Family Sharing on the iPad FAQ

Share iPhone and iPad movies, songs, books and apps with your family

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Family Sharing is one of the great features that debuted with iOS 8. The iPad has always been a great family device, but it can be cumbersome to manage for families where multiple people have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. In order to share the same purchases, families were forced to use the same Apple ID, which meant mixing all of the media together and dealing with other hassles, such as iMessages being shared to each device.

With Family Sharing, each family member can have their own Apple ID while still being connected to the same "parent" account. Family Sharing will work across multiple devices, and because purchases are tied to an iTunes account, this includes the Mac as well as the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Family Sharing FAQ

Will Family Sharing Cost Anything?
No. Family Sharing is a free feature. The only requirement is that each device be upgraded to the latest iOS version and each Apple ID be attached to the same credit card. The Apple ID setting up the plan will be used as the Family Sharing administrator.

Will We Be Able to Share Music and Movies?
Yes. All of your music, movies, and books will be available for the Family Sharing feature. Each family member will have their own library of media, and to download music or a movie purchased by another family member, simply choose that person and browse through their previously purchased items.

Will We Be Able to Share Apps?
You will be able to share some apps. Developers will be able to choose which of their apps can be shared and which apps cannot be shared among family members. This is convenient for households that have multiple devices since the iPad doesn't offer access for multiple users on a single device.

Will In-App Purchases Be Shared?
No. In-app purchases are considered separate from the app and must be purchased separately for each individual on the family sharing plan.

What About iTunes Match?
Because iTunes Match allows you to transfer songs from a CD or MP3s bought from other digital stores and have them count as a 'purchased' song in iTunes, all family members should have access to those songs.

What Else Can Be Shared?
The Family Sharing feature will include a centralized photo album stored on iCloud that will combine pictures taken from all devices in the Family. A family calendar will also be created, so the calendar from each individual device can contribute to an overall picture of the family's plans. Finally, the Find My iPad and Find My iPhone features will be expanded to work with all devices within the family.

What About Parental Controls?
Not only will you be able to set limits for purchases for individual accounts on the Family Sharing plan, but parents can also enable an Ask to Buy feature on the account. This feature queries the parent's device when a child attempts to busy something from the app store, iTunes or iBooks. The parent is able to either accept or decline the purchase, which allows parents to better monitor what their children are downloading.

Setting up Family Sharing

The setup process for Family Sharing has three main steps: setting up the primary account, which will store the credit card information and be used to process any payments, setting up family member accounts, which will have access based on settings used in the primary account, and adding family member accounts to the main account.

  1. First, set up the primary account. You should do this on the iPad or iPhone used by the primary account holder. Go into the Settings app, scroll down the left-side list of options and tap on iCloud. The first option in the iCloud Settings is to set up the Family Sharing.
    When you set up Family Sharing, you will be asked to verify the payment option used with your Apple ID. You shouldn't need to actually enter payment information so long as you already have a credit card or other valid payment attached to your Apple ID or iTunes account.
    You will also be asked if you want to turn on Find My Family. This replaces the Find My iPad and Find My iPhone options. It is a good idea to turn this feature on when you take into consideration the security benefit of being able to locate, lock and erase a device remotely.
  2. Create Apple IDs
    Create an Apple ID for any family member that is going to be connected to the account. For adults, this means adding a credit card to the account, though the primary account will be used to actually pay for purchases. You can also delete the credit card information from the account later. This is a normal Apple ID that is simply linked to the primary.
    Previously Apple didn't allow kids under 13 to have their own Apple ID or iTunes account, but now, there is a special way you can create an Apple ID for your child. You can even do this on your iPad in the Family Sharing settings.
  3. Invite all members of the family
    You do this from the primary account, but each account will need to accept the invitation. If you created an account for a child, they will already be linked to the account, so you won't need to do this step for them.
    You can send an invitation within the Family Sharing settings. If you forgot how to get there, go to the iPad's Settings app, choose iCloud from the left-side menu and tap on Family Sharing.
    To invite a member, tap Add Family Member... You will be prompted to input the member's email address. This should be the same email address used to set up their Apple ID.
    To verify the invitation, the family member will need to open the email invitation on an iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 or newer installed. It can also be opened directly by going to the Family Sharing settings on that device. Once the invitation is open on the device, simply tap Accept at the bottom of the screen.
    When you accept an invitation, you will be asked to confirm your choice. The device will then take you through a few steps, asking if you want to share your location with your family, which is good for security purposes. Once these questions are answered, the device is part of the family.

Authorize an Additional Parent

 The "organizer" can go into Family Sharing, choose the account for the additional parent and turn on the ability to verify purchases for another account in the plan. This is a great way for multiple parents to share the load.

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