

Apple don't seem to be able to communicate How Any Of their new Services Work.

Family sharing,
Hand off.
iCloud drive.

No. It doesn't "Just Work"