How to Create an Apple ID for a Child

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 Apple IDs for their children that allow them to download and own their own content, while also allowing parents to monitor and control those downloads. Parents can set up Apple IDs for kids under 13; kids older than that an 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.

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Creating an Apple ID for a Child

Create an Apple ID for a Child, step 1

In order to set up an Apple ID for someone under 13, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Settings app to launch it.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen (on older versions of the iOS, skip this and tap iCloud instead).
  3. Tap the Set up Family Sharing menu (or simply Family Sharing, if you've already set up Family Sharing).
  4. Tap Add Family Member (on some older versions of the iOS, tap the Create an Apple ID for a child link at the bottom of the screen).
  5. Tap Create a Child Account.
  6. On the introduction screen, tap Next.
  7. If you have a debit card on file in your Apple ID/iTunes account, you'll need to replace it with a credit card (learn how to change your iTunes payment method here). Apple requires that parents use credit cards to pay for their kids' purchases.
  8. Next, enter the birthday of the child for whom you're creating the Apple ID.
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Enter Name and Email for Child's Apple ID

create apple ID for child, step 2
  1. At this point, Apple will ask you to confirm that you actually 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.
  2. Enter the CVV and tap Next.
  3. Follow that by entering the child's first and last name, and then typing in the email address he or she is going to use with this Apple ID. If he or she does not have his or her own email address right now, you'll need to create one before you can continue. You can get a free email address for your child at iCloud and other services.
  4. Tap Next when you've completed these steps.
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Confirm Apple ID and Create Password

create apple ID for child, step 3
  1. 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 Cancel or Create.
  2. 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.
  3. Enter the password a second time to verify it and tap Next to continue.
  4. Next, enter three security questions to help you or your child recover their password in case it needs to be reset. You'll have to choose from the questions that Apple provides, but make sure to use questions and answers that you'll be able to remember. Depending on how old your child is, you may want to use questions and answers that are specific to you, not the child.
  5. Select each question and add the answer, and tap Next after each one.
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Enable Ask to Buy and Location Sharing

create apple ID for child, step 4

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

The first is Ask to Buy. This allows you to approve or deny every purchase your child wants to make from the iTunes and App Stores. This can be useful for parents of younger children or parents who 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 his or her 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. 

And you're done! At this point, you'll be taken back 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. 

For more detailed instructions on how to use Family Sharing, check out our article on How to Use Family Sharing on iOS and in iTunes.

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Next Steps

family using devices

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With that done, you may want to dive deeper into learning about using the iPhone with your kids. For more tips on kids and iPhones, check out: