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What is Apple Family Sharing, how do you set it up, and what is shared?

This page was translated using AI and machine learning.

(Pocket-lint) - Apple's Family Sharing feature is designed to make it easier for a family to share content, purchases, and storage across multiple iOS devices and Apple ID accounts.

Family Sharing works on iOS devices and Macs, and lets up to six people share purchases from iTunes, Apple Books, and the App Store, an Apple Music family plan, an Apple News + subscription, an iCloud storage plan, and photo albums to share family calendars and albums Locations without sharing accounts.

That's all you need to know about Apple's Family Sharing feature, including how to set it up, what it does, how to share, and how to use it.

How to set up family sharing

Family sharing is easy to set up. The person who sets it up becomes what Apple calls an organizer. She can choose the roles your family shares and invite up to five family members to join her Family Sharing group.

Once an invitation is accepted, that family member will automatically see the Family Sharing setup on their device.

Family sharing setup on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

  1. Open Settings and tap your name at the top
  2. Tap Set Up Family Sharing.
  3. Click on "Get started".
  4. Select the first feature you want to share with your family (iOS 11 or higher).
  5. Click on Continue".
  6. Choose a common payment method. This card is used by family members to pay for iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases.
  7. Click on Continue".
  8. Tap Invite Family Members
  9. When requested, enter the security number for your shared payment card and click "Next".
  10. A new iMessage will appear with a link to invite you to Family Sharing. Enter your family member's contact name or contact number and press Submit.
  11. Click on "Done".

Family Sharing Setup on Mac:

  1. Select the Apple menu in the top left of your screen
  2. Open the system settings
  3. Click iCloud (or the Family Sharing icon if you're running macOS Catalina).
  4. Tap Set Up Family or Add Family Member.
  5. Enter a family member's name, email address, or Game Center nickname
  6. click on Continue
  7. Enter the security card for your card to confirm that you are the family organizer
  8. Choose whether to send an invite or ask your family member to enter their Apple ID password

Requirements for family sharing

All family members must be running iOS 8 and above or OS X Yosemite and above for the Family Sharing feature to be available.

Each family member can only belong to one family group at a time. You are also only allowed to move to a different family group twice a year.

There's also an option to set up an Apple ID for a child under 13 so they can be part of your Family Sharing group. To do this, follow the instructions on Apple's support site.

Apple

What information can be shared in Family Sharing?

The first time you set up Family Sharing as a family organizer, choose which features you want to share with your family. The options that come up first are: iTunes & App Store Purchases, Apple Music, iCloud Storage, Location Sharing, and Screen Time.

Below is an overview of what sharing each of these features with your family through Family Sharing actually means.

iTunes and App Store purchases

Family members can view and download the music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps you've purchased.

Every family member has instant access to paid apps that other family members have already purchased. You can download your own copy of these apps directly to your Apple device without asking for or sharing Apple IDs and passwords. However, you can only share apps that have family sharing support.

Apple Music

An Apple Music Family plan, which you can read about in our separate feature, will get up to six members of your family unrestricted access to Apple Music on their devices for $ 14.99 / month or £ 14.99 / month.

Each family member has their own Apple Music account with a personal music library and recommendations. However, the cost is significantly less than six individual subscriptions.

iCloud storage

Family members can share a storage plan for all of their photos, files, and backups so that each member does not have to purchase their own plan. You can choose between 200 GB or 2 TB, both of which can be shared.

Family members don't have access to each other's files, but you can see how much space each is using.

Share location

Family members can view each other on Find My and Messages. By setting up this feature, family members can also see the location of each other's devices in Find my iPhone.

If a family member wants some privacy from their family, they can turn off "Share My Location" in iCloud settings to disable the location until they make another choice.

Screen time

When you set up Screen Time for Family Sharing, you can view your child's Screen Time reports and set up parental controls from your iPhone. This feature is intended for people who have children in their family. For example, you can't set a time limit for a specific app for your partner, but you can set a child for a child.

It's also possible to designate another family member as a parent / guardian so you can keep an eye on both your kids and their screen time.

Apple subscriptions

If you have Apple subscriptions, whether it's Music, Arcade, or News +, everyone in your family will have access to their own devices and accounts when this feature is enabled.

Everyone in your family can watch from multiple devices and get personalized recommendations based on what they see.

Apple

How does shopping at Family Sharing work?

All content purchases will be charged directly to the card selected when Family Sharing was set up, unless someone in your family wants to use their own gift or credit. With this card set up and purchase sharing enabled, the family organizer authorizes the card to be used by all family members for purchases.

To turn off purchase sharing, go to Settings> tap your name> tap Family Sharing> tap the Purchase Sharing option> turn off Share My Purchases.

Ask for buy function

There is a purchase request that requires the family organizer to approve purchases and downloads initiated by their children. Whenever your child tries to buy an app, book, song, etc., they have to ask for permission. You will then receive a notification on your own device.

You must give permission through this notification before your child can actually buy anything from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or App Store. Ask to Buy is enabled by default for children under the age of 13.

The "Ask About Buying" feature can be activated by the family organizer for any family member under the age of 18. If you turn off Ask to Buy for a family member after the age of 18, you won't be able to turn it back on.

How to activate Ask to Buy with an iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch: Open Settings> tap your name> tap Family Sharing> tap your family member's name> tap Ask To Buy.

To activate Ask to Buy on a Mac: Open the Apple menu> tap System Preferences> tap the iCloud or Family Sharing icon (software dependent)> click Manage Family> select your family member's name> select Ask to Buy.

Access to purchased content

To download content that family members have already purchased, all they need to do is visit the Purchased section of the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and App Store. You then need to select the family member whose collection you want to search and then download it.

Should Family Sharing ever be turned off by the host, each family member can keep the content purchased by another member in their family group. However, in-app purchases from an app originally purchased by someone else must be purchased again.

Hide purchased content

Family members can hide some of their individual purchases. When a purchase is hidden, other family members cannot see it or download it to their device.

How to Hide a Purchase on iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch: Open the App Store> tap the Today tab at the bottom of the screen> tap your photo in the top right corner> tap Purchased> tap My Purchases> find the app you want to hide and swipe for Above it to the left.> Tap on "Hide".

To hide a purchase on Mac: Open the App Store> click your name in the lower left sidebar> tap the three dots under the icon of the app you want to hide> tap hide purchase.

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Apple

Shared photo album on Family Sharing

A shared photo album is created automatically when you set up family sharing. You can use this album to share photos, videos, and even comments with your family sharing group. The Family Album only shows photos and videos that you add manually.

How to access the family album

Open the Photos app> tap the Albums tab at the bottom of the screen> scroll down to Shared Albums> tap the Family album.

How to add to the family album

Open the Family Album> tap the Photos tab at the bottom of the screen> tap the +> select the photos or videos you want to add to your family album.

How to turn off notifications for the family album

Open the Family Album> tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen> Turn off notifications.

How to change the settings for the family album

Open the Family Album> tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen> change the settings you want to change.

How to add other people to the family album

Open the Family Album> tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen> tap Invite People ... at the top> Add the people you want to add. These people can see the photos and videos that you post to the family album.

How to delete the family album

Open the Family Album> tap the People tab at the bottom of the screen> tap Delete Shared Album> Delete in the bottom of the Settings options.

Shared calendar for family sharing

Similar to the shared photo album in Family Sharing, a shared calendar is also automatically created. All family members can use this shared calendar to add events and set reminders. Every calendar entry or reminder is displayed on each family member's device.

How to access the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app> tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen. The family calendar is displayed in the iCloud area.

How to change the name of the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app> tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen> scroll to Calendar in the iCloud section to Calendar Family> tap I at the top of the screen> tap Family and change the name of the calendar to what You want - maybe your family name or something.

How to add an event to the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app> tap the + in the top right> create the title, location and time of your event> tap Calendar on that screen and choose Family or whatever you called it> tap in the field on Add in the upper right corner.

How to add someone to the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app> tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen> In the iCloud section or whatever you renamed, scroll down to Calendar Family> Tap I> Tap Add Person> Tap Enter on the + enter the name of the person you want to add to the calendar> Add.

How to change the color that the shared calendar is displayed in

Open the Calendar app.> Tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen.> From the iCloud section or whatever you renamed, scroll to Calendar Family.> Tap Me.> Tap the color that You want to share the family calendar to be displayed in the Calendar app> tap "Done".

How to turn off notifications for the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app.> Tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen.> From the iCloud section or whatever you've renamed, scroll to Calendar Family.> Tap Me> Turn off Event Alerts in the Notifications When section You do not want to be notified when an event occurs.

How to show or hide the shared calendar in your Calendar app

Open the Calendar app> tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen> tap the circle to the left of the family calendar. When there is a check mark in the circle, events from the shared calendar will appear in your calendar app. If there is no check mark, they will not be displayed.

How to delete the shared calendar

Open the Calendar app.> Tap Calendar at the bottom of the screen.> In the iCloud section or whatever you renamed, scroll to Calendar Family.> Tap I.> Scroll down to Delete Calendar .

Apple

How to add a family member to your Family Sharing group

Open Settings> Tap your name> Tap the Family Sharing tab> Tap Add Family Member> Select Invite Via iMessage, Invite Personally, or Create a Child Account.

How to remove a family member from your Family Sharing group

Open Settings> tap your name> tap the Family Sharing tab> tap the family member you want to remove from your Family Sharing group (we won't ask why)> tap Remove.

How to enable or disable a shared feature for your Family Sharing group

Open Settings> Tap your name> Tap the Family Sharing tab> In the Shared Features section, tap the feature you want to enable or disable> Turn the feature on or off.

How to turn off family sharing

Open Settings> tap your name> tap the Family Sharing tab at the top> tap your name at the top> Press Stop Family Sharing> Confirm Stop Sharing.

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