How to Create an Apple ID for a Child

Keep your kids' apps and games off of your account

Mother and daughter looking at iphone together in kitchen

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For years, Apple recommended that children under the age of 18 use their parents' Apple IDs to buy and download music, movies, apps, and books. That was a simple solution, but not a very good one. It meant that all the purchases the child made would forever be tied to their parents' account and couldn't be transferred to their own Apple ID later.

That changed when Apple introduced the ability for parents to create Apple IDs for their children. Now, parents can set up separate accounts that allow kids to download and own their content while also allowing parents to monitor and control that activity. Parents can set up Apple IDs for kids under 13; kids older than that can create their own.

Creating an Apple ID for a child is also a key requirement for setting up Family Sharing, which allows all family members to download each other's purchases for free.

These instructions apply to iPhones running iOS 10.3 or later.

Creating an Apple ID for a Child

To set up an Apple ID for someone under 13, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Settings app to launch it. Tap your name at the top of the screen, and then tap Set Up Family Sharing.

    If you've already gone through the initial setup of Family Sharing, skip to Step 4.

    Set Up Family Sharing option on an iPhone
  2. Tap Get Started if this is your first time setting up Family Sharing. The next screen contains a list of everything you'll be able to share. Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases, and then confirm the lead account on the next page and tap Continue.

    Setting up Family Sharing on an iPhone
  3. The next screen asks you to confirm the payment method you'll use for Family Sharing. Tap Continue to do so and then tap Not Now to skip inviting family members via Messages.

    You must have a credit card on file (not a debit card) to share purchases.

    Anyone on the Family Sharing profile will be able to use this payment method. To avoid a huge bill, turn off in-app purchases on the iPhone.

    Confirming payment and skipping inviting family members for Family Sharing
  4. Your initial setup is complete, so now you can add a new account. Return to your account page and tap Family Sharing (which has replaced "Set Up Family Sharing"). Select Add Family Member and then Create a Child Account.

    Adding a family member to Family Sharing on an iPhone
  5. On the next screen, review the conditions of the Apple ID you're about to create, and tap Next. Enter the child's birthday, and then tap Next again.

    Once you add an Apple ID to Family Sharing, you won't be able to remove it until the owner is over 13 years old.

    Entering a birthday for a child's Apple ID
  6. Read and agree to the Parent Privacy Disclosure on the next page.

  7. Apple will ask you to confirm that you control the credit card that's on file in your Apple ID as a security measure. Do that by entering the CVV (3-digit number) from the back of the credit card you have on file. Enter the CVV and tap Next.

    On the next two screens, you'll enter the child's name and create an iCloud email address for them. Tap Next on each page to proceed.

  8. Once you've entered the name and email address, you'll be asked to confirm that you want to create the Apple ID using that address. Tap Create to do so.

    Next, create a password for your child's Apple ID. Make this something that the child can remember. Apple requires Apple ID passwords to meet certain levels of security, so it may take a few tries to get something that meets Apple's requirements and is easy for your child to remember.

    After you've set a password, you'll set three security questions to use in case you and your child forget it.

    Confirming Apple ID and then setting a password and security questions
  9. The Apple ID is now set up, but you have a couple more things to consider.

Enable Ask to Buy and Location Sharing

With all of that done, the basics of the Apple ID are set up, and you're just about done. Before you finish, though, you'll want to configure a couple of potentially useful features for your child's Apple ID.

The first is Ask to Buy. This feature allows you to approve or deny every purchase your child wants to make from the iTunes and App Stores. Parents of younger children might want to monitor what their children are consuming. To turn Ask to Buy on, move the slider to on/green. When you've made your choice, tap Next.

You can then choose whether you want to share your child's location (or at least the location of their iPhone) with you. This feature lets you both know where your child is and also makes it easy to send directions and meet up via Messages, Find My Friends, or Find My iPhone. Tap the choice you prefer. 

You'll return to the main Family Sharing screen, where you'll see your child's information listed. It's probably a good idea to have them try to log into his or her new Apple ID to make sure it works as expected.